When you take I-25 N from Colorado into Wyoming, you’ll see a couple of signs telling drivers hauling boats that they need to stop for a Boat Inspection at the Wyoming Welcome Center.
There’s a good reason for this – there are only six states left in the US that do not have invasive species in their waters, and Wyoming is one of them.
In fact, here’s a photo of a map from Wyoming Fish & Game outlining which states have waterways infested with zebra/quagga mussels, Asian carp, New Zealand mud snails, Rusty Crayfish and invasive plants – all creatures that will drive out or kill native species in lakes, ponds and rivers.
That’s why it’s imperative when you finish your boating fun to DRAIN, CLEAN and DRY.
DRAIN all water from your gear and equipment. This includes all types of watercraft, waders, boots, clothing, buckets – anything that comes into contact with the water. Leave any wet compartments open to dry.
CLEAN all plants, mud, and debris from gear and equipment. Never move a plant or animal from one location to another.
DRY everything thoroughly. IN Wyoming, we recommend drying for 5 days in the summer, 18 days in spring or fall, or 3 days of freezing.
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)
[info from the Wyoming Game & Fish explanatory brochures]
Aquatic invasive species are animals, plants, and even diseases that are introduced to a new environment and cause harm to the natural resources.
Zebra and quagga mussels attach to boats and equipment and travel thousands of miles to new water. Aquatic diseases and invasive mussel larvae are microscopic and can be transported in water stored in boats or gear. Invasive plants can become entangled in boat motors and other gear and start new populations when a small piece of the plant is moved to new water.
Why is this bad?
Quagga and zebra mussels remove plankton from the water – which is the primary food source for forage fish which in turn are the primary food source for many sport fishes. These mussels attach to your boat and can damage it as well.
Quagga and zebra mussels impact power plants, municipalities, irrigation systems, and other water users. They impede water delivery and increase maintenance costs by clogging pipes, pumps, turbines, and filtration systems – costs that are passed on to you, the consumer!
So Smile and Get Your Boat Inspected!
When you take Exit 4 for the Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center, you’ll see the signs directing you to where to park for the boat inspection. When it’s the height of the season you may have to wait in line for a while – over 3,000 boats were inspected at this location last year – but it has to be done so relax and chat with your fellow boaters while you wait!
The Boat Inspection station consists of a small trailer that houses the inspection headquarters, and the necessary gear to decon (decontaminate) the boat if required – basically just very, very, very hot water.
The inspectors will go over your boat thoroughly – especially if you’ve been boating in any of the states that are infested with zebra and quagga mussels as well as other invasive species, and fill out a checklist.
So please – no matter in what state you are boating always clean your boat and your gear thoroughly. But when it comes time to stop at an inspection station, do that cheerfully, too. Keep Wyoming waters safe!
The Lakes of Wyoming
There are dozens of beautiful lakes in Wyoming – here are just two.
Boaters come from Colorado into Wyoming to boat at Curt Gowdy State Park, just 27 miles west of Cheyenne via Happy Jack Road. Their are two reservoirs here for boaters and anglers – Granite and Crystal. Granite is stocked with rainbow trout and kokanee salmon, and there’s an opportunity for water sports here. Crystal offers shoreline fishing for brown trout, rainbow trout and kokanee salmon, as well as boating. There’s a third reservoir, North Crow, which is an “unimproved fishing area.”
Glendo Reservoir in Glendo State Park is Wyoming’s “Lake Powell.” In other words, it’s an extremely popular location for boaters.
So come to Wyoming for the boating and the fishing, but “don’t move a mussel.”