Photo of Senator Needleman.

State Senator

Norm Needleman

Representing Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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Senate Gives Final Approval to Invasive Species Legislation

HARTFORD - A bill fighting troublesome invasive species and preserving Connecticut’s lakes, ponds and rivers received final approval in the state Senate today and now heads to the desk of Governor Ned Lamont for his signature into law. State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) voted to approve the legislation.

House Bill 6637, “AN ACT REQUIRING AN INVASIVE SPECIES STAMP FOR THE OPERATION OF A MOTORBOAT ON THE INLAND WATERS OF THE STATE,” charges Connecticut residents $5 and out-of-state residents $25 for a boat stamp that would help fund the removal of invasive plants and animals from Connecticut’s waterways.

The bill passed the House and Senate on overwhelmingly bipartisan votes of 131-10 and 34-2. At its public hearing in March, the bill received support from more than a half-dozen environmental groups and dozens of Connecticut residents, many of them members of lake homeowner associations who have seen the health and beauty of Connecticut’s lakes and ponds degraded over the years by invasive weeds brought in on boat hulls, motors, and fishing gear.

“Supported by numerous environmental groups and boating and lake associations, this legislation will provide much-needed funding to address the growing issue of aquatic invasive species in our ponds, rivers and lakes,” said Sen. Needleman. “Collected funds will be deposited into the Connecticut Lakes, Rivers and Ponds Preservation Fund for programming to eradicate aquatic invasive species, education and public outreach programs, and provide grants to conduct research and education on managing these bodies of water. I am pleased to see it pass the Senate.”

Among the dozens of supporters who spoke on the bill at public hearing was Margot Burns, environmental planner for the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments. The LCRVCG represents towns including Chester, Clinton, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Lyme, Portland and Westbrook.

“Protecting our regional economy of public recreation in regards to boating, fishing, and swimming is dependent on our ability to maintain water quality of the highest standards and healthy wildlife habitats,” said Burns. Funding is necessary to research, survey, plan and execute responses to invasive species in Connecticut waterways, she said.

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