Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) released the following statement celebrating the final passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA 2020) in the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress yesterday. This bipartisan legislation to improve and invest in key water infrastructure systems throughout the country. This bill, which is now headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law, includes a provision championed by Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen to protect bodies of water, including Lake Tahoe, from invasive species.
“Invasive species are a threat to alpine lakes across the country, including Nevada’s Lake Tahoe,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “The Invasive Species in Alpine Lakes Pilot Program that just passed through this year’s omnibus will provide up to $25 million over the next three years to protect our water resources and the unique ecosystems they support. I’m proud to have worked to pass this important legislation and remain committed to a comprehensive, collaborative and science-based approach to protecting Lake Tahoe and other water resources in Nevada from the threat of climate change and invasive species.”
“Nevada’s alpine lakes and bodies of water, including Lake Tahoe, provide our state with natural wonders; however, they are also at risk from invasive species,” said Senator Rosen. “I am glad to see that this year’s WRDA includes our provision to help fight back against invasive species impacting Lake Tahoe. I will continue to be a fierce defender of Nevada’s environment, lakes, and waterways.”
Enacted every two years, WRDA legislation authorizes water infrastructure projects for the Army Corps of Engineers to study, plan, and develop. WRDA 2020 authorizes 46 new water resource projects, enhances existing Corps projects, provides study authorization for the evaluation of new projects, and provides critical program and process reforms.
Senator Cortez Masto and Rosen’s provision, included in the legislative package, would create an Invasive Species in Alpine Lakes Pilot Program to carry out the measures necessary to prevent, reduce the number of, or eradicate aquatic invasive species in alpine lakes in areas in which the Secretary of the Interior is carrying out environmental projects. The pilot program would provide $25 million over three years to allow for substantial aquatic invasive species prevention and research.
The Senators are also cosponsors of the Stop the Spread of Invasive Mussels Act (S. 2975), bipartisan legislation which would help address and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in Western waters by helping to fund aquatic invasive species inspection and decontamination stations.