SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) — Gov. Gary Herbert signed many bills into law during the 2020 legislative session. Below is a summary of five bills that affect Utah wildlife and recreation, according to the Division of Wildlife Resources.

House Bill 255: Boat Fees Amendments

The law requires boat owners to complete an online Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to education course about how to prevent the spread of quagga mussels and show proof of completion of the course before launching in any Utah bodies of water. It also requires any non-resident boaters to pay a $20 fee in order to boat in Utah.

Additionally, the anyone transporting a boat on a Utah highway must remove all drain plugs from the boat and drain all water from the live wells, bilges, ballast tanks or other compartments. Failure to do so could result in a class C misdemeanor. The law goes into effect on July 1st and is aimed to prevent the spread of invasive aquatic species.

House Concurrent Resolution 24: Concurrent Resolution on Quagga Mussels

The resolution encourages support from the federal government, especially the National Park Service, in preventing the spread of invasive quagga muscles at Lake Powell through allocating funds and dedicating time to containing the muscles. It also ask for support in improving inspection and decontamination processes for watercraft entering Utah bodies of water.

House Bill 125: Division of Wildlife Resources Amendments (Predator management bill) 

This law allows the DWR director to take immediate action in certain situations in which a big game population is under the established herd-size objective for a management unit. The law also allows DRW biologists to create management strategies to decrease certain predator species who cause a threat to big game populations if deemed necessary. These include cougars, bear and coyotes.

“Predator control may allow a suppressed, low-density deer population to increase,” DWR Game Mammals Coordinator Darren DeBloois said. “These predator-management strategies will only be considered when bighorn sheep populations are under 90% of their management objectives and/or have fewer than 125 individuals in a herd, when a deer population is being suppressed by predators, and when large population declines for big game occur or are anticipated.”   

House Concurrent Resolution 13: Concurrent Resolution Supporting the Protection and Restoration of Wildlife Corridors

The resolution encourages DWR and other wildlife partners to identify wildlife migration correidors and create plans to protect and enhance these areas for wildlife. This may include installing wildlife crossings to prevent wildlife-vehicle collisions and promote road safety.

House Bill 233: Natural Resources Legacy Funding Amendments

This law created the Utah National Resources Fund to preserve open spaces, address and mitigate impacts on wildlife habitats, and providing land and water access for hunting, fishing, and trapping. The goal of the law is to provide funding for research, monitoring, and actions to prevent non-game wildlife species from becoming endangered.

This law goes into effect July 1. 

“We are confident that these bills, among others, will help us in our mission to effectively manage Utah’s wildlife,” DWR Director Mike Fowlks said.