On March 3, 2021

Welch introduces bill to prioritize invasive species prevention

Rep. Peter Welch on Thursday, Feb. 25 reintroduced legislation that would provide federal funding to revitalize forests being destroyed by invasive species and help stem the future infestations of invasive pests.

“Invasive species are devastating to forests which are a central part of Vermont’s economy and our way of life,” said Welch. “This bill will fund efforts to revitalize damaged forests and highlight the need for making this a priority within the federal government.”

“After many years of working with our friends at the Center for Invasive Species Prevention, Vermont FPR, private forestry, academia, and other invasives non-profits, VWA is proud to support the Invasive Species Prevention and Forest Restoration Act (ISPFRA) as an important legislative initiative in the work to restore America’s trees under threat of ecological extinction from invasives,” said Al Robertson, secretary of the Vermont Woodlands Association. “We are indebted to Congressman Welch for his support and perseverance in introducing the bill and his long time support of the work to fight the spread of invasive pests and diseases.”

The new Invasive Species Prevention and Forest Restoration Act recognizes the national threat posed by invasive species by funding new federal studies to address the problem.

More than 200 tree species growing on nearly two-thirds of forestland in the continental U.S. will be threatened by non-native insects and pathogens over the next decade. The most prominent trees threatened with extinction include American chestnut, elm, and ash. Vermont’s ash trees in particular are threatened by the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle first discovered in Vermont in 2018 that is taking a heavy toll on local forests.

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