President Donald Trump recently signed into law a bill to reauthorize the Nutria Eradication and Control Act of 2003. The bill will provide federal assistance for states dealing with nutria issues. California is among the states that will receive federal support under the bill. The legislation was authored by Representative Josh Harder who introduced the bill in June of 2019. Federal funding for addressing nutria has been established at up to $12 million per year under the bill.
“It’s an incredible honor to have my first bill signed into law by the President – and it’s an example of what we can achieve if we’re willing to come together on commonsense issues,” Harder said in a press release. “Working together, we’re going to protect our farmers, our water infrastructure, and the native ecosystems threatened by the swamp rat menace.”
Nutria are an invasive species from South America that were thought to have been eradicated in California back in the 1970s. Since reemerging in 2017 more than 1,600 nutria have been taken by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officials. The goal is to eradicate all nutria in California within the next seven years. The overall funding provided by the legislation would be divided among states that apply for assistance in addressing nutria populations. Funding would be used for activities such as nutria tracking, trapping, and sterilization.
Harder spent a significant amount of time in Congress educating legislators about the serious issues that nutria populations present. Harder frequently carried a taxidermy nutria to Congressional meetings to illustrate the need to move forward with amending the Nutria Eradication and Control Act. The legislation eventually passed both the U.S. House and Senate unanimously. Trump’s signing of the law authorizes Congress to appropriate funding for the nutria eradication efforts in a separate congressional budget bill.