December 04, 2009

CARDIN CHAIRS HEARING ON LEGISLATION TO PROTECT WILDLIFE AND HABITATS

 

 

 

Washington, DC -- U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), today chaired a legislative hearing to consider nine bills aimed at controlling invasive species and conserving wildlife across the country. The bills discussed during the hearing included:
  • S. 1519, Nutria Eradication and Control Act of 2009
  • H.R. 2188, Joint Ventures in Bird Habitat Conservation Act of 2009
  • S. 373, A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to include constrictor snakes …
  • S. 1421, Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act
  • S. 1965, Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program Act of 2009
  • S. 1214, National Fish Habitat Conservation Act
  • H.R. 3537, Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program Reauthorization Act of 2009
  • H.R. 3433, To amend the North American Wetlands Conservation Act …
  • H.R. 509, Marine Turtle Conservation Reauthorization Act of 2009
"We have a responsibility to preserve wildlife and their habitat as part of being good stewards of the earth. Our wetlands are important natural resources that provide numerous values to society, including fish and wildlife habitat, flood protection, erosion control and water quality preservation," said Senator Cardin. 
 
"We also have an economic responsibility that gains more importance in these difficult times. According to the most recent data available from the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, 87.5 million U.S. residents fished, hunted, or watched wildlife in 2006. They spent over $122 billion pursuing their recreational activities, contributing to millions of jobs in industries and businesses that support wildlife-related recreation.
 
"Maryland provides a case study for how our nation's wetlands are threatened by invasive species and habitat loss. I have seen firsthand the damage done by nutria to the wetlands on the Eastern Shore, particularly at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Nutria are responsible for the loss of more than 5,000 acres of wetlands in Blackwater Refuge alone, estimated to cost Maryland's economy nearly $4 million dollars annually. A strong nutria eradication program, bolstered by the Nutria Eradication and Control Act of 2009, is critical to protecting our wetlands from this invasive species that has such a destructive capability."
 
In 2000, Congress established a federal funding source to develop a successful public-private partnership program to address nutria in Maryland. Healthy wetlands are returning to places where nutria have been removed both in Maryland and in Louisiana. The Nutria Eradication and Control Act of 2009 would continue and improve the successful nutria eradication program in Maryland and Louisiana and expand it to other impacted states including Oregon and Washington.
 
"Congressman Frank Kratovil's Joint Ventures for Bird Conservation Act also is critical for wetlands restoration. The future of many of the 1,400 bird species that occur in North America is in jeopardy. Many populations are in decline, as habitats are degraded or lost throughout their ranges which can span countries, continents - even hemispheres. This is why this bill, which emphasizes habitat conservation and management across the hemisphere, is so important. It would formally authorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Joint Ventures Program, which has been effectively carrying out bird conservation planning and projects since 1987."