invasive species

The battle to eradicate feral hogs

The most popular way to eradicate wild hogs is to shoot them, whether on gaming ranches, in the wild or from the door of a helicopter. But hunting has done little to stem the estimated 6-9 million hogs running wild across at least 42 states and three territories, as Stephen R. Miller writes in FERN's latest story, produced in collaboration with National Geographic.(No paywall)

As the oceans warm, the seafood we eat will have to change

Americans eat only a small number of sea creatures of seafood—namely salmon, shrimp and tilapia. But the world’s warming oceans are shifting undersea ecosystems in a way that will force us to expand our minds and palates, reports Ben Goldfarb in FERN's latest story, published with EatingWell.(No paywall)

How climate change is altering the food America grows

From invasive pests and drought to longer growing seasons and floods, climate change is reshuffling our system of agriculture, reports The New York Times in a piece that summarizes how these new realities are affecting 11 crops. 

California fights an invasive rodent that poses threat to farms

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)

Five ways a new fish bill could hurt marine management

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)

Invasive tick finds foothold in New Jersey

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

Escaped salmon found 40 miles upstream from Puget Sound

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.

Looking for an alternative weedkiller to glyphosate

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.

Weed expert says he cannot support use of dicamba in 2018 in Arkansas

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.

As Asian carp near Great Lakes, Trump threatens program to keep them at bay

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.

eDNA helps scientists track marine species on the cheap

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.

Out West, scientists fight invasive grass with soil bacteria

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.

Invasive grapevine moth eradicated in California wine country

The invasive European grapevine moth, detected in Napa County in 2009, has been eradicated in California, according to state, county and U.S. agricultural officials. The moth, native to southern Europe, spread to nine other counties before a multi-year campaign contained and then exterminated it.

Study: governments don’t know if spraying invasive species hurts public lands

Government agencies in the U.S., Canada and Mexico can't say for sure whether the herbicides they spray on pubic lands to control invasive species are doing more harm than good, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Montana and their Canadian colleagues. The huge amount of herbicides applied by land managers every year—largely glyphosate (the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup)—may in fact prevent native species from germinating.

Scientists: Eat your lionfish before its too late

Invasive lionfish have made it to the Mediterranean, says Scientific American. A report set to be published in the journal Marine Biodiversity Records found that in just one year, lionfish have colonized nearly all of Cyprus’ southeastern coast.

Report: Crop pests from U.S., China could take a bite out of developing-world economies

The U.S. and China, the world’s largest agricultural producers, pose the greatest threat to other countries when it comes to spreading invasive pests and pathogens, according to a new report led by an international team and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The developing world, and sub-Saharan Africa specifically, is the most vulnerable to the economic damage such species can inflict.

It’s parasitoid vs invasive species in bio-battle over California citrus groves

Entomologists from UC-Riverside and the California Agriculture Department "have launched a classical biological control program to reduce ACPs [Asian citrus psyllids] in the state's urban areas," says the UC Food Observer. The tiny psyllid help spread the devastating citrus greening disease, which results in bitter, misshapen fruit and eventually kills infected trees.

Palmer amaranth develops resistance to another type of weedkiller

One of the greatest threats to cotton and soybean producers is Palmer amaranth, an invasive and aggressively growing weed. The weed has developed resistance to the widely used weedkiller glyphosate and now Palmer amaranth populations in Arkansas are resistant to a class of herbicides known as PPO inhibitors, compounding the challenge of weed control, says a University of Illinois researcher.

Snakehead, the former ‘Frankenfish,’ becomes Potomac game fish

The aptly named snakehead, a fish native to China, was already starring in horror films when it was discovered in the Potomac River in 2004, says Bay Journal. Now the snakehead is firmly established in more than 60 miles of the river, but "their fearsome reputation has softened some, at least among recreational anglers who've found they're fun to catch and not bad-tasting either.

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