SHERIDAN, WY— Watercraft inspections for aquatic invasive species begin in the Sheridan Region on Saturday, April 13.
Watercraft check stations will operate 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 Keyhole Reservoir and Lake DeSmet.
The inspections take just a few minutes to complete and involve searching the watercraft for evidence of aquatic invasive species like the Asian clam, which was recently discovered in Keyhole Reservoir, and other species such as zebra and quagga mussels. Inspectors will also look for vegetation such as curly pondweed, which is native to Eurasia, Africa and Australia but has been spread to more than 40 states in the U.S., including Wyoming.
Wyoming state law requires all boats entering the state between March 1 and Nov. 30 be inspected before launching. Anyone transporting a motorized or nonmotorized watercraft must stop at any check station encountered on their route of travel.
For those wanting to do their own inspections, Game and Fish will offer several trainings around the state in April and May. The Sheridan Region training will be held Friday, May 3 at the Game and Fish Sheridan Regional Office from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The training is free but limited to 20 participants so registration is required.
A training will also be offered in Gillette on Saturday, May 4 at the Campbell County Public Library from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The trainings will provide the skills necessary to inspect your own watercraft and certify you to inspect watercraft belonging to others as well. They will include information on basic biology, impacts, transport vectors and distribution of various aquatic invasive species. Each training includes classroom instruction, a question and answer session and a hands-on watercraft inspection exercise.
“Upon certification, you are authorized to inspect your own watercraft, but still must stop at any open check station,” said Sheridan Region AIS Specialist Reed Moore “With the seals you receive upon certification, you apply those to your boat and you are able to proceed without the AIS technician having to do an inspection of your boat. This can save time if you travel frequently with your boat. Certification also allows you to do inspections of other people’s watercraft, which can be helpful to your friends, or may be a useful service to offer to customers if you own a fishing or boating business.”