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Controlling Non-Native Species by Eating Them
Today, we know well how a new species can damage an ecosystem, and yet, through simple negligence and deliberate idiocy, humans continue transporting them to new environments. Hence the problem of invasive species, which costs billions of dollars to control and mitigate the harm caused to our ecology and economy. Thus, a quirky idea resurfaces every so often: can’t we just eat some of these problem animals into extinction?

Our human ability to decimate a population of animals by way of hunger is well established (seen any bison or passenger pigeons around lately?) So, the idea goes, can’t we turn that voraciousness on species that are harming our lands and waterways? It’s a romantic idea, and a fantastic one, that we could turn such a character flaw into a benevolent action by simply choosing our targets more carefully. But more importantly, does it work, and should we as a society encourage it?

Several invasive species just aren’t edible, but some are quite tasty.  Non-native plants, like lamb’s quarters, watercress, purslane, and dandelions, can make for tremendous eating.  And several invasive marine animals could become prime dinnertime targets as well. We can eat Chinese mitten crabs, lionfish, and—perhaps top of mind for many in the Upper Midwest—silver carp (often referred to as Asian carp).



 
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$100,000 Grant will Aid in the Fight to Eradicate Eurasian Milfoil - Eurasian milfoil, originally native to parts of Eurasia and North Africa, is now found in waterways across New York, including Black Lake, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The weed’s stems can grow up to 10 feet in length, and its green feathery leaves routinely gum up shorelines, can choke out the habitat of native plants and fish and are blamed by some for ruining overall water quality.


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