OLYMPIA -- Anyone hauling boats to and from Washington waterways this summer may be stopped by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officers conducting mandatory checks of boats, trailers and gear for aquatic invasive species.
The annual check stations and emphasis-patrol program have begun in several parts of the state and will continue through the boating season.
The aim is to keep tiny zebra mussels, quagga mussels and other non-native species out of Washington to protect native fish, wildlife and water systems.
Importation of aquatic invasive species is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and up to a year in jail.
Quagga mussels are present in waters in Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and California. Zebra mussels are present in Utah and California.
Since 2006, Washington inspectors have found these invasive species on more than 20 boats stopped as they were entering the state.
Zebra and quagga mussels are native to the Caspian Sea. They entered the Great Lakes in the mid-1980s in ship ballast water, and have since spread to more than 20 states and two Canadian provinces. Both zebra and quagga mussels are easily transported on boats and trailers because they can live out of water for up to a month.
Besides endangering native aquatic species, they can clog water-intake systems at power plants, irrigation districts, public water suppliers and other facilities.
For more information on all aquatic invasive species and how to prevent their spread, visit wdfw.wa.gov/fish/ans/
Women's outdoor workshop planned
CARNATION -- Women can learn the basics of fishing, hunting and other outdoor skills at a September workshop.
The workshop is scheduled the weekend of Sept. 17-19 at Camp River Ranch in Carnation.
The annual workshop is coordinated by Washington Outdoor Women, a non-profit program dedicated to teaching women outdoor skills and natural resource stewardship. WOW, now in its 13th year, is an educational outreach program of the Washington Wildlife Federation.
Twenty classes will be offered throughout the weekend on skills such as archery, basic freshwater fishing, fly-fishing and tying flies, kayaking, cooking wild game, big-game hunting basics, map and compass reading, wilderness first aid, survival skills and outdoor photography.
The workshop fee is $235 and covers the cost of lodging, meals and necessary equipment.
A limited number of partial scholarships, provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, are available for first-time participants.
Workshop participants must be at least 18 years old and must have a current Washington recreational fishing license if they want to participate in the fishing and fly-fishing sessions.
Visit the WOW website at www.washingtonoutdoorwomen.org or contact Ronni McGlenn at (425) 455-1986.