Every Day without Quaggas Means Money Saved

The state is very nervous about potential arrival of aquatic invasive species in Oregon, according to a story in today’s Oregonian. The story explains the dangers of invasive species and what the Oregon Legislature could do about it right now.

 

According to the story, Oregon has “marshalled efforts to keep out [the quagga mussel], delaying its arrival on the hulls of boats as long as possible. The damage here would go into the hundreds of millions of dollars, they say.”

Left to reproduce and spread at will, invasive species – ranging from various species of plants, to bait fish dumped into lakes, to thumbnail-sized mussels that spread by grabbing on to the bottom of boats -- could end up costing the state billions of dollars and causing irreparable harm to Oregon’s land and waters.

That’s why the Oregon Conservation Network made Invasive Species one of six priorities for this year’s legislative session. Senate Bill 571 has already been signed by the governor. This bill increases penalties for anyone who intentionally introduces non-native species of fish into Oregon’s lakes and rivers. Just such activity caused the tui chub fish to take over the Diamond Lake ecosystem, and cost taxpayers $6 million to clean up.

We need two other bills to pass, too. HB 2220 would authorize the creation of border stations to check boats coming into Oregon for invasive plants and mussels. HB 2020 would set up an emergency response fund to fight invasives. Both bills are in the Natural Resources Subcommittee of Ways and Means Committee, and we are working to get them heard next Tuesday. Both would help address the problem that the Oregonian’s story illuminated today.

 

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Oregon League of Conservation Voters | 133 SW 2nd Ave., Ste. 200 | Portland, OR 97204 |  Phone: 503-224-4011 | Fax: 503-224-1548