- Associated Press - Sunday, December 13, 2015

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming appears to have succeeded for another year in preventing invasive zebra and quagga mussels from entering the state’s streams and reservoirs.

Beth Bear, coordinator of the state’s aquatic invasive species program, said testing of more than 65 streams, lakes and reservoirs around the state so far has not turned up any trace of the invasive species.

Results from some samples are still pending, Bear said.

Since 2010, the state has been inspecting boats entering Wyoming to make sure they are not carrying unwanted species. Both zebra and quagga mussels can proliferate by the millions and choke out native species and clog intake pipes for water systems.

Mussels have been found in the neighboring states of Colorado, Utah and South Dakota, Bear said.



The Wyoming Game and Fish Department said its annual boat inspection program checked 45,967 boats entering the state this year. Three boats were found with zebra or quagga mussels attached and were decontaminated before being allowed into the state.

“Since we’ve been doing inspections at the borders, we’ve typically seen more, on average 10 to 12,” Bear said. “So this year there were fewer. … My hope is that people are learning that they need to check their boats and aren’t transporting them across the country with mussels on them.”

Wyoming inspectors this year counted 488 watercraft that had been in Utah’s Lake Powell, which is known to be contaminated with mussels. Another 37 boats had been in Lake Michigan, also infested with mussels.

While mussels are the main threat to Wyoming waters, Bear noted that inspectors are looking for and finding other undesirable species.

“We are seeing the spread of some other species unfortunately,” she said. “We’re seeing plants, like curly pond weed popping up in locations, and then New Zealand mud snails popping up in new locations. So we’re really trying to go back and educate anglers and other water users, not just boaters, that everybody needs to drain, clean and dry.”

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