$12 Million Federal Dollars Allocated for Nutria Control
There is no doubt that during one of some news organizations annual "here's how the government wastes money" stories this will be included. But what the snarky newsy who creates that cynical look at how our tax dollars are spent will only tell you part of the story. It's true, there are now $12 million dollars officially linked with Louisiana's nutria mitigation program. But that's not where the story stops.
Nutria, a long-time resident of Louisiana's swamps and marshes actually destroys those habitats by eating away at vegetation which holds the marshy wetlands together. When the nutria population gets too large, as it is now, we lose coastal wetlands.
Louisiana wildlife officials estimate the nutria population in the state to be about 20 million. Part of the money allocated by a recent measure signed into law by President Donald Trump will go to fund the state's nutria bounty hunter program. Yep, you can get paid to shoot and kill swamp rats.
Last year only 241 individuals participated in the state's nutria bounty program. We, Louisiana, paid out over $1.1 million in incentive payments for the 223,000 nutria tails that were turned in. Wildlife experts say demand for nutria fur has decreased over the past few years, this is what has led to the population explosion of the species among Louisiana's coastal wetlands.
As you might imagine getting this kind of measure took a lot of talking and explaining by Louisiana's congressional delegation to get law and the money passed and signed. Congressman Garret Graves of Louisiana's 4th Congressional District sponsored the legislation and help guide it to the President's desk where it was eventually signed into law.