Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



February 7, 2022

Senator Needleman Announces Fighting Invasive Species in Connecticut Waters a Key Priority for 2022 Legislative Session

Today, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) announced that one of his foremost priorities in the 2022 legislative session involves battling invasive species in Connecticut waterways, most prominently Hydrilla, an aquatic plant that has caused headaches in state bodies of water since at least 2016. A majority of lakes, rivers and ponds in the state have some form of invasive species, which can not only bring harm to the natural ecosystems of those bodies of water but depress rates of recreation on those bodies of water, negatively impacting local economies.

“When more than half of lakes in Connecticut contain at least one invasive species, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, the time to act is now,” said Sen. Needleman. “Invasive species in our bodies of water have a directly negative impact on our state’s ecosystem, often swallowing up the majority of resources and harming other forms of life in the process. The CAES reported that in 2020, more than 200 acres of the Connecticut River’s lower third was overgrown with hydrilla.”

“But this doesn’t just impact bodies of water – it impacts our daily lives. The rivers and ponds many of us live near become dirty, water turning green and slimy and fresh water smelling awful. Boating, swimming and outdoor recreation become health risks. Businesses relying on tourism traffic, or businesses needing access to bodies of water, suffer and struggle. Invasive species harm quality of life here in Connecticut as a whole, and that’s why it’s never been more important for us to put additional steps in place to fight back against them.”

Sen. Needleman plans to work with his colleagues to provide resources to municipalities battling Hydrilla, which pose an additional risk, according to UConn – fragments of the plant on boat trailers or waterfowl can lead to its spreading in additional locations. Sen. Needleman plans to introduce or co-sponsor legislation that will provide additional funds to towns and cities, giving them more ability to fight the invasive species.

This effort will build upon 2019 legislation that required all state residents with boats to purchase a $5 invasive species stamp, with out-of-state boaters paying $25, with those funds aiding restoration and rehabilitation of lakes, rivers and ponds, eradication of aquatic invasive species, public education and grants to conduct further research.