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Watercraft in Yellowstone required to be invasive species free

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YELLOWSTONE N.P. – All motorized and non-motorized watercraft entering Yellowstone Park lakes must now pass an Aquatic Invasive Species inspection as part of the watercraft permitting process.

Motorized boating is allowed on Yellowstone and Lewis lakes, and non-motorized boating is allowed on most other park lakes. National Park Service staff will conduct daily required inspections this summer for all boats that launch from Bridge Bay, Grant Village and Lewis Lake boat ramps.

“We’ve done inspections in the past,” said Park spokesman Al Nash. “But we’ve stepped up our efforts this summer.”

Aquatic Invasive Species are non-native plants and animals that can have significant impacts on the park’s natural resources. Destructive species that have become established in park waters over the past several years include New Zealand mudsnails, whirling disease and lake trout in Yellowstone Lake.

These species damage Yellowstone waters and may also affect the entire ecosystem. Studying them and removing them requires a great deal of time, money, personnel and equipment. In many cases, removal is not feasible.

Since 2009, Yellowstone’s AIS program staff has had contact with more than 7,000 park boaters and performed more than 3,000 watercraft inspections, which resulted in more than 120 affected boats being cleaned with a non-chemical AIS decontamination treatment.

Violations should be reported to the nearest Ranger Station, or to the park’s main information line at (307) 344-7381. Information on boat permitting in Yellowstone and on AIS can be found at the following links:

nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/boating.htm

nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/fishingexotics.htm.

Yellowstone’s AIS education and prevention programs are funded in part by donations from the Yellowstone Park Foundation.

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