FRESNO — A Central California congressman says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has authorized nearly $17 million in emergency funding to prevent the spread of the European grapevine moth in the agriculture-rich state.

Democratic Rep. Dennis Cardoza of Merced says the $16.9 million will go toward outreach, surveys, quarantine enforcement and grower-led treatment.

The funding was authorized by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill and is part of a $377-million effort to fight crop pests over the next 10 years.

The grape-eating moth has spread to at least nine California counties since it was first discovered in Napa County in 2009. It is considered a serious threat to California's $18 billion wine industry.

Quarantine areas have been established in several counties in an attempt to contain the invasive species.

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