The Wyoming Game and Fish Department aquatic invasive species (AIS) inspection stations for watercraft are resuming seasonal operations across the state beginning April 10. All boaters must stop when coming upon an AIS inspection station.
“AIS check stations will be open and operational throughout Wyoming again this year,” Josh Leonard, AIS coordinator said. “Game and Fish is dedicated to keeping invasive species out of our state’s waters. Boaters who stop at check stations are a key partner in these efforts.”
AIS watercraft inspections are crucial to keep Wyoming waters free from aquatic invasive species, like zebra and quagga mussels. To date, mussels have not been detected in any of Wyoming’s natural waters. However, zebra mussels were found on moss balls, a popular aquarium product. Game and Fish, alongside the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and other partners, are working to keep mussels from spreading from domestic fish tanks to reservoirs, lakes and rivers.
The best defense against AIS is vigilance by the public. Watercraft owners can make their check station stop quick if their watercraft are Clean, Drained and Dry. Additionally, before hitting the water the spring, boaters should remember that:
- Along with registration of watercraft, watercraft used on Wyoming waters must have an AIS Decal. A Wyoming AIS decal must be displayed on all watercraft (including rentals) using Wyoming waters with the exception of non-motorized inflatable watercraft 10-feet in length or less. While these watercraft are not required to have a decal, they still require an inspection when coming from out of state.
- Boats must stop at established check stations each time a boater passes a check station. Check stations are established at ports of entry, border locations, or at boat ramps and are set-up to ensure watercraft are Clean, Drain, and Dry before launching. Inspections are also available at Game and Fish regional offices but you must call ahead.
- Any watercraft transported into Wyoming from March 1, through Nov. 30, must undergo a mandatory inspection by an authorized inspector prior to launching on any Wyoming waterway. If the watercraft was used on a water suspect or positive for invasive mussels in the last 30 days, it must be inspected prior to launching year round and may require decontamination.
- If boaters entering Wyoming do not encounter an open AIS check station on their route of travel, it is the boater’s responsibility to seek out an inspection before launching on any Wyoming waterway. Inspection locations may be found on the AIS website.
- A watercraft may launch without further inspection if the watercraft has a properly affixed seal applied by an authorized inspector and is accompanied by a valid seal receipt during transit. The person transporting the watercraft may remove the seal immediately prior to launching on the destination water and must retain the seal and valid seal receipt while on the water.
- Even if a watercraft has been previously inspected and has a valid seal and seal receipt, boaters are still required to stop at any open AIS check station. Having the properly affixed seal and valid seal receipt will expedite the inspection process.
The costs of AIS infestation are great to the sportsperson and the local community, especially when it comes to mussels.