SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), Chair of the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee, introduced AJR 8 to request federal assistance in removing invasive nutria from California’s wetlands and waterways.
Nutria are invasive aquatic water rodents that have recently been reintroduced to California’s waterways. A twenty pound nutria can destroy up to fifty pounds of wetland or agricultural vegetation every day. Beyond destroying fragile marshland, nutria habitually burrow into levees and river banks, creating dens that can tunnel up to fifty meters into a levee.
“The nutria are a threat we cannot afford to ignore. Not only are they destroying some of the last wetlands in the state, but their burrowing can cause a levee to fail,” explained Assemblymember Quirk, “We’ve had quite a wet winter, and the potential for flooding this year is high. It would be a tragedy if a Delta levee broke because of nutria. We need to take action now before disaster strikes.”
AJR 8 requests that the federal government bring its existing nutria control program to California, and allocate new funding to eradicate nutria from the state. Between 2003 and 2016 the federal government successfully coordinated federal, state, and local nutria control efforts in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Since 2016 no nutria has been detected in the Chesapeake.
“The case in Maryland has shown that working together we can get a handle on this problem. With AJR 8 we begin the process of bringing these resources and knowledge to California. Together we can protect our fragile Delta,” he concluded.
AJR 8 has not been referred to committee.