NMMA holds aquatic invasive species event on Capitol Hill

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Marine industry stakeholders met with members of Congress and staff to examine strategies for combatting aquatic invasive species.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Congressional Boating Caucus last week held a briefing for nearly 50 congressional staff in Washington, D.C., titled “How Congress Can Help Address Aquatic Invasive Species.”

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., opened the event by speaking about the impact of invasive species in his district and the effects on recreational boating, according to NMMA.

NMMA director of federal government relations Clay Crabtree facilitated a dialogue about the economic and environmental damage that invasive species incur, and what Congress can do to support projects to fight the problem.

Crabtree was joined on the panel by Christy Plumer, chief conservation officer for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership; Dennis Zabaglo, aquatic resources program manager for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency; and Elizabeth Brown, invasive species program manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Brown highlighted the efforts that Colorado and many western states have conducted, including investing in personnel and decontamination stations to protect against the spread of invasive species.

Zabaglo discussed the importance of public-private partnerships to provide additional resources to help prevent the introduction of new invasive species into Lake Tahoe, which has a $5 billion outdoor recreation-based economy.

Plumer detailed the harm that invasive species have on the environment and recreational fishing, and highlighted how conservation organizations and NMMA are working together to ensure federal agencies provide adequate resources.