CHEYENNE - A boat being towed through Wyoming along interstate 80 was found to have zebra mussels attached to the motor of the boat during a routine inspection at the port of entry east of Cheyenne.
Zebra mussels are one of the aquatic invasive species (AIS) of most concern that the Game and Fish Department is seeking to prevent from being introduced into Wyoming waters.
The boat in question had been purchased from an individual in Ohio, and the new owner was towing it back to his residence in Spokane, Washington. The previous owner had used the boat only on the Great Lakes, which have been infested with zebra mussels since the late 1980’s. The new owner said he had been told the boat had been in storage over the winter. Several of the mussels attached to the boat were inspected and found to be dead and dried up inside the shell. As a precaution the Game and Fish did a full decontamination of the boat with high-pressure hot water.
A new regulation requires that any watercraft transported into Wyoming from March 1 through Nov. 30 must undergo a mandatory inspection prior to launching in any Wyoming waters. Inspection stations are now in operation at ports of entry as well as some border locations and boat ramps. All watercraft must stop at an open AIS check station established on their route of travel. In addition, during all months of the year any watercraft used within 30 days on a water with zebra or quagga mussels must be inspected before launching in Wyoming.
AIS coordinator Beth Bear said invasive mussels can attach to boats as juveniles or adults and larvae can be transported in water in the bilge, livewell, or motor of a boat. “These larvae can infest new waters if watercraft owners do not drain, clean, and dry their watercraft before launching,” Bear said. “We recommend boaters drain all water from boats including the motor, bilge, live well, and ballast areas every time after boating.”
Boaters are encouraged to follow the Drain, Clean and Dry protocol each and every time they launch, even if only boating on Wyoming waters. Additional information on AIS can be found at wgfd.wyo.gov/AIS.
(Contact: Beth Bear (307) 745-4046)