Wyoming Invasive Response Team evaluating potential impacts from zebra mussel discovery

All agencies have been tasked with evaluating the extent of where zebra mussels could be in Wyoming.

3/22/2021 9:46:32 PM

Cheyenne - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture convened a meeting Friday of Wyoming’s Invasive Mussel Response Team. The team, formed by Gov. Gordon, is a multi-agency effort to stop the spread of and limit impacts from invasive zebra mussels in Wyoming. In early March, zebra mussels were identified for the first time in the state on moss ball products sold in pet stores. 

The response team also includes representatives from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources, Wyoming Department of Transportation, Wyoming State Engineer’s Office, Wyoming Energy Authority, Wyoming Department of Tourism, Wyoming Water Development Commission and Wyoming Office of Homeland Security. The team’s forefront challenge is to continue to stop the spread of zebra mussels to any of Wyoming’s natural waters. 

“It’s recent that zebra mussels were discovered, and each person with moss balls still has a big role in preventing the spread of zebra mussels. Our message to aquarium owners remains the same: dispose of your moss balls and aquarium water. Do not dump aquariums in any live water or pour water down drains or toilets,” said Brian Nesvik, director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “And please, do not buy more moss balls.”

All agencies have been tasked with evaluating the extent of where zebra mussels could be in Wyoming.
“A key part of our initial process is understanding the scale of where zebra mussels could be in Wyoming and preventing more from coming in,” said Doug Miyamoto, director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. “Stopping these products from coming into our state was a critical task. Now we are continuing our efforts to identify all of the places these mussels could be to fully understand the scale of the issue.”

Over the last two weeks, notable progress from the Invasive Mussel Response Team membership includes:

  • Working with moss ball retailers to remove products from shelves
  • Launching an extensive public communications campaign on how to dispose of moss balls and aquarium water
  • Coordinating with more than three dozen states on a national response
  • Participating in federal and state investigations
  • Banning the import of moss ball products to Wyoming
  • Briefing the 66th Legislature on discovery and potential impacts 
  • Sending 600 letters to nursery stock dealers about moss balls and the state’s quarantine order
  • Inventorying wastewater treatment plants and developing monitoring and decontamination protocols
  • Adding targeted waters to the regular aquatic invasive species live water monitoring schedule

The team’s next actions are to evaluate the potential impacts of a zebra mussel infestation to natural resources, infrastructure and Wyoming’s economy, especially industries like agriculture and tourism. The Invasive Mussel Response Team is also evaluating costs for the next year of prevention and monitoring, as well as necessary mitigation mechanisms to the state.

(Game and Fish - Sara DiRienzo, (307) 777-4540; Agriculture - Derek Grant, (307) 777-7180)

- WGFD -

  • information

South Pinedale Game Warden named 2021 Wildlife Officer of the Year

South Pinedale Game Warden Jordan Kraft has been named the 2021 Shikar-Safari Wildlife Officer of the Year for Wyoming.

Continue reading...

First big Wyoming hunting application deadline Jan. 31

Nonresident elk, spring turkey and Super Tag due soon

Continue reading...

WY Wildlife Taskforce to meet Jan. 25

The public is invited to attend and participate in-person or online through Zoom.

Continue reading...

Anglers encouraged to be safe on the ice

Ice on many waters may not be safe, especially with variable temperatures throughout the state. 

Continue reading...

Game and Fish Deputy Chief of Wildlife Scott Edberg retires after 31 years

Edberg is best known for his strong work ethic, enthusiastic leadership, eye for details and drive for excellence throughout his career.

Continue reading...

Governor Gordon Submits Petition To Remove Greater-Yellowstone Grizzlies from the Endangered Species List

The petition, filed with the support of Idaho and Montana, affirms that grizzly bears, by all measures, have been fully-recovered since 2003.

Continue reading...

Game and Fish Commission to meet in Cheyenne

Public invited to attend in-person, online

Continue reading...

Game and Fish Commission to pursue increased flexibility for budget investments

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission voted today to pursue the authority for increased flexibility to invest additional Commission funds into an alternative state-run investment pool. 

Continue reading...

2021 wing counts indicate dip in sage grouse reproduction

Wings from harvested chick and hen sage grouse are collected from hunters

Continue reading...

Email Newsletter

Email Newsletter Sign Up

Stay up to date on all Wyoming Game and Fish news either by email or text message. Click the link below to get started.

Sign Up Today


Conserving Wildlife - Serving People