THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ASSOCIATION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE AGENCIES
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies strongly supports introduction of the Stop the Spread of Invasive Mussels Act (H.R. 5692), which will strengthen partnerships between state and federal agencies in the fight against aquatic invasive species. Sponsored by Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA) and Mark Amodei (R-NV), this bipartisan legislation would grant federal agencies the necessary authority to carry out inspection and decontamination of recreational watercraft within their jurisdictions while coordinating with state fish and wildlife agencies.
“Invasive species pose some of the greatest threats to our aquatic resources and habitats, and increased coordination with our Federal partners is essential,” said Tony Wasley, Director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “We thank Congressman Garamendi and Congressman Amodei for championing this legislation, especially on behalf of our Western states.”
The bill would also authorize $25 million annually for financial assistance to western states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
“Beyond the devastating effects invasive species inflict on fish, wildlife, and their habitats as well as fishing and boating opportunities across the nation, it is estimated that zebra and quagga mussels can cause over one billion dollars in damage and control costs to infrastructure every year,” said Ron Regan, Executive Director for the Association. “This legislation is a crucial step in the fight to protect and restore species and provide access to water and recreational opportunities. We urge its swift passage through Congress.”
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is proud to join conservation and industry partners from the National Wildlife Federation, National Marine Manufacturers Association, American Sportfishing Association, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, and the Western Governors Association in endorsing the bill, and looks forward to working with Congress to secure its enactment.