State Rep. Gene Reynolds says the Lake Bistineau bill will head back to committee Tuesday when Wildlife and Fisheries agents will be there to help plead the case for its passage.
It did go before committee Monday, Reynolds says, and he talked about the need for the bill.
“I did the best I could,” he said. “I had some good feedback and some not so good feedback. (Some) people were asking why don’t Wildlife and Fisheries just do this from the general fund? Money is really tight.”
Before the 2015 legislative session began, he says they were asking for about $100,000, but in House Bill 228, it is asking for $300,000. Reynolds clarified, saying if passed it would generate up to $300,000, equal to about $95,000 per year.
“It’s an amendment, and that only takes place if the locals build it,” he said. “The up to $300,000 would be the operations of it. This is the only shot we have of passing anything this year.”
The proposed law would dedicate the funds from of the state leases, royalties, bonuses and rights-of-way from activity on Lake Bistineau for weevil production. It would create the Lake Bistineau Management Account in the conservation fund.
Reynolds says he is looking at a public/private partnership to help cover some of these expenses, as the requested amount won’t cover it all.
The bill proposes that mineral resources under Lake Bistineau be used to fund fighting giant salvinia, an aggressive invading aquatic weed that essentially chokes the life out of a body of water.
The bill proposes the construction of a small facility and operated for further research and breeding of weevils and/or endocides as an eradication method against the invasive plant.
Endocide is a process developed by researchers at Stephen F. Austin State University by which the salvinia would produce lethal chemicals that would turn on itself, thereby killing it from root to flower.
If passed, the bill would go into effect July 1 and end on or after July 1, 2017.