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Invasive plant species are nothing new in Idaho.  Japanese Yew and similar plants have developed a nasty reputation as elk that feed on it quickly die.  Cheatgrass has spread across the high desert and is now a major fuel source for wildfires.  Even by early summer, it’s often so dry if you touch a blade it will dissolve into a powder.  It also displaces sagebrush.

High Country News has a story about a new threat.  Cogongrass is growing near Boise.  You can read the full story by clicking here.  While the patch of grass is small, it has a much bigger root system.  There may be even more places where it’s growing, but many people wouldn’t recognize the species.  A retired botanist just happened to be driving past the infestation.

Here’s a bit of detail on how it got there.  A person driving through the area who had been driving across the deep-south could have been carrying a seed stuck in the undercarriage or the lip of a trunk or hood.  One seed could get loose and blow into a nearby field and take root.  With people relocating to Idaho from across North America, you can imagine the other potential environmental threats.

The challenge right now is to track watercraft for invasive mussels.  Idaho Fish and Game is working to stem the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, which has been found in a handful of deer in the panhandle.

Diseases and plants don’t always recognize state boundaries.  Even the wind could carry some seeds across a state line.  Or a bird.  The future is going to look like one big game similar to Whac-A-Mole.

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