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Putting Invasive Weeds to Work
Over the past century or so, Eurasian watermilfoil—an invasive aquatic plant thought to have originally hitchhiked to our shores on vessels bound from Europe—has choked out native species in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs throughout the United States. (Only Hawaii and Wyoming remain untouched.)

The nasty interloper, which grows in dense mats, has given rise to a cottage industry of companies devoted to its removal. Most of the harvested plant debris gets tossed into landfills, but in New York’s Adirondack region, Aquatic Invasive Management (AIM) has found another disposal option, thanks to Ian Ater and Lucas Christenson, the 30-something founders of Fledging Crow Vegetables in Keeseville, New York.

The farmers contacted AIM and arranged to have tons of the free plant waste dumped on their farm. Ater and Christenson mixed the milfoil with compost and applied it to a quarter-acre test plot of bush beans. “The results blew us away,” says Ater, who believes the plant’s high silica content may have something to do with it. “We saw a difference in everything, from the size of the plants to the speed of growth to overall vigor.”


 
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Aquatic Invasive Species Funding in Minnesota is Blanketed in Controversy - The Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, charged with allocating money from the state's Legacy Fund for conservation projects, angered members of the Minnesota Coalition of Lake Associations when it replaced the group's proposal with one of its own.


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