In a rare instance of bi-partisan cooperation and support, legislation has been introduced in the Michigan Senate that would establish an Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Council within the Department of Environmental Quality.
Introduced by Senator Howard Walker of Traverse City with a substantial number of Republican and Democratic co-sponsors, Senate Bill 509 would amend Public Act 451- Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act of 1994 by adding Part 414 – Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Council.
The legislation recognizes that “aquatic invasive species (AIS) are a threat to public health and safety, the environment and natural resources, and the economy. AIS are a serious threat to the ecological integrity and uses of the Great Lakes.”
The AIS Advisory Council would be tasked with updating Michigan’s AIS Management Plan, developing and adapting model AIS programs as well as collaborating with other Great Lakes states and provinces to “ensure a coordinated and consistent response to aquatic invasive species” within the region.
The AIS Advisory Council would consist of the Directors of the DEQ, DNR, Agriculture and Rural Development, MDOT, the Attorney General as well as several other representatives appointed by the Governor, Senate Majority leader and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The Michigan House and Senate are expected to take further action on the proposed legislation upon their return from summer vacation in early September.