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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Garret Graves (6th District of Louisiana)

October 1, 2020

Press Release

Graves’ Nutria Bill Passes U.S. Senate, Next to POTUS for Signature

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana), a member of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, released the following statement today after a bill he sponsored and negotiated passed the U.S. Senate and now heads to President Trump for his signature. The legislation, H.R. 3399 – To amend the Nutria Eradication and Control Act of 2003 to include California in the program, and for other purposes, provides funding for a nutria bounty program and restoration funds to nutria related damage. U.S. Congressman Josh Harder (D-CA) is the sponsor of the legislation.

“We’ve spent months hosting meetings with Congressman Harder and representatives of the nutria community, but no solutions have prevailed in our negotiations for their peaceful surrender. Our funds were almost depleted but our spirits remained untouched in the fight for the soul of our marsh and coastal communities. With this swift action from the Commander in Chief, the states will have the resources needed to fight back the invasive species that accelerate the destruction of coastal wetlands,” Graves said.

“Nutria are a huge threat to our farms, our water infrastructure and our native ecosystems. It’s time to get rid of them. I want to thank Congressman Graves for working with me on this bipartisan bill to help protect both of our districts from the swamp rat menace,” Harder said.

The bill increases funding and expands efforts to control nutria populations. The funds will be distributed in an amount that is in proportion to the total impacted area affected by nutria. The legislation also allows the funding to be used to restore areas that have been lost or damaged by nutria. This includes public and private and private wetlands, agricultural lands and coastal marshes.

Click here for Graves’ remarks on the legislation passing the U.S. Senate.

Background:

In February, Graves spoke about the bill on the House Floor before the bill passed the U.S. House: “I have come here many times to describe the coastal challenges we have in Louisiana. We have lost 2,800 square miles of our coast, and the 20 million invasive nutria infesting our state are part of the problem. Think about this: nearly 4.5 million people live in Louisiana, yet we have an estimated 20 million nutria…20 million!  It’s an extraordinary figure. If we could count them in the census, Louisiana would pick up an additional 27 members of Congress. We’re having infestation without representation and we need to do something about it…”

Click here for that previous speech.

The current Louisiana Coastwide Nutria Control Program is funded through 2022. To read more, click here. 

2018-2019 Nutria Control Program:

  • 223,155 nutria tails worth $1,115,775 in incentive payments were collected from 241 active participants
  • Terrebonne Parish turned in the most tails (51,960), followed by Plaquemines (39,657), and St. Mary (19,458) Parishes
  • 86 (36%) participants turned in less than 200 tails, 49 (20%) turned in 200-499 tails, 28 (12%) turned in 500-799 tails, and 78 (32%) turned in >800 tails
  • 55% of the nutria were harvested by rifle, 27% trapped, and 18% with a shotgun
  • The 2019 Nutria Herbivory Survey was completed May 23rd, there were 3,907 acres damaged along transect lines, which extrapolates to 14,652 acres coastwide

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