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Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Programs

Many Western states instituted watercraft inspection and decontamination programs after the discovery of invasive mussels in Lake Mead in 2007 (Zook and Phillips 2012). As of 2018, nineteen states have implemented watercraft inspection and decontamination programs (Otts 2018).

This page contains resources on mandated watercraft inspection and decontamination programs, as well as some non-mandated but state-funded watercraft inspection efforts. This list below is not intended to be comprehensive, and all boaters should check with their relevant state agency before launching watercraft to ensure they comply with all regulations.

Citations
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Spotlights

  • National Sea Grant Law Center.
    Initiative of the Western Regional Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species (WRP). The goal of the WRP initiative is to develop a multi-state vision for watercraft inspection and decontamination (WID) programs. The National Sea Grant Law Center is an active participant in this initiative, providing legal research support and leading efforts to develop model legislation and regulations for WID Programs.
  • Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
    Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced that the department is launching an effort at nine state parks this summer to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, and get boaters involved in invasive species detection. "Boats, motors, and trailers have ideal hiding spots where species may attach, and be transported to new locations," Dunn said. "Boaters must be involved in helping us protect state park waters from invaders, to benefit our environment and avoid very costly measures to treat lakes once these non-native species take hold." Starting this week, DCNR staff will be doing voluntary boat and trailer checks at boat launches on park lakes, handing out informational brochures and demonstrating how to do an inspection.

Selected Resources

The section below contains selected highly relevant resources for this subject, organized by source. To view all related content for this subject, click on "View all resources for subject" in the top left of this page.

Partnership

New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse.
People have been working to control aquatic invasive species in New York State for decades. In 2003, the state government took a leadership effort to identify and coordinate local and regional efforts. The Watercraft Inspection Steward Programs are a statewide effort that has stewards stationed at boat launches across the state, including Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, the Thousand Islands, the Adirondacks, Lake Champlain, Lake George, Saratoga Lake, the Hudson River and on Long Island.
Tahoe Resource Conservation District; Tahoe Regional Planning Agency; DOI. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Watercraft are the largest vectors for spreading aquatic invasive species (AIS), such as quagga and zebra mussels into new waterways, making boat inspections a vital aspect of protecting Lake Tahoe and other nearby water bodies.

Federal Government

DOI. NPS. Yellowstone National Park.
If you plan to use your own boat or angler float tube, you’ll need a permit and a free Yellowstone aquatic invasive species inspection. You can speed up the inspection process by arriving with a boat that is clean, drained, and dry. Watercraft that arrive dirty or with standing water will be subject to decontamination. Watercraft that cannot be properly decontaminated will be prohibited from launching.
DOI. NPS. Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park waters are generally open for boating from mid-May through October. All watercraft require an NPS inspection and permit before launching. Prior cleaning, draining, and drying of all watercraft, both externally and internally, will reduce inspection time significantly.
DOI. NPS. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
It is crucial to keep the mussels from moving from Lake Powell to other lakes and rivers. Utah and Arizona state laws require you to clean, drain, and dry your boat when leaving Lake Powell using self-decontamination procedures. Additional steps are required if you launch on other waters without a significant drying period or if you are on Lake Powell for more than 5 days.
DOI. NPS. Curecanti National Recreation Area.
Motorized and trailered watercraft launching in Blue Mesa Reservoir are required to be inspected for aquatic invasive species prior to launching, and if necessary, decontaminated in accordance with procedures set by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. In addition to the mandatory inspection prior to launch, boaters are encouraged to get an exit inspection to verify the watercraft has been cleaned, drained and dried.

State and Local Government

New Mexico Department of Game & Fish.
Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Please check this information before you transport your watercraft into Wyoming as this information will be updated regularly. This site includes detailed information and a map of inspection facilities including locations, dates of operation, and hours of operation. Any watercraft transported into Wyoming from March 1 through November 30 must undergo a mandatory inspection by an authorized inspector prior to launching in any water of the state. See also: AIS Inspection Location List.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Motorboats and sailboats must have an ANS Stamp prior to launching in Colorado in 2019. Boat owners are required to purchase the ANS Stamp and operators must retain proof of purchase (electronic or printed receipt) on his or her person, the motorboat or sailboat, when operating the vessel (C.R.S. 33-10.5-104.5). ​Funding contributes to prevention and management of ANS in the state. Thank you for protecting our waters and contributing to conservation in Colorado!
Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.
The Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program was established by the Oregon Legislature in an effort to keep Oregon’s lakes, rivers and streams free of destructive invasive species. The program requires owners of motorized and some non-motorized boats to purchase an Aquatic Invasive Species Permit to fund inspections of boats coming into Oregon to prevent the spread of these species into our waterways. All vehicles towing or carrying watercraft into Oregon must stop at a watercraft inspection station that is open to inspect for aquatic invasive species.
Lake George Park Commission.
From May 1st - Oct. 31st, all trailered boats being launched must be inspected at one of the 7 regional inspection stations.
South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.
The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks partners with the South Dakota B.A.S.S. Federation and private car washes to provide a list of boat wash locations that have lit, pull-though bays for easy access. Hot water may not be available at these boat washes. If your vessel has been moored in containment waters for 3 or more days or if AIS are attached, your boat must be decontaminated with hot water.
South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.
The Local Boat Registry (LBR) was developed by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks to assist watercraft operators with compliance of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) possession and transportation regulations and to help slow the spread of AIS from "containment waters" to other waterbodies.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The Minnesota Watercraft Inspection Program was created in 1992, in response to legislation proposed by the DNR, Minnesota Lakes Associations, and angling groups. In 2011, legislation aimed at strengthening Minnesota's ability to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species was signed into law.
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.
Watercraft inspections are required. If you cannot get to an open inspection station you can get your watercraft inspected at a regional or area FWP office (PDF | 503 KB).
Idaho State Department of Agriculture.
Idaho's inspection stations are placed on major highways at or near the Idaho state line. The purpose of these stations is to inspect watercraft coming from outside of Idaho. Inspectors will look for high-risk boats that have been in quagga mussel and zebra mussel impacted states. Boats will be inspected for any attached mussels and/or standing water and owners also will be asked where they have boated in the previous 30 days. It is important that boaters arrive in Idaho with a clean, drained and dry watercraft.
California Department of Parks and Recreation. Division of Boating and Waterways.
This list is provided as a courtesy by the State of California. Additional waterbodies may be conducting watercraft inspections that are not included in this list. Before traveling, boaters are encouraged to contact the managing agency to obtain current information on inspections or restrictions.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Clean Boats, Clean Waters includes teams of volunteers, as well as some paid staff from the DNR, Sea Grant and other organizations. Boat inspectors help perform boat and trailer checks, disseminate informational brochures and educate boaters on how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.