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Game and Fish Article

Watercraft Inspections for Aquatic Invasive Species

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05/01/2010 - With the upcoming adoption of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) regulations in the near future, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is receiving questions about the requirement to have watercraft inspected.

There are several circumstances when it would be mandatory to have watercraft inspected. If the watercraft has been on any water known to be infected with AIS within the last 30 days, an inspection is required prior to launching the watercraft unless it has been decontaminated and sealed. Inspection is also required prior to launching the watercraft when an authorized inspector determines an inspection is warranted.

Watercraft inspections will be conducted at major waters throughout Wyoming on a rotating basis. WGFD regional offices will also serve as inspection locations as needed. Persons wanting an inspection of their boat can call 1-877-WGFD-AIS. A standard inspection should take no more than 3-5 minutes. A high risk inspection is more thorough and may take 10-30 minutes depending on the type and size of watercraft.

At an AIS check station, an inspector will ask a few questions to determine the risk the watercraft poses of transporting AIS. If the watercraft is deemed low risk, the owner will be provided informational materials and allowed to launch. Watercraft deemed high risk will be inspected thoroughly. Watercraft in the high risk category may include those that last operated their watercraft in a state where waters are known to have invasive mussels, or watercraft with a large amount of standing water which could harbor larval mussels.

To help speed up the inspection process, boaters can make sure they have followed the Drain, Clean and Dry procedure. The legislation also directs the commission to establish a new aquatic invasive species watercraft decal program to help fund prevention efforts. Under this program, all watercraft using Wyoming waters will be required to display an annual Aquatic Invasive Species decal (inflatable watercraft 10 feet in length or less are exempt). Costs for the decal under the emergency regulations are $10 for motorized watercraft registered in Wyoming, $30 for motorized watercraft registered in other states, $5 for non-motorized watercraft owned by Wyoming residents and $15 for non-motorized watercraft owned by nonresidents. Decals are now available on the WGFD website and will be available at automated license selling agents on May 17.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will consider permanent rule-making for this program in June, following a series of public meetings. Information on preventing the spread of AIS is on the Game and Fish website http://gf.state.wy.us.

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