McHugh Targets Invasive Species
Posted on Newswatch50.com on June 7, 2005
Following is a press release from Rep. John McHugh: McHugh
Joins Fight Against Aquatic Invasive Species
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an ongoing effort to protect the
Great Lakes and other U.S. waterways from an onslaught
of non-native aquatic species, Rep. John M. McHugh (R-NY)
is again supporting a pair of bills recently introduced
in the House. The bills are designed to impose stricter
standards than those that currently exist while also boosting
research funding to help identify additional measures
that could combat the problem.
"Aquatic invasive species are destroying the environment,
damaging fisheries, and costing American taxpayers billions
of dollars annually," McHugh said. "We simply
cannot afford to risk the future viability of our water
resources in New York and nationwide, which is exactly
what we are doing by not taking action."
McHugh has also signed onto a number of letters to appropriators
urging funding for a second electronic dispersal barrier
in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to protect the
Great Lakes from the continued migration of Asian carp.
The Army Corps of Engineers has estimated that such a
barrier would be successful in stopping 99 percent of
the fish population from traveling between the Mississippi
River and the Great Lakes, preventing problems such as
Asian carp migration from arising.
Asian carp and other non-native species are tremendous
threats to the natural ecosystems they invade. The large
size and rapid rate of reproduction of Asian carp, in
particular, make them a threat to the ecosystem of the
Great Lakes. Similarly, the non-native, parasitic sea
lamprey is posing a great threat to Lake Champlain, where
infestation of this type of fish has decimated the lake's
historically significant lake trout and landlocked salmon
populations. The Great Lakes and Lake Champlain have both
suffered dramatic losses of many types of fish due to
invasive species, resulting in a devastating impact on
both the fishing industry and recreational fishing.
"The non-native species that invade our waters are
one of the greatest threats facing the health and viability
of our region's lakes and waterways," said McHugh.
"By taking preventative, preemptive measures and
imposing stricter standards, we will save money, jobs,
aquatic wildlife, and move a step closer to restoration
of the Great Lakes."
The National Aquatic Invasive Species Act takes a comprehensive
approach to preventing and controlling invasive species.
The bill makes ballast water management mandatory for
all commercial vessels operating in U.S. waters and requires
screening of planned importations of live aquatic organisms
not previously bought and sold in the United States. A
national monitoring network to detect new introductions,
a rapid response fund, and state and regional grants are
also included in the Act.
The Aquatic Invasive Species Research Act would authorize
$180 million over the next five years for extensive research
aimed at preventing, controlling, and eradicating aquatic
"Beyond the economic impact, the ecological costs
of invasive species cannot be quantified," added
McHugh. "In fact, aquatic invasive species are now
only second to habitat loss when it comes to the most
serious threats facing endangered water life."