June 11, 2020

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department (GFP) will begin operating mobile watercraft inspection and decontamination stations across the state to help combat the spread of zebra mussels.

GFP staff has been trained to inspect boats for zebra mussels and other Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). Inspection and decontamination stations will be placed at boat landings and on highways frequently used by boaters. Due to a new law passed during the 2020 Legislative Session, boaters are required to stop and have their boats inspected.

“This will be a pretty quick process for boaters who clean, drain, and dry their boat, trailer and equipment,” said GFP fisheries chief, John Lott. “For most people it is just a quick look at the boat and a short series of questions.”

If the boat is determined to be high-risk, trained staff will give the boat a more thorough inspection. A decontamination would only take place if the boat has plants or zebra mussels on it, has standing water in it, or if water cannot be completely drained from the boat or equipment. Boats that have been in infested waters continually for three or more days must be decontaminated.

The decontamination process can include use of a high pressure washer, using 140 degree water on the outside of the boat and trailer and low pressure, 120 degree water for the engine and internal compartments.

“We want this process to be a quick as possible,” Lott said. “We also want to use the process as a learning tool for boaters. Our staff can show boaters how to look for AIS on their watercraft and answer questions. These mandatory inspections are new to all of us, but they are important in slowing the spread of AIS and protecting our waters.”

For more information on the new regulations regarding AIS, visit sdleastwanted.sd.gov/laws.