2023 WGFD AIS report shows 64 boats had to be decontaminated

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Wyoming Game and Fish Department photo

December 19, 2023 — Wyo4News Staff

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department figures showed that watercraft check stations across the state inspected more than 73,000 boats this season. The report showed Game and Fish personnel decontaminated 1,154 watercraft, with 64 boats containing mussels, the highest total since the AIS program began in 2010.

“This year, we saw another increase in high-risk watercraft moving through Wyoming’s check stations,” said Josh Leonard, Game and Fish AIS coordinator. On the WGFD website, Leonard added, “But that means we’re intercepting the problematic watercraft before they enter Wyoming’s waters.”

AIS check stations are regarded as the first line of defense against invasives entering the state or being spread between Wyoming’s waters. Those range from invasive plants like curly pondweed, which Wyoming does have, to species the state has managed to keep out, like Asian carp and zebra or quagga mussels. Invasive mussels are one of the most destructive types of AIS, and it is very unlikely to eradicate mussels once they are established in natural water. 

Game and Fish officials report that the state was free of aquatic invasive species in 2023. Wyoming Game and Fish monitors for mussels and other invasives by sampling 20 state water areas twice per year and an additional 50 water areas once per year.