May 2021 - 8

NEWS

AIS rapid response plan set for
Flaming Gorge, other Wyoming waters
CHEYENNE - For more than a decade
the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has
prioritized keeping aquatic invasive species
out of the state's lakes and reservoirs. But, if
AIS like zebra or quagga mussels show up in
Wyoming's waters, Game and Fish will be
prepared. This spring and summer Game and
Fish is rolling out rapid response plans to help
act quickly if AIS are discovered.
Game and Fish is taking public comments until May 14 on 22 proposed plans
for lakes and reservoirs throughout the state,
with Wyoming Game and Fish Commission
approval expected this summer. If AIS like
zebra or quagga mussels are discovered in a
Wyoming waterbody, these plans shift AIS
management to contain the mussels while
preventing further spread in Wyoming and
across the West.
" These plans, if needed, will focus on containment and preventing the further spread of
zebra or quagga mussels through coordination,
education and monitoring, along with watercraft inspections and decontamination, " said
Tracy Folkman, a Wyoming Game and Fish Department AIS technician, conducts juvenile zebra/quagga mussel tows at Flaming Gorge
Josh Leonard, Game and Fish aquatic inva- Reservoir in 2019 as part of Game and Fish's annual AIS early detection monitoring program. Flaming Gorge is the first of 23 bodies
sive species coordinator. " In most locations, if of water around the state to have a rapid response plan if zebra/quagga mussels are detected. Rapid response plans for the other 22
mussels are found, there will be limited access waters are expected to be approved by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission later this summer. (WGFD photo)
points and opportunities to launch watercraft
initially during the first year, and shore launch- approved at the April Commission meeting. Jackson Lake in Teton County.
ing of watercraft may be prohibited. Check The plan for Flaming Gorge, Wyoming's
Kevin Gelwicks, Game and Fish assisstations will be strategically relocated at high- largest reservoir, was a collaborative effort by tant fisheries management coordinator, said
way pinch-points to intercept all watercraft Wyoming Game and Fish, Utah Division of Department fisheries biologists have spent
traveling to and from the
a considerable amount
reservoir. "
of time drafting these
Rapid response plans
plans, which detail the
AIS RAPID RESPONSE PLANS FOR WYOMING WATERS.
were drafted for the bodequipment, personnel
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SPECIFIC PLANS AND TO PROVIDE
ies of water in Wyoming
and other resources that
COMMENTS, GO TO: HTTPS://WGFD.WYO.GOV/FISHINGbased on the high likeliwill need to be put in
AND-BOATING/AQUATIC-INVASIVE-SPECIES-PREVENTION/
hood for zebra or quagga
place to combat a musmussel introduction.
sel detection.
AIS-RAPID-RESPONSE-PLANS
Those criteria include high
" Development of
boater use, particularly by
these plans has been
out-of-state boaters, and water with chemical Wildlife Resources, U.S. Forest Service Ashley a valuable exercise and has heightened our
and physical characteristics that favor zebra National Forest and U.S. Bureau of Reclama- awareness of what is at stake if mussels ever
or quagga mussel survival and colonization. tion. The Gorge is one of five Wyoming waters become established in Wyoming. Now, hopeIn all, Game and Fish will have 23 rapid with the highest potential for establishment fully we can put these plans on the shelf and
response plans. The plan to address a mussel of invasive mussels. The others are: Glendo, never have to use them, " he said.
detection at Flaming Gorge Reservoir was Grayrocks and Keyhole reservoirs, along with - Robert Gagliardi, WGFD
8 | May 2021	


https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Fishing-and-Boating/Aquatic-Invasive-Species-Prevention/AIS-Rapid-Response-Plans

May 2021

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