Owners of canoes, kayaks and other unregistered, non-motorized boats are slowly coming around to buying their new $5 Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit, which was enacted this year to raise money for the battle against non-native plant and animal introductions to Oregon.
One of the permits must be carried on every boat launched on public waterways, but there are no restrictions on the name of the permit holder or its transferability. Boaters under 14 years of age are exempt.
The Oregon State Marine Board put the rules in place earlier this year for the program, created last year by the Oregon Legislature, and so far 4,459 non-motorized permits have been sold.
"We're hoping to get (compliance) up to 80-85 percent this summer, but I don't have a good target day of when we hit that," says Randy Henry, the Marine Board's interim director.
So far, marine patrols have been warning boaters they must carry the permit, and that "friendly education" approach will continue until Memorial Day, Henry says.
The legislature last year directed the Marine Board to join forces with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to create an invasive species prevention program similar to those in other Western states.
The program charges a permit fee for both motorized and manually powered boat operators to fund regional inspection teams and statewide coordination of aquatic invasive species prevention efforts.
Owners of motorized boats don't have to buy a separate $5 permit, because the fee is automatically rolled into registration fees for motorized boats. According to the Marine Board, 57,942 motorized boat permits have been sold through the regular registration program so far this year.
For more on the program, visit the Marine Board Web site at www.boatoregon.com.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.