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Sportfishing industry lends support for aquatic invasive species control legislation

by American Sportfishing Association 27 Oct 16:17 UTC

Reps. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) and Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) introduced H.R. 5692, the "Stop the Spread of Invasive Mussels Act," which would help address the growing spread of aquatic invasive species that negatively impact fisheries resources and recreational fishing opportunities.

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) supports the introduction of the bipartisan bill, commending the inclusion of provisions ensuring best management practices for inspection stations across federal agencies.

The bill would ensure that federal land management agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, have the legal authority to conduct boat inspections and decontaminations on federal land. In addition, it would establish a new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation grant program for inspection stations at federally managed reservoirs.

Invasive mussels, such as zebra and quagga mussels, threaten freshwater ecosystems and the fish that inhabit them, competing with native species for resources and contributing to harmful algal blooms. Invasive mussels further strain water and reservoir infrastructure, clogging pipelines, impairing canals and constraining hydropower production.

"The 'Stop the Spread of Invasive Mussels Act' is an important step towards keeping invasive mussels out of our lakes and rivers. We appreciate the sponsors' focus on implementing proven, scientific practices while maintaining access for boaters and anglers," said Connor Bevan, ASA's Inland Fisheries Policy manager.

"Invasive species crowd out native wildlife and incur billions of dollars in avoidable damage to our nation's critical water infrastructure, particularly in western states like California," said Garamendi. "The best defense against spreading invasive aquatic species is simple: inspection and decontaminating watercraft so they do not spread aquatic invasive species from one waterbody to another."

"I am proud to join Congressman Garamendi in introducing the 'Stop the Spread of Invasive Mussels Act', which invests critical resources in building and operating additional invasive species inspection stations, while also allowing the Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service to aid in these efforts," said Amodei. "This legislation is a commonsense solution to empower our federal agencies to be responsible stewards of our lakes and waterways, which is vital to the preservation of Lake Tahoe."

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