Friday, October 30, 2009

SB 123 Signed by Governor

The battle against the spread of aquatic invasive species officially has a new tool! SB 123 was signed by the Governor yesterday, October 28. This bill addresses a number of invasive species-related topics. Most importantly, it contains the “illegal to transport” language and authorizes non-DNR law enforcement (in addition to DNR law enforcement) to enforce it. Senate Bill 123.

Summary of the bill:

1. Expands upon the current law to prohibit objects (vehicles, sea planes, and watercrafts) from being placed into water with any aquatic plants or animals attached. Previously only boats were addressed.

2. Makes it illegal to transport or operate any vehicle, sea plane, or watercraft on a highway with any aquatic plants or animals attached. NR 40 already contains this language and now having it in code will make it easier for non-DNR law enforcement to enforce. This is a huge step forward to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species!

FYI: A recently conducted study determined that visually inspecting and removing aquatic plants and animals was just as effective as pressure washing.

3. NR 40 lists species that are prohibited to possess. This authorizes the DNR to conduct compliance investigations.

4. Authorizes the DNR to promulgate an emergency rule in order to rapidly respond to an invasive species by quickly identifying, classifying, or controlling them. A good example of how this could be implemented is the recent removal of Hydrilla from a Marinette County pond.

5. Authorizes the DNR to designate a noxious weed by rule. This should make plants listed in noxious weed laws more consistent with those listed in NR 40.

6. Allows a person to dispose of plants in a solid waste facility if the plants are classified as invasive species with the DNR. Previously it was illegal to put yard waste in the trash.

SB 123 compliments and expands upon NR 40, Wisconsin's Invasive Species Identification, Classification and Control Rule. NR 40 became effective September 1, 2009.

Plant species listed in NR 40.

Animals, fish, algae, and other species listed in NR 40.

More information.

View NR 40.

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