Washington, DC –Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), co-chair of the Invasive Species Caucus, offered and passed two amendments to the House Farm bill to help combat these ecological predators.

Rep. Stefanik’s Forest Restoration Amendment would modernize the Competitive forestry, natural resources, and environmental grants program. The changes to the program include adding forest restoration to the existing grant program. Additionally, the amendment realigns the priorities of the program to focus on researching the characteristics and ecosystem-wide impact of these species in addition to allowing grants to be used for supporting the restoration of native forests that have suffered severe levels of mortality caused by these species. This amendment is particularly important in light of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid which has decimated eastern hemlocks along the east coast and pose a threat to the Adirondack Park. This amendment was adopted unanimously by voice vote.

Rep. Stefanik’s Invasive Vegetation Amendment simply includes invasive vegetation to the Designated Treatment Areas program within the Healthy Forests Restoration Act. This inclusion will allow governors to work with the Secretary of Agriculture to further protect national forests that will ensure the long term health and use of our land. This amendment was also adopted unanimously by voice vote.

Click the images above for video of Congresswoman Stefanik speaking on both of these amendments. The House Farm Bill is scheduled for a vote today. 

“Across the country, our forests are changing: Native tree species like hemlock, chestnut, and elm are threatened by invasive species and forest pests, fundamentally altering iconic landscapes from the Adirondacks to the American West. Our fish and wildlife depend on healthy forests—and that means hunters and anglers do, too. Productive forests support a powerful economic engine based on outdoor recreation opportunities and forest products, but air and water quality matter just as much to rural communities. Representative Stefanik’s sensible amendments to the House Farm Bill would ensure that our nation’s forests begin to get the resources they so desperately need, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is proud to offer our support.” –Steve Kline, Director of Government Relations, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership