Grand Teton National Park wildlife biologists are reminding local residents and visitors to do their part to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. “Those who recreate on the water have a responsibility to drain, clean, and dry their vessel prior to launching in the park,” Teton Park officials say.
“By draining, cleaning, and drying watercraft and gear between uses, boaters and anglers significantly reduce the likelihood that their equipment will transport harmful invasive species to new waters,” Grand Teton National Park said in a written release. “Drained, cleaned, and dried boats also provide for an expedited boat inspection process upon entry into the park. Watercraft that are dirty or have standing water will require a more in-depth inspection and potential decontamination.”
In response to increasing concern about aquatic invasive species being transported into park waters, biologists significantly increased prevention efforts in 2016. Since that time, park staff have operated boat inspection stations in Moose and Moran, seven days a week during the summer season.
During the 2017 season, boat inspectors vetted over 16,000 watercraft, conducted more in-depth inspections of 492 high-risk boats, and decontaminated 36 of those high-risk boats. The number of craft inspected was a 13 percent increase compared to 2016.
Increasing use, coupled with recent infestations and detections of aquatic invasive species in the park region, mean park waters have an increased risk of exposure. As park staff cannot inspect all watercraft while maintaining unrestricted public access to park waters, it is essential that water recreationists act responsibly and ensure they are not transporting aquatic invasive species into the park.
“A single boat or piece of gear that has not been properly drained, cleaned, or dried could introduce non-native species and have serious and irreversible ecological consequences,” park officials say.
Boat inspectors remind recreationists transporting any watercraft, including non-motorized vessels such as canoes and kayaks, that they are required by law to stop every time they pass an open inspection station.
New this year, boat inspectors are issuing visitors an inspection verification card upon completion of the inspection. Frequent visitors should carry this card with them to expedite the inspection process during future visits.
Boaters are reminded that both a park boat permit and a state of Wyoming aquatic invasive species decal are required before launching on any Grand Teton National Park waters.
Boat permits for all motorized watercraft are $40. Permits for all non-motorized watercraft, including stand-up paddle boards, are $12. More information on boating in Grand Teton can be found at https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/boat.htm.