6:56am

Wed August 28, 2013
Environment

New York lawmakers fighting back against invasive species

Congress is taking aim against invasive species that are clogging New York state's waterways, with New York representatives in the House and Senate backing the proposed "Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act."

It's a problem that plagues many lakes and rivers in central New York. Species like Asian carp and certain kinds of mussels can interfere with boating and recreation activities on the state's waterways. But championing the legislation is Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who says these species can be difficult to deal with.

"The invasive species are often on the bottom of the boats, or in the bilge water," Gillibrand said. "So if you don't have boat washing stations, it's hard to prevent invasive species from being introduced into lakes from boating."

The Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act would help boaters make sure they aren't carrying any of these species from one waterway to another.

"Just having resources to clean the boats before they go to the next waterway, or to give them resources to check their hulls, or check their bilge water."

Syracuse-area Cong. Dan Maffei is one of the House sponsors of the legislation. The Democrat says Washington should get involved in this issue.

"It's vitally important that we have a national policy that can get to the real root of this," Maffei said. "Each town tries their best, but they can't do it alone. This is something where the federal government does have a role."

The law would among other things, block any new invasive species from entering the state's waterways and provide resources to conduct research on these invasive species, as well as allow localities to get the support they need to fight them.

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