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Outdoors notebook: Operation Dry Water washed out

| Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013, 10:45 p.m.

Wet weather hampered Operation Dry Water.

Waterways conservation officers with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, as part of a national effort to curb drunk boating, turned out one weekend in June to look for cases of boating under the influence, or BUI. Persistent rains limited boating activity, but officers still checked 689 vessels, issued 142 citations and made five BUI arrests, said Corey Brichter, chief of the commission's law enforcement bureau.

This was the commission's first year participating in Operation Dry Water, which is organized by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. But it won't be the last, Brichter said.

Increased incidents of BUI are the reason. The commission had made 46 arrests as of July 15.

“That's not a good statistic,” Brichter said. “That's way above where we usually are. We usually get 60 for the whole (boating) season.”

The southcentral region had seen the most BUI cases as of mid-July, with 22. The southwest and northeast region had accounted for seven each, the southeast five, the northwest four and the northcentral one.

The limit for BUI is a blood alcohol content of .08 percent.

Bird book

The “Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania,” a book based on the work of more than 2,000 volunteers across the state, is available.

The book details which 190 birds breed in Pennsylvania, where and in what numbers. Data was collected between 2004 through 2009, or roughly 20 years after the first official atlas.

Details on the book are available at www.psupress.org.

Budget numbers

State parks and forests will operate with about as much money this year as last. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' budget for 2013-14 was cut by about $30 million, but that was offset with a transfer of money from the Oil and Gas Lease Fund, meaning no cuts in services at parks or forests.

Bat money

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded more than $950,000 to 28 states to study white-nose syndrome, the disease that has killed more than 5.7 million bats since 2007. The Pennsylvania Game Commission received $27,760.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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