State Bill Would Help Whatcom County, Bellingham Handle Mussel Threat

Posted: January 23, 2014  |  By: Ralph Schwartz [Bellingham Herald]

Companion bills in the state House and Senate would expand the state's authority to stop boaters from importing invasive mussels. As the bill works its way through the state Legislature, Whatcom County and Bellingham officials will decide how to fine-tune their own boat-inspection program, started last year, to prevent zebra and quagga mussels from entering Lake Whatcom.

County Council members appear to favor including canoes and kayaks in the mandatory inspections this year. If approved, a $10 fee would be charged to kayakers and canoeists for a season pass.

The bill in the Legislature is off to a promising start; sponsors include legislators from both parties. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, is one of the sponsors of the Senate bill. In the House, three of four Whatcom representatives are signed on: Vincent Buys, R-Lynden, Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes, and Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon. 

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