Outdoors

Outdoors briefs: Grant Sheriff's Office to enforce boat course rule

The Grant County Sheriff's Office says it will enforce state law that requires boaters operating a boat with a motor of 15 horsepower or greater to complete a boater education course.

The state law, which took effect last year, is being phased in based on the operator's age.

This year, anyone 25 or younger must have completed the course, including operators of personal water craft, the sheriff's office said.

Online and home study courses which meet the state's boater education requirements are also available through the Washington State Parks and Recreation Web site under the boating program section.

Washington halibut season to open April 23

OLYMPIA -- Recreational halibut fishing in most areas of Puget Sound will open April 23, two weeks later than last year due to a reduction in catch quotas for 2009, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Anglers also will have fewer days to fish for halibut on the coast, said Michele Culver, department regional director.

Fishing seasons set by the department are based on a stock assessment and quotas established for the Pacific coast -- from Alaska to California -- by the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

Sage grouse released in Lincoln County

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has released sage grouse on public land in Lincoln County for the third time in two years to try to establish another population of the state-threatened species in Washington.

A total of 28 sage grouse -- 15 males and 13 females -- were released March 28-29 at the Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area and Bureau of Land Management property south of Creston in Lincoln County.

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