Adventure briefs for Dec. 13

Wildlife watching

Beginning birding class set to start Jan. 11

Registration is open for the Black Hills Audubon Society’s beginning bird class that will run for five weeks starting Jan. 11.

This course will provide an introduction to birding that emphasizes developing identification skills. Other topics include a review of birding tools, including binoculars and field guides; an introduction to birding terminology; and basic bird biology as it relates to identification.

Taught by retired professor of ornithology Scott Mills, the course is designed primarily for beginning birders but should be useful for many midlevel birders as well.

The classes will be Saturday mornings from 9-11 a.m., from Jan. 11-Feb. 7, at the Norm Dicks Visitor Center lecture hall at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.

The cost is $60, and includes two Sunday field trips on Jan. 18 and 25. Some scholarships are available.

You can register by calling the society’s voice mail at 360-352-7299 or sending an email to Mary Russell at greenbird321@msn.com. The class is limited to 24 persons.


State seeks applicants for aquatic lands grants

Grant applications will be accepted through Feb. 28 for volunteer projects that benefit fish and wildlife. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife expects $1.1 million-$1.36 million will be available for these grants, funded through the state’s Aquatic Land Enhancement Account, beginning July 1.

Agency staff members will look for five major types of projects to fund, although others might be considered. These key project types are habitat restoration, scientific research-citizen science, public education, facility development and artificial fish production.

Eligible applicants are individual citizens, nonprofit organizations, schools, tribes and political subdivisions of the state such as conservation districts. For-profit businesses and state and federal agencies are not eligible.

Funds are provided on a cost-reimbursement basis and may not be used for salaries, wages, stipends or benefits. Grantees are required to follow state purchasing rules and report on their progress quarterly.

Interested persons or groups can apply at alea.fluidreview.com. For more information, go to the ALEA Grant Program website at wdfw.wa.gov/grants/alea.


State Parks moorage rates go up Jan. 1

Boaters are reminded that moorage rates at Washington State Parks will increase by as much as 25 percent in 2015, according to the agency.

The first increase since 2012 is the result of an effort to offset the loss of tax support, park officials said in a prepared statement. “Even with the 2015 fee increases, the program will need greater long-term financial support,” the statement reads.

The new stationary float daily fee is 70 cents per foot, up from 60 cents per foot. The nightly buoy fee will be $15, up from $12. And an annual moorage pass increases to $5 per foot, up from $4 per foot.

The new prices take effect Jan. 1.

Compiled by Jeffrey P. Mayor, jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.com