Boaters who stop at aquatic invasive species check stations this year will be eligible to win outdoor equipment and trips through the Wyoming AIS Boater Appreciation Raffle. Boat inspections are the first line of defense for preventing the spread of many aquatic invasive species, and the raffle acknowledges and thanks boaters for their important contribution to keeping Wyoming free of these harmful invaders.
Boaters receive a raffle entry each time their boat is inspected at any Wyoming Game and Fish Department check station. Each inspection receipt will include a unique raffle number that must be entered into the Game and Fish’s website for the boater to be eligible for the raffle. Winners will be randomly selected December 1st.
Prizes have been donated by outdoor businesses that share a concern for the future of Wyoming’s waters, including Marine Products, The Reef Fly Shop, Citimarine, West Laramie Fly Store and Buckboard Marina.
“Aquatic invasive species are a serious threat to fishing and boating in Wyoming. Boaters help our efforts to keep invasive species out of Wyoming waters,” said Josh Leonard, Game and Fish aquatic invasive species coordinator.
Two species of great concern are zebra and quagga mussels. Both mussels are filter feeders that remove substantial amounts of food and nutrients from the water, thereby altering the food web and reducing the amount of food available for fish and other aquatic animals. Additionally, these species have the ability to rapidly colonize hard surfaces and clog water intake structures such as pipes and screens. Reduced pumping capabilities and the need for continual maintenance to remove mussels can have serious economic impacts for power plants, water treatment facilities and agricultural irrigation systems.
“Zebra and quagga mussels are now found in many surrounding states. Populations of these mussels can quickly become established by only a few individuals,” Leonard said.
State regulations require all boats transported into Wyoming from March 1 through Nov. 30 to undergo an inspection by an authorized inspector prior to launching in Wyoming’s waters. Any boat that has been in zebra/quagga mussel-infested water in the past 30 days is required to undergo an inspection prior to launching anytime of year. Anyone transporting a boat must stop at an open check station on their route of travel, even if they don’t intend to launch their boat in Wyoming.