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Game and Fish launching moss ball take-back program

Aquarium owners, your moss ball could be worth $1,200.

4/12/2021 8:45:20 PM

Cheyenne - Aquarium owners, your moss ball could be worth $1,200. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department, in collaboration with Wyoming Trout Unlimited and other sponsors, is launching a month-long moss ball take-back program to help stop the potential spread of zebra mussels. The invasive mussel species was discovered for the first time in Wyoming in March on moss balls, an aquarium plant sold in pet stores. 

“Zebra mussels are a serious threat to Wyoming’s waters, outdoor recreation, municipalities, agriculture, state infrastructure and tourism. That’s why we are going the extra mile to encourage people to dispose of their moss balls that could have zebra mussels,” said Alan Osterland, Game and Fish chief of fisheries.

All aquarium moss balls are eligible to be submitted to the program. To return a moss ball, net it out of your aquarium and put it in a closed, plastic bag or container. Moss balls can be dropped off to one of the 10 take-back locations across Wyoming.   

  • Johnson County Emergency Management, 26 N. DeSmet, Buffalo
  • Game and Fish Sheridan Regional Office, 700 Valley View Dr., Sheridan
  • Game and Fish Cody Regional Office, 2820 Highway 120, Cody
  • Game and Fish Jackson Regional Office, 420 N. Cache St., Jackson
  • Game and Fish Pinedale Regional Office, 432 E. Mill St., Pinedale
  • Game and Fish Green River Regional Office, 351 Astle Ave. ​Green River
  • Game and Fish Lander Regional Office, 260 Buena Vista Dr., Lander
  • Game and Fish Casper Regional Office, 3030 Energy Ln., Casper
  • Game and Fish Laramie Regional Office, 1212 S. Adams St., Laramie
  • Game and Fish Headquarters, 5400 Bishop Blvd., Cheyenne
Anyone who returns a moss ball can scan a QR code at the drop-off site to enter into a raffle to win $1,200. The raffle closes May 15. 

“Every moss ball returned helps prevent the potential spread of zebra mussels,” said Josh Leonard, Game and Fish aquatic invasive species coordinator. “Just because you don’t see a mussel, doesn’t mean its tiny offspring are not there. That’s why disposing of all moss balls is vital, as well as the water they’ve been in.”

Leonard recommends aquarists dispose of any aquarium water that came in contact with a moss ball by boiling and then pouring outside away from any natural waters or on a house plant after cooling. Do not pour down drains. Full directions are available on the Game and Fish website. Moss balls remain under a quarantine order from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture.

“Please do not buy more moss balls,” Leonard said. “Game and Fish is still working to contain the threat of zebra mussels in Wyoming, and a major key to protecting our state is the public’s help.” 

The moss ball take-back program is supported by Wyoming Trout Unlimited, the WYldlife Fund, Wyoming Game Wardens Association, Wyoming County Commissioners Association, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Wyoming Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Wyoming Wildlife Federation and Muley Fanatic Foundation.

(Sara DiRienzo (307-777-4540))

- WGFD -

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