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Legislature Creates Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Council

By January 16, 2012 No Comments

Michigan Creates Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Council

The Michigan state legislature has passed, and Governor Snyder has signed into law, an important suite of late session bills designed to re-vitalize the state’s overall strategy in effectively responding to the onslaught of harmful aquatic invasive plants and animals that continues to occur in the waters of the State of Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes region.

Senate Bill  509, now Public Act 285, sponsored by State Senator Howard Walker, creates a Michigan Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Council within the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The new council will make recommendations to the DEQ on an update to Michigan’s Aquatic Invasive  Species Management Plan. The new advisory council is directed to submit timely recommendations to the governor and legislature on ways to fund the plan’s implementation.  Public Act 285 states that “(Michigan) can effectively address the threat posed by Aquatic Invasive Species by updating and implementing a comprehensive AIS management plan, developing and adopting model programs to  address AIS, and working cooperatively with other Great Lakes states and provinces to ensure a coordinated and consistent response to AIS.”

Senate Bill 510, now Public Act 286, sponsored by State Senator Goeff Hansen, requires the advisory council to recommend rules or legislation that will prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic  invasive species through trade. Public Act 286 mandates that “within 240 days after the effective date of the amendatory act that added this section, the council shall submit a report with recommendations for legislation or rules to prevent the introduction and spread of Aquatic Invasive Species through trade. The council shall submit the report to the governor, the senate majority leader, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the standing committees of the senate and house with primary  responsibility for natural resources, conservation, agriculture, and commerce. In preparing the report, the council shall review the Aquatic Invasive Species laws of this state and other jurisdictions, including the other Great Lakes states.”

Under Senate Bill 508, now Public Act 284, sponsored by State Senator Tom Casperson, the Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Council will develop recommendations regarding Michigan’s comments on the draft federal Vessel General Permit, including a proposed ballast water treatment standard. Public Act 284 states that “the council shall develop recommendations regarding this state’s comments on the draft next vessel general permit and certification response to the draft next vessel general permit under Section 401 of Title IV of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, 33 USC 1341, including a proposed ballast water treatment standard.”

The Michigan Waterfront Alliance and Michigan Lake and Stream Associations wholeheartedly supports this long overdue action by the state legislature and are proud to have served an important role in  encouraging statewide support for this key legislative action focused on developing, funding and implementing a broad and effective framework within which to manage Aquatic Invasive Species in the  waters of the State of Michigan – a critical step in creating a vibrant and prosperous Great Lakes state!