Posted on June 6, 2019 by admin
HARTFORD – State Representative Tim Ackert (R-8) supported legislation to protect Connecticut lakes and waterways from invasive species. The legislation, HB 6637 “An Act Requiring an Invasive Species Stamp for the Operation of a Motorboat on the Waters of the State” was passed by the House of Representatives on Saturday, June 1st.
The legislation would levy an annual fee for registered water craft to fund aquatic invasive species remediation. The rates would be $5 for in-state vessels and $20 for out-of-state vessels. The bill requires that at least 80% of the funds collected must be used to clear invasive species and conduct public outreach and education to prevent the spread of invasive species.
“Since the time I have served in the legislature the lakes in my district have had to deal with combating one or another type of invasive plants. In Vernon and Bolton, it was Fanwort and myself along with other local legislators were able to secure funding for the treatment of that Lake. Coventry Lake has been battling with success a more aggressive plant, Hydrilla,” said Rep. Ackert. “The answer unfortunately is money and education. Boaters need to clean their vessels to stop the spread from one lake to another and we need to fund the treatment of lakes currently infected by invasive species.”
The Proposal received broad support from aquatic outdoorsmen, environmental groups and municipal leaders.
The Connecticut Council of Small Towns submitted written testimony in favor of the legislation stating, “Aquatic invasive species are increasingly impacting water quality, recreational use, environmental health, and property values associated with Connecticut water bodies. The recent appearance of Hydrilla in Connecticut poses a severe threat in addition to growing problems stemming from invasive species such as the water chestnut, fanwort, milfoil, zebra mussels, toxic algae, etc.”
The legislation was overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives and State Senate on June 5th, if approved by the Governor; the law would take effect January 1, 2020.