Nutria, invasive and elusive rodents that weigh up to 20 pounds and were once thought to be eradicated from California, have made a comeback and are posing a threat to agriculture, according to FERN's latest story with KQED's The California Report. Lisa Morehouse and Angela Johnston report that a few of the rodents were first spotted last year in Merced, but are spreading. (No paywall)
Republicans claim the House version of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, a.k.a. the fish bill, would strike “a proper balance between the biological needs of fish stocks and the economic needs of fishermen.” Environmentalists disagree. As the fight moves to the Senate, we look at five ways the House bill could damage fisheries management. (No paywall)
Late last year, federal authorities announced the presence of an exotic East Asian tick species on a New Jersey sheep farm. The state’s Department of Agriculture has now confirmed that Haemophysalis longicornis — also known as the longhorned tick — has successfully overwintered and possibly has become established in the state. No paywall
In August, 305,000 farm-raised Atlantic salmon weighing 8 to 10 pounds apiece escaped into Puget Sound when a net collapsed at a floating fish farm near Cyprus Island.
When the Arkansas state officials banned use of the weedkiller dicamba on corn and soybeans for the rest of this growing season, it was the latest roadblock in the search for an alternative to glyphosate, which is losing its effectiveness against some invasive weeds. A little over two years ago, when farm groups told the EPA that growers needed "new technology to address the weed control challenges on U.S. farms now," they meant Dow's combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D, not dicamba.
University of Arkansas weed scientist Jason Norsworthy described the weedkiller dicamba as "a product that is broken," and told a state task force that he could not recommend its use in the state in 2018, said the Arkansas Democrat newspaper. Arkansas leads the nation in reports of damage to crops when dicamba is sprayed on nearby fields.
After a commercial fisherman pulled a live Asian carp out of a northern Illinois river that empties into Lake Michigan, authorities have expressed concern that more of the invasive species have made it past electric barriers meant to keep them out of the Great Lakes, says the LA Times.
Scientists are learning how to interpret “environmental DNA” (eDNA), the DNA that marine species naturally shed in water, which will help them track endangered species, check for invasive plants and manage fisheries.
Backed by the Department of the Interior, scientists are experimenting with soil bacteria to kill off one of the West’s biggest botanical invaders: cheatgrass. After identifying which naturally-occurring soil bacteria are capable of killing cheatgrass in the spring, before it puts out seeds, researchers are conducting tests on plots in Idaho.