The Wyoming Game and Fish Department aquatic invasive species inspection stations are resuming seasonal operations across the state, and the Cody region will have four.
All boaters must stop when coming upon an AIS inspection station, and should expect new protocols due to state guidelines related to COVID-19.
“AIS check stations will be open and operational,” said Josh Leonard, AIS coordinator. “Inspectors will be taking extra efforts to social distance, so please give them space for their health and yours as they do their jobs.”
Two area locations are opening May 2, one in Frannie and one in north Cody. The Frannie location is open 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.
The north Cody location is only open Thursday-Sunday.
Boaters can also stop in the Cody Regional G&F office at 2820 WYO 120 for inspections 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
“We will also have a ‘roving’ (no set dates/times) AIS check station near Buffalo Bill Reservoir and near Meeteetse,” said Tara Hodges, Cody G&F spokesperson.
The stations aren’t likely to see many out-of-state boaters due to the current 14-day quarantine directive through Friday.
G&F sees AIS watercraft inspections as a crucial defense to keep Wyoming waters free from aquatic invasive species, like zebra and quagga mussels, but say the best defense is vigilance by the boating public. Watercraft owners can avoid the extra time by transporting a watercraft that is clean, drained and dry.
Boaters have many AIS prevention responsibilities. They should remember that:
• Along with registration of watercraft, watercraft used on Wyoming waters must have an AIS decal. A Wyoming AIS decal must be displayed on all watercraft (including rentals) using Wyoming waters with the exception of non-motorized inflatable watercraft 10 feet in length or less. While these watercraft are not required to have a decal, they still require an inspection when coming from out of state.
• Boats must stop each time a boater passes a check station. Check stations are established at ports of entry, border locations, or at boat ramps and are set-up to ensure watercraft are clean, drain and dry before launching. Inspections are also available at G&F regional offices, but you must call ahead.
• Any watercraft transported into Wyoming from March 1 through Nov. 30 must undergo a mandatory inspection by an authorized inspector prior to launching on any Wyoming waterway. If the watercraft was used on a water suspect or positive for invasive mussels in the last 30 days, it must be inspected prior to launching year round and may require decontamination.
• If boaters entering Wyoming do not encounter an open AIS check station on their route of travel, it is their responsibility to seek out an inspection before launching on any Wyoming waterway. Inspection locations may be found on the AIS website.
• A watercraft may launch without further inspection if it has a properly affixed seal applied by an authorized inspector and is accompanied by a valid seal receipt during transit. The person transporting the watercraft may remove the seal immediately prior to launching on the destination water and must retain the seal and valid seal receipt while on the water.
• Even if a watercraft has been previously inspected and has a valid seal and seal receipt, boaters are still required to stop at any open AIS check station. Having the properly affixed seal and valid seal receipt will expedite the inspection process.
For the most recent and up to date information on Wyoming AIS visit the G&F website. The 2020 AIS decal is available online. There is also a combination watercraft registration and AIS decal that may be purchased for one or three years.
Watercraft users may call the G&F Office for more information, (307) 777-4600.