This article originally appeared in the Lake George Mirror.
“The first line of defense in controlling invasive species is to prevent their entry in the first place,” says Prof. Brett McLeod of Paul Smith’s College.
For that reason, McLeod said, Paul Smith’s and its Adirondack Watershed Institute support legislation sponsored by US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand that would give the United States Fish and Wildlife Service more authority to regulate nonnative species and prohibit them from being imported or sold in the United States.
Last week, Gillibrand announced that the legislation, titled the Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act, had been re-introduced, with Elise Stefanik as sponsor in the House of Representatives.
“Invasive species threaten our environment and our economy, and we have to do everything we can to block them from coming into our state,” said Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “The Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act would help better protect our precious natural resources, strengthen our economy, draw tourism to our state, and provide clean drinking water to New Yorkers.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik stated, “As the Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Invasive Species Caucus, I am pleased to join Senator Gillibrand in introducing this bicameral bill to protect our North Country environment. This important bill will give the Fish and Wildlife Service needed flexibility to regulate and combat invasive pests that threaten our region.”
Under the current system, the designation “injurious wildlife” for species deemed harmful to the environment is applied only after the species has been introduced to the United States and has been shown to be destructive.
The Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act legislation would create a new process based on the scientific risk analysis, providing the Fish and Wildlife Service with the temporary authority to apply emergency “injurious wildlife” designations to species that pose an imminent threat but have yet to be introduced to the US.