CHEYENNE - With the warm weather approaching, boating interest is on the upswing and with that interest, boaters are asked to take special precautions to make sure their boats are not carrying Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) - especially if the boat has been launched in another state.
It is not uncommon for boaters to take their craft to other states for fishing and boating activities. Given the fact that most of the states in the West, including those surrounding Wyoming, have lakes and reservoirs where AIS has been documented, it is especially important that boaters follow proper precautions to insure they will not be transporting AIS into Wyoming waters.
Currently AIS is found in more than 30 states nationwide. A listing of states and waters where AIS is present can be found on the Game and fish website.
Game and Fish AIS coordinator Beth Bear said boaters have been cooperative since the AIS inspection program wasstarted two years ago, especially if their boats have been in out-of-state waters. “We have had a number of boaters contact us who have been in other states and ask that their craft be inspected,” Bear said. “Boaters are to be commended for the concern they have shown to make sure we do not get AIS into Wyoming.”
Bear said the Drain, Clean, and Dry process is still the best method to keep AIS from spreading. It begins with draining all water from the boat and from fishing gear. This includes the bilge, livewell, ballast, and motor. To clean, remove all plants, mud, and debris from gear and watercraft. Finally, dry watercraft and gear five days in the summer, 18 days in spring or fall, or three days at freezing temperatures.
There are several circumstances when it would be mandatory to have watercraft inspected. If the watercraft has been on any water known to be infected with AIS within the last 30 days an inspection is required prior to launching the watercraft in Wyoming. Inspection is also required prior to launching the watercraft when an authorized inspector determines an inspection is warranted.
Watercraft inspections will again be conducted this year at all major waters throughout Wyoming. Game and Fish regional offices will also serve as inspection locations as needed. A standard inspection should take no more than 3-5 minutes. A high risk inspection is more thorough and may take 10-30 minutes depending on the type and size of watercraft.
Persons wanting an inspection of their boat can call 1-877-WGFD-AIS.
(Contact: Beth Bear (307) 745-4046)