CHEYENNE - Last spring, Wyoming implemented a new Aquatic Invasive Species regulation requiring any watercraft entering the state between March 1 and Nov. 30 to undergo an inspection before launching in Wyoming waters.
There was also a change to the locations of Aquatic Invasive Species check stations, which are now at ports of entry and borders as well as boat ramps. Even though more than a month of the busy boating season remains, 15,000watercraft have already been inspected. More than 8,300 of these inspections took place in June.
The busiest locations for inspection crews were the Anvil Draw check station at Flaming Gorge Reservoir (1,862inspections through June), followed by the Evanston Interstate 80 port of entry (1,761 inspections), and the Cheyenne Interstate 25 port of entry (1,733 inspections). Other busy check stations during June were Alpine (1,434 inspections), Interstate 90 near Sheridan (495 inspection), and I-90 near Sundance (482 inspections). The Cheyenne I-80 and Laramie U.S. Highway 287 check stations were also busy, with nearly 400 inspections each. The Torrington check station conducted 299 inspections. Thousands more inspections were completed at reservoirs, other ports of entry, border locations, and Game and Fish offices.
According to Aquatic Invasive Species coordinator Beth Bear, a survey of nonresident boaters conducted at major Wyoming waters found that the majority were familiar with Wyoming’s new mandatory inspection requirement. The survey also revealed that nonresident boaters were familiar with the Aquatic Invasive Species decal requirement that went into effect in 2010 (when the Aquatic Invasive Species program was established).
Bear reminds boaters that they must stop at every Aquatic Invasive Species check station on their route. “This applies to all watercraft, even if the boat has been sealed from a previous inspection,” Bear said.
“The overwhelming majority of boaters are familiar with the importance of following the drain, clean and dry process before coming into Wyoming,” Bear said. “And their inspections only take a few minutes. But we are still finding some boats with standing water, mud or debris, and for these boats inspections take longer and sometimes the craft must be decontaminated before being allowed to proceed.”
In addition, any watercraft that has been in a zebra or quagga mussel-infested water within the past 30 days must also undergo a mandatory inspection before launching year-round. A listing of infested waters in other states is available on the Game and Fish website at wgfd.wyo.gov/AIS.
Since the program began three years ago more than 120,000 watercraft have been inspected. In addition, biologists continue to monitor for zebra and quagga mussels, and invasive mussels have not been found in Wyoming waters.
For more information about following the drain, clean and dry process, inspection requirements, and Aquatic Invasive Species decal requirements, visit wgfd.wyo.gov/AIS.
(Contact: Beth Bear, 307-745-4046)