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Other Past Issues:

Invasive Species

Volume 6 Number 6 November/December 2007

Invasive species invade: therein lies the problem. Floating and submerged plants such as hydrilla, water lettuce, water hyacinth, and giant salvinia form dense mats that literally cover waterways, shutting out light and restricting flow. Giant reed obstructs flood flows, crowds channels, consumes three times the water of native vegetation, and spreads fire. Saltcedar thrives at the expense of native cottonwood and willow in the Southwest, particularly in the many riparian environments that have been affected by human activity. The newest arrival to the area, the quagga mussel, hasn’t taken over yet, but wildlife managers and water providers need only look at the problems this mollusk has caused in the Great Lakes region to know what may await them. With all of these invaders, we’re not likely to be able to get rid of them. The best we can hope for is to manage our ecosystems to keep the populations of newcomers in line with other species.

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