The effort to address the California nutria problem may be getting some federal support. Representative Josh Harder’s bipartisan bill to provide federal support for eradicating nutria populations was passed in the House of Representatives recently with unanimous support.
“Nutria threaten farmers, indigenous wildlife, and our water infrastructure – it’s time to bring in the cavalry and drive them out of the Valley – that’s just what my bill would do,” Harder said in a press release. “This is a bipartisan concern and today’s unanimous vote proves that Washington can, in fact, get something done.”
The bill would reauthorize the Nutria Eradication and Control Act of 2003, which helped eliminate nutria in the Chesapeake Bay. The amended bill will provide $12 million in federal support to assist states affected by nutria populations. Along with California, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Mississippi, Washington, Texas, and Oregon would also receive funding support.
COMBATTING NUTRIA POPULATIONS IN CALIFORNIA
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFA), nearly a thousand nutria have been eradicated in California so far. The goal is to have all California nutria eradicated over the next five to seven years. However, to ensure that the problem has been adequately addressed, it will also require an additional 15 years of monitoring. California has been funding a five-phase process for locating and eliminating the rodents, which will require every last nutria to be eradicated to be completely effective.
“This five-phase strategy mimics what the Chesapeake Bay Nutria Eradication Project employed successfully; so, it worked for them, we’re hoping it works for us,” Nutria Eradication Program Manager for CDFW, Valerie Cook explained. “We have to detect all nutria that are out there. Really that is the foundation of this whole thing, is that we can’t be successful if we can’t put every nutria at risk. To put them at risk, we have to find them.”