Invasive Species

Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press

Idaho continues to try and keep invasive mussels out of its waterways with a new agreement with Utah.

Idaho has been trying to keep quagga and zebra mussels out of lakes and reservoirs since 2009. The state operates inspection stations along its borders to track down boats that may be contaminated with the invasive species and keep them out of Idaho waters.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

You may see some large patches of blue in the Boise Foothills, starting this week. It’s part of a program stop wildfires in the iconic trail system.

The blue dye is an herbicide that crews will apply to manage non-native grasses and problem weeds. Those are the plants that compete with native species and increase the risk of fire.

Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press

Inspection officials found a live quagga mussel on a boat on the Idaho/Nevada border. It’s the third infested boat found this year trying to enter the state.

The boat was found at the U.S. Highway 93 inspection station. It spent the last three months at Lake Havasu, which is infested with quagga and zebra mussels.

Idaho Department of Agriculture

Idaho officials intercepted a boat Tuesday on U.S. Highway 93 that was carrying a potentially harmful invasive species.

The boat was moored in Lake Mead, Nevada, which is infested with quagga and zebra mussels. When it entered Idaho, the owners were required to stop at one of the state’s 16 inspection stations to ensure none of the invasive species were brought into the state.

But Lloyd Knight, with Idaho’s Department of Agriculture, said that’s not what happened.

Courtesy of Ann Kennedy / USDA

Public lands managers have released an outline for creating a decades-long strategy to combat wildfire-prone invasive weeds considered a main threat to Great Basin sagebrush ecosystems.

The report released Monday by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies says piecemeal efforts must be replaced by landscape-wide strategies stretching across Western states.

Officials say without it there will be declines in sage grouse and other species possibly leading to regulatory actions limiting economic growth.

Curtesy of Ann Kennedy / USDA

Ann Kennedy’s bacterial compound is called ACK55, and it has been shown to cut the amount of cheatgrass in half in just a few years.

The Department of Agriculture soil scientist is getting closer to seeing her discovery registered with the EPA, and is giving state and federal land managers hope in the battle against the invasive weed. Once it gets approved, farmers can begin using it to treat cheatgrass on their land.

Courtesy of Ann Kennedy / USDA

It’s been called “marching grass” and “the scourge of the West,” but most people refer to it as cheatgrass. The honey-colored weed is named for its ability to “cheat” during the winter, getting ahead of crops and native perennial grasses by taking root while the others are still dormant.

Rob Cruickshank / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has set up 3,000 traps in southwest Idaho and budgeted $400,000 to fight a Japanese beetle infestation.

Agency spokesman Lloyd Knight says the department is also treating areas with insecticides to prevent the beetles from multiplying.

The beetles attack more than 300 different ornamental and agricultural plants, as well as flowers and fruit.

The larvae are also destructive, feeding on grass roots and damaging lawns, golf courses and parks.

Japanese beetles started multiplying in the Boise area in 2011.

Vaughn Walton / Oregon State University

A malodorous invasive bug has gone from a worry to a certifiable nuisance for some Northwest farmers and gardeners. The name of this insect is a mouthful: the brown marmorated stink bug.

Researchers say the population really seems to have taken off this year. With the approach of winter, these stink bugs are leaving the fields and may just crawl into your home.

"A little bit like sweaty socks"

Study: Grazing Helps Invasive Cheatgrass To Flourish

May 13, 2013
PNNL - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory / Flickr Creative Commons

A new study out of Oregon State University suggests that overgrazing could be helping an invasive grass to flourish. That differs from previous studies that have found grazing can better manage that plant — cheatgrass — which threatens rangeland habitat.

Logging Leftovers Could Keep Invasive Species Out

Mar 18, 2013
USDA

A new study from the research arm of the Forest Service suggests that leaving behind broken branches and the tips of treetops after logging can help fight invasive species.

Scientists suspected that fir boughs and other logging leftovers could act like gardener’s mulch and protect the soil.

How Cheatgrass Could Soon Be In Your Pint Glass

Sep 28, 2012
TurasPhoto / Flickr

Much of the acreage lost to wildfires in Idaho and the West this year means miles and miles of land opened up to cheatgrass.

For ranchers, this invasive species spreads quickly and requires time and resources to remove.

So what can ranchers do? How about making beer?  Home brewer Tye Morgan explains why cheatgrass is the perfect ingredient for beer.