LARAMIE - Wyoming’s third boating season following passage of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) legislation in 2010 was deemed a success based on the numbers of boats inspected, AIS decal sales, and overall cooperation from boaters.
From May 17 through Sept. 9, about 38,659 watercraft inspections were conducted at 36 different waters throughout Wyoming. Of those watercraft inspected, 35% were inspected on more than one occasion during the season. Of watercraft inspected, 25% were registered outside Wyoming. According to AIS coordinator Beth Bear, the majority were standard inspections with very few high risk inspections or decontaminations. “Only about 219 of the total inspections were considered high risk, with the remainder standard and exit inspections,” Bear said. “Of the high risk inspections, there were 94 decontaminations and none were found to have live invasive mussels. Four watercraft were found with attached zebra or quagga mussels, which were determined to be dead. The watercraft were decontaminated thoroughly and allowed to launch.”
Waters where most inspections were conducted include Jackson Lake (over 8,500), Flaming Gorge (over 3,400), Buffalo Bill (over 3,300), Keyhole (over 3,200), and Glendo (over 3,100). Boaters came from many states where AIS is prevalent. As an example, between Aug. 30 and Sept. 9 of this year, 3,712 watercraft were inspected of which 27 percent were nonresident watercraft. During that time period 15 high risk inspections were conducted including two decontaminations on boats that had standing water.
“As with last year, boaters were very cooperative when getting their watercraft inspected,” said Bear. “Overall, things went very smoothly and even during the busy holiday boating weekends, delays were minimal. This season more boaters were arriving at check stations with their watercraft Drain, Clean and Dry which greatly sped up the inspection process.”
Purchase of the required AIS decal also went well with more than 39,000 decals issued, representing some 86 percent of the boats registered in Wyoming. The decal program has raised $484,920 this year, which is used to fund outreach and education efforts, watercraft inspections, and monitoring for AIS in Wyoming waters.
Even though the boating season is essentially over for the year, inspections are still being conducted for boaters who want their craft inspected or have been using their boat on out-of-state waters. Boaters can contact their regional Game and Fish office for an inspection. Boaters are encouraged to follow the Drain, Clean, and Dry protocol each and every time they launch, even when an inspection station is not present at the water. Additional information on AIS is on the Game and Fish website wgfd.wyo.gov.
(Contact: Beth Bear (307) 745-4046)