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Aquatic invasive species check stations in Sheridan region

June 17, 2022
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Sheridan -

The Sheridan region Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) crew inspected 8,138 watercraft in 2021. Of those, 656 were high risk; meaning they were last used on a water infested with quagga or zebra mussels or the watercraft contained standing water from a state that has known invasive mussel populations. Three watercraft entered check stations with dead mussels attached and underwent a complete decontamination to eliminate the risk of transporting the organisms to the watercraft’s final destination.

Statewide, more than 68,000 boats were inspected in 2021. Game and Fish personnel decontaminated 924 boats, and inspectors found live mussels on two. It is the highest number of decontaminations since the AIS program was established in 2010 by the State Legislature and the first time live mussels were found on boats at Wyoming’s check stations. 

Unfortunately, we continue to see watercraft entering our check stations with their bilge plugs in and/or with compartments containing standing water. In 2017, AIS regulations were modified to include “all bilge and ballast plugs and other barriers that prevent water drainage from a watercraft shall be removed or remain open while a watercraft is transported by land within the state”. 

Standing water creates an increased risk for transporting AIS, as it creates an environment that allows organisms to remain viable while they are transported over land. Both microscopic juvenile mussels, called veligers, and adult mussels are able to live nearly a month in very small amounts of standing water. To reduce the chance of transporting AIS, it is important to make sure you Clean, Drain and Dry not only your boat, but any gear or equipment used.

This year, AIS check stations opened in the Sheridan region in April. Current hours at the Sheridan AIS check station at the Travel Center on 5th Street are Sunday through Wednesday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

There are also certified private inspectors around Wyoming that can complete a watercraft inspection.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will not operate an AIS check station at Tongue River Reservoir this year, though their laws require an inspection for out-of-state watercraft prior to launching. Wyoming anglers and recreationists going to Tongue River Reservoir can get a certified watercraft inspection in Wyoming before their trip, which will fulfill Montana’s legal requirements.

Please keep in mind that while the Sheridan AIS check station is open seven days a week, you should plan ahead and get your inspection done during our open hours. After the inspection, a seal will be placed on your watercraft that remains in place until it is launched, providing proof that it has received a certified inspection.  

All watercraft traveling into Wyoming from March 1 through November 30 must be inspected prior to launching in Wyoming. You must also stop at any open AIS check station you pass with your watercraft while traveling to or from your boating destination. We appreciate the support and cooperation of watercraft owners in keeping our waters free of aquatic invasive species.


- WGFD -

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