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$1,200 prize offered in Wyoming for turning in moss balls

April 13, 2021 GMT

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — People in Wyoming who turn in aquarium moss balls for disposal so they don’t spread an invasive species will be eligible to win $1,200.

Wyoming officials have been alarmed by the recent discovery of zebra mussels in moss balls sold in pet stores.

So far, the fingernail-sized mussels haven’t become established in Wyoming waters but they’ve devastated ecosystems elsewhere in the U.S. The mussels originated from Eurasia and become so numerous they can clog pipes for water systems.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming Trout Unlimited and others have teamed up for a moss ball raffle. People who turn in moss balls at any of 10 locations around the state may enter the raffle to win $1,200.

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The contest ends May 15.

“Please do not buy more moss balls,” Game and Fish aquatic invasive species coordinator Josh Leonard said in a statement. “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.”

Don’t pour water that has been in contact with moss balls down a toilet or drain. The water should be boiled and poured on a houseplant or outside where it won’t flow away, state officials said.