Ithaca, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today announced the Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act, legislation to protect New York’s natural resources from the threat of invasive species. This legislation would prevent potentially harmful species from being imported into the country and across state lines.
“The Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act would give federal wildlife officials new tools to keep out invasive species that pose an imminent threat to the Finger Lakes,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “In recent years, we’ve seen many cases of invasive species from other countries – dangerous animals that aren’t meant to live in our ecosystems here – being introduced into bodies of water around our state, including the Finger Lakes. We need to do more to prevent harmful species of animals from coming here from overseas and harming our ecosystems, and this bill would finally let us begin to address this problem.”
Currently, more than 200 species are listed as “injurious” to natural resources in the United States. Once a species is listed as injurious, it cannot be imported into the United States or its territories or possessions, or through interstate commerce, without a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit. The problem is that injurious designations happen after a species has already been introduced to the United States and is established in the ecosystem. Senator Gillibrand’s legislation, which will be introduced in the Senate in July, gives the United States Fish and Wildlife Service greater authority to regulate nonnative species and prohibit them from being imported or sold in the United States. It would establish an injurious species listing process based on risk to natural resources, and provide the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with temporary authority to make emergency designations for wildlife that pose an imminent threat.