In Wyoming, prize raffle new hook for boat inspections, AIS prevention effort

It sounds simple enough.

Clean. Drain. Dry.

But Wyoming’s efforts to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species – like those of other states with similar campaigns – haven’t necessarily been cut and dry.

It starts with all those watercraft coming to and from state waterways. And now, Wyoming is stepping up its fight against AIS by making it more appealing for boaters to get their boats inspected.

As if stopping the spread of AIS weren’t enough.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department recently announced that boaters who have their watercraft inspected for AIS in 2018 will be eligible to win outdoor-related prizes in the Wyoming AIS Boater Appreciation Raffle. The grand prize features two kayaks, and secondary prizes include a guided trout fishing trip.

Boaters will be given a raffle entry each time their boat is inspected at a Game and Fish Department check station, with prize winners randomly selected Dec. 3. The more times a boater gets an inspection, the more chances that boater has to win.

“The AIS raffle both increases awareness about this important issue and provides a great way to thank boaters for their participation,” said Tim Francois, manager of the Cheyenne Sportsman’s Warehouse. The company is partnering with Game and Fish on the raffle.

Zebra and quagga mussels are of particular concern in Wyoming water, Game and Fish said. Both species remove substantial amounts of food and nutrients from the water, making less available for fish, and their rapid colonization of hard surfaces also results in costly economic impacts to water supplies, agriculture, aquaculture and other commercial activities, Game and Fish said. Once established, removal of these mussels from a water body is nearly impossible and treatment options are limited; the most effective conservation measure is prevention.

Zebra and quagga mussels have been detected in neighboring Colorado, Nebraska, Utah and Montana.

According to Game and Fish, any watercraft transported into Wyoming from March 1 through Nov. 30 must undergo a mandatory inspection by an authorized inspector prior to launching. Any watercraft that has been in a water infested with zebra/quagga mussels within the previous 30 days is required to undergo a mandatory inspection by an authorized inspector prior to launching during all months of the year. And all watercraft must stop at any open check station on their route of travel, even if not intending to launch in Wyoming.

“Partnerships are key to ensuring future high-quality fishing and boating in Wyoming.” said Beth Bear, Game and Fish aquatic invasive species coordinator. “The AIS Boater Appreciation Raffle is a great example of teamwork between boaters, outdoor retailers and Game and Fish to address this critical issue.”

Prizes include a kayak package with two Emotion Guster kayaks, paddles, lifejackets, ratchet straps and a Yeti Tundra 65 Cooler; a two-person guided trout fishing trip; Dragonfly 4DVS Fish Finder; Liquid Force Harley Grind wakeboard; and a Calcutta High Performance cooler.

Raffle prizes are being supplied by Sportsman’s Warehouse in Casper, Cheyenne and Rock Springs; The Reef Fly Shop, Cottages and RV; Citimarine; Marine Products; and the West Laramie Fly Store.

For more information on the effort, click here.

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