Daines’ bipartisan bill prioritizes elimination of invasive aquatic species

Bipartisan legislation introduced on Dec. 4 by U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) would prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in America’s western waters, including in his home state of Montana.

“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,” Sen. Daines said.

The Stop the Spread of Invasive Mussels Act of 2019, S. 2975, offered by lead original cosponsor Sen. Daines and bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), would authorize funding to prevent invasive species from negatively impacting the recreational economies of several states.

“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.”

According to the text of S. 2975, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior would provide financial assistance to states “to purchase, establish, operate, or maintain a watercraft inspection and decontamination station that has the highest likelihood of preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species at reservoirs operated and maintained by the Secretary, if the Secretary determines that the financial assistance is necessary and in the interests of the United States.”

If enacted, the bill also would provide all federal agencies that participate in the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force with equal authority to limit the movement of invasive species into and out of U.S. waters, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Daines’ office, and would ensure that all at-risk basins are eligible and prioritized for watercraft inspection and decontamination funding.