For once, every sportfishing and boating group in the United States is happy with Congress for passing the Clean Boating Act of 2008.
If the president signs the legislation, the act permanently would restore the longtime exemption for the nation's 18 million recreational boaters that - under recent Environmental Protection Agency mandates - could have required them to purchase permits and meet certain requirements that were thought to apply more to commercial vessels than weekend fun boats.
I wrote of the EPA plan July 9 that even might have covered canoes and kayaks and how recreational boats are washed or otherwise cleansed under certain requirements of the Clean Water Act. The fear was that some kind of forbidden substance might reach the water and subsequently call for a stiff fine.
Happily, good sense prevailed. Congress permanently reversed a September 2006 court decision that would have required recreational boats to be permitted just like commercial vessels, forcing the EPA to implement some kind of permitting system for all recreational boats in the country by October.
"This is a significant victory for recreational boaters and anglers," American Sportfishing Association vice president Gordon Robertson said. "Our thanks and congratulations go to the National Marine Manufacturers Association for leading the charge to see that this act was passed. It just goes to show what can be done when the entire boating and angling community comes together for a common purpose."
Robertson urged the president to "validate the bi-partisan action of Congress by swiftly approving this bill."
I'm sure President Bush and everybody in Congress is aware that recreational boaters and anglers often are in the lead when it comes to conservation and stewardship of our natural resources. To dump harmful substances into the waters they so love is unthinkable for them. It wasn't necessary to create an entire new bureaucracy to tell recreational water users that clean waters are desirable.
We know already. We know.
Virginia outdoors show - The 25th annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show is Aug. 8-10 at the Showplace in Richmond. See some of the finest buck mounts in the nation, including the NRA's Great American Whitetail Collection and a special display of the biggest bucks shot in Virginia. There will be $10,000 worth of door prizes, a turkey-calling contest and nearly 300 exhibition booths filled with hunting items. Tickets cost $10; children 15 and younger get in free. Information: sportsmanshow.com or 804/748-7529.
Mark your carp calendar -The Carp Anglers Group will conduct its biggest event of the year, the CAG Classic, on Sept. 27 on the Washington Channel side of the Potomac River's Hains Point. You will see up to 100 carp anglers - called carpers - from all over the United States and Europe trying to hook carp that can weigh as much as 50 pounds with modern Euro-style rods and bait-runner reels.
The fishing begins at 7 a.m., and all the carp are carefully released. The event is open to the public, but there's a small entrance fee and mandatory CAG membership. A District fishing license is also required. For more information, call Mark Metzger during business hours at 540/687-5633.
Early Virginia hunt dates - At the July Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries Board meeting, the Board approved the dove, woodcock, resident goose and early teal seasons, and there are some welcome changes.
"I am encouraged by the increase in the daily bag for doves, now 15 per day, and the goose limit for September will be 10 instead of five. Think of it as more birds per gallon of gasoline," VDGIF executive director Bob Duncan said.
The dove hunt runs Sept. 1-27, Oct. 4-31 and Dec. 27-Jan. 10. The bag limit is 15 a day. The resident Canada goose season runs Sept. 1-25, and 10 geese a day are legal. The woodcock hunt runs Nov. 8-22 and Dec. 20-Jan. 3. Three a day is the limit. The early teal hunt runs Sept. 20-30 east of Interstate 95 only, and four a day are legal.
cLook for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: email@example.com.