SHERIDAN — Aquatic invasive species watercraft inspection stations opened in the Sheridan region April 13. On April 16, a boat checked at the Sheridan Visitor Center check station was found to be carrying a species of aquatic invasive mussels.
The recently purchased boat was being transported through Wyoming from Canada by its new owners. The boat had been stored out of the water for the past two years, so the mussels were no longer living, but a thorough decontamination of the boat was completed by Game and Fish aquatic invasive species personnel. The boat had last been in the water on the Saint Lawrence River near Ottawa.
Hundreds of small mussels attached to the motor, trim tabs and other parts of the boat were collected for testing and remaining mussels were removed from the boat using a high-pressure stream of 140 degree water.
“The samples will be sent to a lab for identification, but they are likely zebra or quagga mussels,” said Sheridan Region AIS Coordinator Reed Moore. “Finding these mussels was an early reminder this year of the importance of the watercraft check stations. Our technicians work quickly to get you back on the road, but these inspections are important in helping keep invasive species out of Wyoming waters.”
Any watercraft transported into Wyoming from March 1 through Nov. 30 must undergo a mandatory inspection by an authorized inspector prior to launching. Any watercraft that has been in a water infested with zebra or quagga mussels within the last 30 days is required to undergo a mandatory inspection by an authorized inspector prior to launching during all months of the year.
All boaters must stop at established check stations. Check stations are established at ports of entry, border locations or at boat ramps and are set up to ensure watercraft are clean, drained and dry before launching. In the Sheridan Region, check stations are operated at the Sheridan Rest Area and Visitor Center on Fifth Street and at the Northeast Wyoming Welcome Center at exit 199 on Interstate 90 west of Beulah. Inspections will also take place at various times at Lake DeSmet and Keyhole Reservoir and are also available at WGFD regional offices during normal business hours. Last year in the Sheridan Region, 5,248 watercraft inspections were completed and two boats were found with mussels attached.
From Wyoming Game and Fish Department Sheridan Regional Office