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Boat Inspections Open Early This Year

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MEDFORD, Ore. — California man Mike McDonald hit the road Saturday morning with Crescent City and open water on his mind.

“I’m going to take it over and hopefully get some crabbing done, then when salmon season opens, I’ll be out there hopefully the first of April to get out there and get some salmon,” said McDonald.

Before he or any other boaters get much further than the Oregon border, they must stop at a boat inspection station, which targets invasive species that threaten Oregon waterways.

“We’re worried about Zebra and Quagga muscles coming into Oregon. They’re filter feeders first introduced into the great lakes back in the 80’s and they have detrimental effects to any water way they are really established in,” said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Inspector, Sam Dodenhoff.

The inspection stations discovered aquatic invasive species on 51 boats last year, and by opening three months earlier than usual this year, ODFW officials hope to catch more boats before they hit the water.

“We’ll decontaminate it here on the spot. We hit it with 140 degree water out of decontamination trailer, then we physically remove it,” said Dodenhoff.

McDonald said he likes the idea of increased inspections and thinks it goes a long way.

“If we had to do it 365 days a year, I’d say do it because it only takes one boat to get through to infect a lake,” said McDonald.

It’s mandatory for all watercraft including kayaks and canoes to stop at the stations, or face a fine of more than $100. In the first few days of this year’s inspections, as many as a dozen boats stop by each day. ODFW officials encourage all boat users to clean, drain and dry their boat after every use to assure they have nothing to worry about.