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Bipartisan effort underway to help eradicate nutria in Louisiana, elsewhere

Image of a nutria
Image of a nutria(John Snell | WVUE)
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 11:47 AM CDT
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(KNOE) - Bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) aims to protect coastal wetlands from an invasive species.

According to a news release from Kennedy’s office, their legislation would amend the Nutria Eradication and Control Act, authorizing an additional $6 million a year for states in the fight against nutria. It also makes financial assistance proportional to the total area of a state that is affected by nutria.

“Louisiana’s wetlands protect our state from hurricanes and other serious storms. For years, nutria have devoured miles of our marshes, and some areas have no chance of growing back. This bill would help prevent these invasive swamp rats from further destroying Louisiana’s marshland,” said Kennedy.

“The explosive population growth of the nutria rodent could overwhelm our farms and wetlands if we don’t take aggressive action now. In California, there could be as many as 250,000 nutria within five years that could cause more than $1.2 billion a year in agriculture losses and eradication costs. Our bill will make all states eligible for federal funds to control this invasive species and stop its spread before we lose control of the situation,” said Feinstein.

The legislative proposal comes one month after Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed Act 175 of the 2020 Regular Louisiana Legislative Session into la. It allows the nighttime hunting of nutria and other species year-round on private property in Louisiana.

Nutria are native to South America. They were brought to the United States in the early 20th Century for their fur, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Learn more about nutria by clicking here.

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