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Jaime Herrera Beutler Effort to Protect Columbia River Ecosystem, Hydropower Infrastructure against Aquatic Invasive Species included in Water Infrastructure Agreement

Quagga and zebra mussels pose major threat to hydropower-generating dams, salmon recovery, river operators; Jaime-championed initiative included in bipartisan House-Senate agreement

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Washington, D.C., December 6, 2016 | comments
Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler applauded the inclusion of her legislative effort to prevent aquatic invasive species from infiltrating the Columbia River ecosystem in a bipartisan water infrastructure bill released late yesterday.
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Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler applauded the inclusion of her legislative effort to prevent aquatic invasive species from infiltrating the Columbia River ecosystem in a bipartisan water infrastructure bill released late yesterday.

Jaime’s anti-invasive species initiative is included in the final version of the Water Resources Development Act of 2017 (WRDA) that represents a bipartisan agreement between the U.S. House and Senate.  The potential costs of a quagga mussel introduction into the Pacific Northwest would be economically devastating, estimated at more than $500 million annually. 

Jaime’s initiative clarifies that funds authorized under WRDA are intended to assist in establishing new watercraft inspection stations, and provide maintenance for existing stations in northwest states. Watercraft inspection stations intercept thousands of boats from all over the country to inspect for invasive mussels and decontaminate them.  More information about Jaime’s effort is available here.

“I’m pleased my amendment to protect the Columbia River Basin from invasive species is included in the final WRDA agreement.  The potential damage to our ecosystem if these invasive mussels were introduced would be economically devastating,” said Jaime. “Western states are seeing a catastrophic spread of quagga and zebra mussels, and we need to act now to stop it from spreading here.  Prevention is the first line of defense, and it’s the cheapest and most effective tool to use against invasive species.”

Dedicated Funding for Southwest Washington Ports

The WRDA bill also provides funding for maintenance and improvements to Southwest Washington ports by phasing in full use of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund -- money collected for harbor and channel operations maintenance and dredging. Jaime has consistently fought to ensure that 10% of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund will be set aside for small ports like those in Pacific and Wahkiakum Counties, and along the Columbia River.

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