New Initiative Will Target Aquatic Invaders

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has announced a new initiative to hit aquatic invasive species where it counts. In an effort to protect Wyoming’s valuable water resources, the state legislature allocated $1.5 million to the department to implement new programs aimed at preventing the introduction of quagga and zebra mussels to Wyoming waters.

Based on direction from the legislature, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has implemented emergency regulations to address the aquatic invasive species threat. The legislation gives the commission authority to inspect boats and to prevent the launching of boats suspected of harboring invasive species.

The legislation also directs the commission to establish a new aquatic invasive species watercraft decal program to help fund prevention efforts. Under this program, all watercraft using Wyoming waters will be required to display an annual Aquatic Invasive Species decal, inflatable watercraft 10 feet in length or less are exempt. Costs for the decal under the emergency regulations are $10 for motorized watercraft registered in Wyoming, $30 for motorized watercraft registered in other states, $5 for non-motorized watercraft owned by Wyoming residents and $15 for non-motorized watercraft owned by nonresidents.

Decals will go on sale on the Game and Fish website on April 15 and at automated license selling agents on May 17. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will consider permanent rule-making for this program in June, following a series of public meetings.

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