Daines, Tester Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Stop Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species, Protect Montana Water Recreation Economy

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester today introduced a bipartisan bill, the Stop the Spread of Invasive Mussels Act of 2019, to stop the movement of aquatic invasive species, like zebra and quagga mussels, into Montana to protect Montana’s water recreation economy.

“Water is the most essential need of Montana communities, and a powerhouse for our recreation economy,” Daines said. “Our bipartisan bill helps continue the fight to prevent aquatic invasive species, like quagga and zebra mussels, from damaging pristine Montana ecosystems. Empowering our local communities with the resources they need to ensure our waterways, rivers, and lakes remain free from these invasive species is critical to our Montana way of life”

“Invasive aquatic mussels present a serious threat to Montana’s water infrastructure and outdoor economy, and we’ve got to do more to stop them at the source,” Tester said. “This bill is simple—it helps do that by building and staffing new inspection stations so we can better contain their spread and avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in mitigation down the line.”

Aquatic invasive species pose a significant threat to Western rivers and reservoirs. Once established, these intruders are nearly impossible to eradicate and wreak havoc on crucial water infrastructure, limit recreation opportunities, and harm ecosystems and local economies. As invasive mussels spread across the West, preventative measures – like watercraft inspection and decontamination stations – are key to limiting their spread.

Daines and Tester introduced the bill with Senator Michael Bennet (Colo.). The bipartisan bill will:

  • Strengthen prevention efforts by providing the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) explicit authority to partner with states and municipalities to fund watercraft inspection and decontamination stations
  • Provide all federal agencies who participate in the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force the same authorities to limit the movement of invasive species into and out of U.S. waters, eliminating problematic differences between the various agencies
  • Ensure that all at-risk basins are eligible and prioritized for watercraft inspection and decontamination funding

To read the full bill, click HERE.