CHEYENNE - Even though boating season is still several months away there have been a few changes to the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) regulations and the inspections that are now required.
The new AIS regulations require that any watercraft transported into Wyoming between Mar. 1 and Nov. 30 must undergo a mandatory AIS inspection prior to launching in any waters in the state. In addition, any watercraft that has been in a water infested with zebra or quagga mussels within the past 30 days must undergo a mandatory inspection prior to launching. This is in effect for all waters during all months of the year. A listing of waters that are infested in other states is posted at ramps at a number of waters and at wgfd.wyo.gov/AIS.
In the coming months, AIS check stations will be operated at ports of entry, border locations and boat ramps. “Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for nonresident boaters and resident boaters transporting their boat back into the state to get this mandatory inspection,” said AIS Coordinator Beth Bear. “We intend to staff check stations at key entrances into the state as frequently as possible during the boating season and encourage all boaters to plan ahead to have their watercraft inspected at one of these locations.”
Bear said that most inspections only take a few minutes. “Boaters who inspect their watercraft before leaving home and follow the ‘drain, clean, and dry’ procedure will greatly speed up the inspection process,” said Bear.
All boaters must have an AIS decal before boating in any Wyoming waters (except non-motorized inflatable craft 10 feet or fewer in length). Decals and additional AIS information are available online at wgfd.wyo.gov/AIS. AIS decals are also available at Game and Fish regional offices and through automated license-selling agents. Decals for motorized watercraft are $10 resident and $30 nonresident. Decals for non-motorized watercraft are $5 resident and $15 nonresident.
Recognizing the effects on boating, fishing, and water supplies that zebra and quagga mussels have already had in states where AIS is prevalent, the Wyoming Legislature established the program and provided funding three years ago. Since then, more than 100,000 inspections have taken place and monitoring of lakes and reservoirs has not turned up any zebra or quagga mussels in Wyoming waters.
(Contact: Beth Bear (307) 745-4046)