Game and Fish Finalizes 2023 Plans for Watercraft Check Stations in Eastern Wyoming

SHERIDAN – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has finalized plans for the operation of watercraft check stations in northeast Wyoming for 2023.

Check stations are operated annually in Wyoming to inspect watercraft for aquatic invasive species. In July 2022, South Dakota documented an infestation of invasive zebra mussels at Pactola Reservoir in the Black Hills — 30 miles from the Wyoming border. This is the closest location to Wyoming where this species has been found, significantly increasing the risk to Wyoming’s waters.

“In response to this heightened threat, last fall we implemented temporary boat ramp closures and other restrictions at Keyhole, LAK and Glendo reservoirs,” said Reed Moore, Game and Fish aquatic invasive species specialist in the Sheridan Region. “The threat of an introduction of zebra mussels in Wyoming, or other damaging aquatic invasive species, will continue to remain high so over the past several months we developed plans to expand check stations and staffing along our state’s eastern border. These changes will increase our ability to efficiently inspect watercraft entering Wyoming, while also making it easier for watercraft owners who only operate their watercraft in Wyoming to launch.”

For 2023 there will not be boat ramp restrictions at Keyhole or Glendo reservoirs. Instead, existing check stations in the towns of Beulah and Torrington, as well as Glendo and Keyhole reservoirs will operate with increased staffing and hours. Two new check stations will open at Newcastle and Manville. These changes will provide additional opportunities for watercraft owners to comply with inspection requirements and better protect Wyoming waters.

These check stations, along with others in Wyoming, will begin opening in March. Open stations will be prominently marked with road signs. All watercraft traveling into Wyoming from March 1-Nov. 30 must be inspected prior to launching in Wyoming. People  also must  stop at any open AIS check station they  pass with their  watercraft while traveling to or from their  boating destination.

If a watercraft inspection outside of open check station hours is needed, check the Game and Fish website for other inspection options or call a Game and Fish regional office during regular business hours to make an appointment.

“We appreciate the patience and understanding of watercraft owners during the past few months as we responded to the unfortunate discovery of zebra mussels in Pactola Reservoir,” said Eric Hansen, Game and Fish aquatic invasive species specialist in the Casper Region, who supervises the Glendo check station. “We expect the expanded efforts at these eastern locations will increase protection for our Wyoming waters from AIS and simplify the inspection process for boaters coming into Wyoming.”

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