Sen. Roraback’s Legislation To Ban Harmful Invasive Aquatic Plants Passes Senate

May 20, 2003

Senator Andrew Roraback (R-30) today secured Senate passage of a bill he first proposed three years ago to ban the purchase and sale of harmful invasive aquatic plants and to create an Invasive Plants Council to educate state residents about the problems associated with invasive aquatic and land-based plants.

“I have to thank Tom McGowan of the Lake Waramaug Task Force for bringing this idea to me three years ago. Invasive plants are choking our lakes and ponds, and this bill will go a long way toward avoiding future degradation,” said Senator Roraback.

“Establishing this council of experts is the first step toward protecting the state’s environment from plants that may appear harmless and even attractive, but when left unchecked can cause a great deal of harm by overrunning native and beneficial plant species,” he added.

The legislation is now awaiting further action by the House of Representatives,

Specifically, the bill calls for appointing several plant experts to the Invasive Plants Council that, in addition to educating the general public, merchants and consumers about the problems associated with invasive plants, would recommend ways to control and abate the spread of these plants, as well as work with state agencies researching invasive plants and developing new, beneficial, varieties of plants. Furthermore, the council may recommend that the legislature act to ban the purchase and sale of specific invasive plants in the state. And, the bill lists several aquatic invasive plants that can no longer be sold, purchased, distributed, cultivated or possessed in Connecticut. It also prohibits the state from using invasive plants for its own landscaping needs.

“We are a state of gardeners, and the experts appointed to the Invasive Plants Council will be very careful about designating plants as invasive. That is why educating the public about the dangers of these harmful plants is so important. Under this legislation, plants designated as invasive must meet very specific criteria, such as not being indigenous to the state, having the biological potential for widespread dispersion, and is able to out-compete other species in the natural plant community. Before adding a plant to the invasive plants list, the council may hold a public hearing. When a plant is designated as invasive, the council may recommend ways to discourage their sale and suggest alternative plants that state residents could grow instead,” said Senator Roraback.