Watercraft inspection stations are open and on the lookout for AIS
AIS boat inspection during evening hours

Watercraft inspection stations across Wyoming have opened for the boating season and are on the lookout for aquatic invasive species . By the end of May, four watercraft harboring invasive mussels were intercepted coming into the state by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Two of those watercraft traveled through the Interstate-80 Evanston check station. 


"It's alarming to intercept watercraft carrying mussels this early in the season, though it's not entirely unexpected," said Josh Leonard, Game and Fish AIS coordinator. "These interceptions highlight the growing threat of aquatic invasive species we're up against.”


This year’s inspection numbers have  surpassed those of previous years at this time. Inspectors have already conducted more than 12,000 inspections across the state. Of these inspections, more than 1,200 have been classified as high-risk, meaning the watercraft came from a state with at least one mussel-infested waterbody. 


“Inspections usually don’t take long, but stations can get busy — especially around a holiday weekend. You can speed up your inspection by making sure there’s no mud, plants or standing water in your boat,” Leonard said. “Those few minutes at a check station directly impact the health of the waters we all enjoy by helping to keep them AIS free.”


Other threats

Wyoming is one of five states in the continental United States without known populations of invasive mussels. While mussels are a main focus of the Game and Fish AIS program, they are not the only AIS concern. Curly pondweed, brook stickleback, Asian clams, New Zealand mudsnails and rusty crayfish have all been found in the Cowboy State.


The combination of AIS coming in from out of state and being spread between different waters in-state means all boaters should follow the Clean, Drain, Dry protocols. It is recommended boaters traveling between waters but staying in Wyoming should allow their watercraft to dry for five days during the summer and remove all drain plugs before leaving the boat ramp.



It’s state law that all boaters must stop when coming upon an open AIS inspection station — even if they stopped at one prior or do not intend to launch in Wyoming. This applies to anyone with a watercraft, which includes but is not limited to kayaks, canoes, rafts and paddleboards. Any watercraft transported into Wyoming from March 1–Nov. 30 must undergo a mandatory inspection by an authorized inspector prior to launching on any Wyoming waterway. If boaters entering Wyoming do not encounter an open AIS check station on their route of travel, it is the boater’s responsibility to seek out an inspection. If the watercraft was used on a water suspect or positive for invasive mussels in the last 30 days, it must be inspected prior to launching year-round and may require decontamination. Full rules are available online


It is important to know that requirements for inspections and decals are different. You can learn more about AIS decal requirements on the Game and Fish website

Breanna Ball
Public Information Officer

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