Rep. Gosar Leads Multiple Appropriations Requests to Combat Invasive Species

Apr 1, 2016 Issues: Natural Resources

For Immediate Release

Date: April 1, 2016

Contact: Steven D. Smith


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after submitting multiple appropriations language and program requests to the House Appropriations Committee aimed at combating invasive species, especially in western states like Arizona:

“The economic livelihood of countless rural communities throughout western states depends on the proper management of wildlife and invasive species. Arizona has some significant challenges when it comes to burros, tamarisk and quagga mussels. It is absolutely critical that there is coordination between federal, state and local stakeholders as well as the necessary resources in order to meet these unique challenges. It is up to the House of Representatives to ensure western priorities are addressed and I’m proud to lead these efforts for Arizona’s communities.”


The full text of Congressman’s language and program requests can be read by clicking on the titles below:

Combating Invasive Tamarisk Plants
Tamarisk, an invasive species, continues to harm and occupy hundreds of thousands of acres throughout the country. Tamarisk squanders precious water resources, limits recreational opportunities, degrades wildlife habitats and negatively impacts flood as well as wildfire mitigation efforts. These invasive plants can consume up to 200 gallons of water per day per plant. Invasive tamarisk continues to plague local communities already suffering from drought and abnormally dry conditions.

While the National Invasive Species Council estimates that more than $2.2 billion is spent by the federal government each year combating invasive species, the current federal system is largely a hodgepodge of different grant programs, regulations and laws administered by multiple agencies that aren’t effectively coordinating their efforts. This bipartisan appropriations request establishes a pilot program that provides funding for combating tamarisk and ensures coordination amongst the various federal agencies, as well as consultation with state and local officials, Indian tribes, and other organizations dedicated to controlling and eradicating tamarisk.

Combating Invasive Mussels in the Colorado River
The Colorado River is the main water source for millions of residents and visitors across the southwestern United States. However, contaminants in the river system cause an estimated $750 million per year in damages to household, commercial and agricultural users. Invasive quagga mussels present one of the most difficult mitigation challenges river managers face. The Bureau of Reclamation called attention to this serious problem in this year’s budget request stating, “Quagga mussel is a rapidly reproducing invasive species that has infested the Colorado River System and is greatly impacting the system’s operations and management.”

This bipartisan appropriations request submitted by eight members of Congress supports the Colorado River Water Quality Improvement program. Congressman Gosar has worked with the Bureau of Reclamation and other stakeholders to make combating invasive quagga and zebra mussels along the Colorado River a top priority for fiscal year 2017. This program is responsible for studying and compiling data on various quality issues including mussels. This data is integral to developing effective mitigation plans.

 Supporting State-Federal Partnerships to Control Burro Overpopulation in Arizona
Burro populations in Arizona have soared to more than nine times the appropriate management level (AML).  Even more troubling, wild burros are creating significant threats to public safety. For example, in a three year period in Bullhead City, there have been 32 accidents involving burros and vehicles. In the Phoenix area during that same time frame, there have been 121 burro incidents and the BLM documented 55 burros that were killed on roadways. Burros are also negatively impacting other wildlife and natural resources.

This appropriations request encourages federal agencies to partner with states impacted by the overpopulation of wild burros to create a more effective management approach that allows for compliance with the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (Act). In Arizona, local stakeholders have already joined together to form the Arizona Partnership. This thoughtful proposal allows for gathering, holding, marketing, adoptions and incremental approaches. Given the track record and failure of the federal government to manage these populations, it is clear that states should be utilized as partners to assist with managing this invasive species.