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Sally Jewell

Scientists try bacteria to halt invasive cheatgrass overwhelming the West

Scientists try bacteria to halt invasive cheatgrass overwhelming the West

It sounds like science fiction: An unstoppable invader is taking over the West, and the best hope to stop its relentless advance is a small team of anonymous scientists.

But that's what is happening in southwest Idaho, where experiments are underway to determine whether soil bacteria can halt the century-long assault of nonnative cheatgrass, which sends out roots that cheat other plants of water in the spring.

"We hope that we can identify the effectiveness of the bacteria on annual grasses and to identify non-target risk effects," said Matt Germino, a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey running the experiments at three sites of about an acre...

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