Invasive species are a huge problem our ecosystems are facing in today’s world. You may have heard about the zebra muscles in the Great Lakes, or Asian Carp in the Midwest, or even Tui Chubs in our own backyard at Diamond Lake. All of these unwanted guests wreck havoc in the ecosystems and cost us millions of dollars every year to fight.
|Photo by Bill Monroe of the Oregonian|
Once a species becomes established it is extremely hard, and sometimes impossible to control. The best way to stop invasive species is to prevent them from entering the state to begin with. Oregon is trying to be proactive with HB 3399 which will require all private watercraft to stop and be inspected at check points. There will be four teams operating out of the cities of Clackamas, Central Point, Madras, & LaGrande.
Here’s a few things to know about the bill…
- The inspection stations will be unannounced and random, and will be located along highways and at boat ramps.
- All watercraft will be required to be inspected when passing an inspection station. That includes boats, rafts, canoes, etc…
- You won’t be required to search out an inspection station. You’ll only have to stop for one if it is present.
- Failure to stop will result in a $90 fine.
- There will be no penalties if invasive species are found
- The inspection is only good until you next launch the boat. After an inspection a red tag will be placed on your boat, which will have to be cut off before you can launch again. If you pass another inspection station after launching you will have to stop once again.
- The bill is supposed to be self funding by the invasive aquatic permits that you already have to buy for watercraft.
Overall, I believe the bill is a very good idea. The best way to curb invasive species is by being proactive and this is a good start. It does have a limited reach, so hopefully they will target areas where out of state watercraft are entering. The one negative I foresee, as well as many others, is the delay it will cause for boaters. With the inspections being announced you will have no way of knowing if you should add extra time to your trip. This could potentially cause some delays if you’re trying to get on the water for the 0 dark ‘thirty bite. That aside I am glad Oregon is taking this step.