Washington, DC — U.S. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada introduced a bill to establish a 100th Meridian Invasive Species State Revolving Loan Fund to protect the West from non-native invasive species. The uncontrolled spread of invasive species throughout the West is depleting water and out-competing beneficial native vegetation that, if unchecked, provide significant fuel for wildfires.
“The quagga mussels, in addition to other non-native species, pose a threat to Southern Nevada,” said Reid. “As the mussels cling to the walls and water intake pipes in Lake Mead, they clog the flow of fresh water and degrade the ability of the Lake to support wildlife. Meanwhile, other invasive species exacerbate wildfires, displace native species, and degrade Nevada’s diverse ecosystems. This legislation addresses the issue head-on by working collaboratively with all parties to eliminate invasive species from Nevada and help prevent the spread of the invasive species from occurring in the future.”
“Along with global climate change, invasive species present, perhaps, the most serious threat to our natural world and all that we value and gain from it,” said Rob Mrowka, Manager, Environmental Division of the Clark County Department of Air Quality & Environmental Management. “Invasive species affect us all, in many ways, and that is why this legislation is so very important to we Westerners.”
“The Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition realizes invasive species are an important issue challenging all of our lands today. The 100th Meridian Invasive Bill is a major step forward to involve all impacted parties (private land owners, states, and federal land managers) in addressing this issue,” said Betsy Macfarlan, Executive Director of the Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition.
Reid has long supported efforts across Nevada to avert the spread of invasive species by supporting the efforts of the Nevada Arid Rangelands Initiative through the University of Nevada, Reno. Reid has also worked to ensure that Federal land management agencies work cooperatively with volunteer organizations that restore and rehabilitate Nevada’s unique ecosystems.
The 100th Meridian Invasive Species State Revolving Loan Fund bill is similar to the popular state drinking water and clean water revolving funds. The 100th Meridian fund would place the Secretary of the Interior in charge of approving disbursements from the revolving fund, but before receiving a loan, cities and other qualified organization will first submit an application to the Governor’s office for its review and approval.
The legislation is being cosponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Larry Craig (R-ID), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests, as well as Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM). Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) will be introducing the companion measure in the House of Representatives.