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Saturday, December 10

  1. page Invasive Species edited ... Zebra mussels live in D-shaped shells with stripes that travel down them. Zebra mussels tend t…
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    Zebra mussels live in D-shaped shells with stripes that travel down them. Zebra mussels tend to form colonies in large numbers, especially in areas where there are very few natural predators. They are native to the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea but were brought from those areas by trade to North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, and Sweden. While there, because they have no natural predators due to their being an invasive species, they have caused many problems both ecologically and economically. Ecologically, the zebra mussel has caused a decrease in other kinds of mussels. This is because since they have no natural predator, they to form colonies of many members almost anywhere. Because they have little to fear with regards to predation, they are able to use up resources that other mussels need, causing other organisms to be nearly extinct. However, smallmouth bass and yellow perch seem to be rising in numbers as a result of the zebra mussels’ invasion. Economically, the zebra mussels have posed a very serious problem to fishermen especially in the Great Lakes. It is estimated by the Center for Invasive Species Research at the University of California, Riverside that the annual cost for maintenance due to the negative effects of the zebra mussel is $500 million. This cost is due to zebra mussels making colonies in almost any place. Undersides of bridges and boats can be covered with hundreds of them. In addition, pipes can become effectively clogged due to their colonization. This causes problems for both hydroelectric companies as well as municipal water supplies. The removal of the mussels from pipes is very time-consuming and costly. Because of this, they have been placed as a target in the United States Invasive Species Act.
    Emily Schmitt--Yellow Starthistle
    {220px-Yellow_star_thistle.jpg}
    The yellow star thistle is native to Eurasia that had entered the U.S in the late 1800’s. Yellow star thistle is a gray-green to blue-green plant with a deep, vigorous taproot. It produces bright, thistle like yellow flowers with sharp spines surrounding the base. Yellow star thistle grows to heights varying from 6 inches to 5 feet. The stems of mature plants are rigid, spreading, and typically branching from the base in open areas. Stems and leaves are covered with loose, cottony wool that gives them a whitish appearance. This plant came to the U.S through accidental seed contamination. It is now common in open areas on roadsides, rangeland, wild lands, hay fields, pastures, and waste areas. Recent reports indicate that yellow star thistle infests between 10 and 15 million acres in California. Disturbances created by cultivation, poorly timed mowing, road building and maintenance, or overgrazing favors this rapid colonizer. It forms dense infestations and rapidly depletes soil moisture, thus preventing the establishment of other species. It is also poisonous to horses, causing a nervous disorder called “chewing disease”, which is fatal once symptoms develop. Horses are the only animal known to be affected in this manner.
    Burmese Python-Troy Baltutat
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    7:55 am

Wednesday, December 7

  1. page Why Should I Care? edited ... Each ecosystem has a balance to it. Every organism and creature that naturally belong in a cer…
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    Each ecosystem has a balance to it. Every organism and creature that naturally belong in a certain region plays has a niche and plays a role to help keep that ecosystem alive. Most endangered species become endangered because humans have destroyed their habitats for some sort of land development or from pollution. When this is the case, humans should do all that they can to help endangered animals to survive. If a species dies out in an unnatural and untimely way the balance of the ecosystem will be radically altered because a role is no longer being fulfilled. If this happens, that ecosystem may not be able to provide the resources that we need to survives and it may not be able to provide the necessities that other species need to survive as well.
    - Chris Beaulieu
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    or another.
    -Kristen Walczak
    It is important to understand that animals and plants becoming endangered are critical occurrences in our environment. Every creature is interlinked with every other species in some way. It is true that natural selection and survival of the fittest have exterminated many species in our planets existence, but that does not mean that endangered species today are endangered actually due to humans as a main cause, not "natural" selection. Humans interfere by taking away habitats, over harvesting, over hunting, and many other forms. Humans take advantage of the planet they inhabit, and other creatures pay the price. So it is unjust to say that the current endangered species are dying off solely because of survival of the fittest and natural selection.
    -Steve Machi

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    6:12 pm
  2. page PA Endangered-Threatened Species edited ... This is a rare species found solely in North America's Atlantic Coast streams and rivers of va…
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    This is a rare species found solely in North America's Atlantic Coast streams and rivers of various sizes and moderate current. The dwarf wedge mussel's current range extends from New Hampshire to North Carolina. The dwarf wedge mussel is federally-listed as endangered, and state-listed as endangered, in New Jersey, New york, Pennsylvania, and others.
    This mussel may be found in small creeks to deep rivers in stable habitat with substrates ranging from mixed sand, pebble and gravel, to clay and silty sand. In the southern portion of its range, it is often found buried under logs or root mats in shallow water, where in the northern portion of its range, it may be found in firm substrates of mixed sand, gravel or cobble, or embedded in clay banks in water depths of a few inches to greater than 20 feet. Agricultural run-off has been identified as a significant threat to dwarf wedgemussel populations in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland and North Carolina. In 2001, more than 25 dwarf wedgemussels and hundreds of other mussels (including state-listed species) were killed in the Mill River, Massachusetts, by waste run-off from a small farm. Many states have now regulated shoreline production to help conserve habitats. Other states have relocated various wedge mussel populations to other areas with less or no production. Little riverine habitats adjacent to populations are protected other than by state shoreline protection regulations or local land use regulations. Development of adjacent uplands continues to be a significant and pervasive threat to southern populations.
    Peregrine Falcon- Steve Machi
    {http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100814072007/uncyclopedia/images/c/c0/Peregrine-falcon.jpg}
    Peregrines are mid-sized birds of prey, 15 to 22 inches in length, with a wingspan of more than three feet. Adults have dark-bluish-gray upper parts and wings; undersides are whitish, broken by horizontal blue-gray bars. Young birds up to two years old are dark brown (rather than gray) on their wings and back with vertical brown streaks against a pale chest. Their head has a dark "helmet" pattern that is more pronounced in adults. Like all falcons, the peregrine has long pointed wings and rapid, steady wing beats in flight. An adult peregrine can reach a speed of more than 200 miles per hour in a vertical dive called a stoop; in level flight they average about 60 miles per hour. In Pennsylvania, most peregrines are currently nesting on buildings and bridges. Power plant smokestacks also are used, and native cliff nest sites are being reoccupied. Their catastrophic decline and extirpation has been attributed chiefly to pesticides – particularly DDT. Prior to federal protection, they were subject to egg collecting and shooting, but they withstood these pressures for centuries until DDT became widespread. With population growth following their recovery, new threats are being identified, in part because of the close association with human structures. A frequent cause of mortality, primarily to young, is airplane strikes in which it is believed the bird hits the plane. Reflective glass also kills many peregrines, as it does numerous migratory birds. Peregrine falcons have enjoyed extraordinary management attention, including federal endangered species status (but have since been delisted), active reintroduction, nest-site improvement, protection at urban nest sites, and adjustments to bridge and building maintenance schedules to avoid disturbance at critical times. Conservation includes annual surveys for new nest sites, protection of known nest sites from disturbance, reduction of hazards at nest sites to in-crease survival of young peregrines, and promotion of public support.

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    5:58 pm
  3. page Endangered Plants edited ... Venus Fly Trap by Troy Baltutat {fly-caught-by-venus-flytrap[2].jpg} ... extinct soon. …
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    Venus Fly Trap by Troy Baltutat
    {fly-caught-by-venus-flytrap[2].jpg}
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    extinct soon.
    American Hart's Tongue Fern--Emily Schmitt
    {_dsc4975tongvarenweb.jpg}
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    {FassettsbyUSFWSJoelTrick.jpg}
    Fassett's locoweed is a 4 to 12 inch tall herb that belongs to the pea family. It has a long green stem covered with white furs and at the top it has violet or pink flowers. Each stem can have about 10 to 20 flowers. This plant can only be found in specific regions and counties of Wisconsin and nowhere else in the world. It usually grows around shallow lakes with fluctuating water levels. It finds an easy way to feed of the water by rooting itself in gentle, sand-gravel shorelines that surround the boy of water. Fassett's locoweed is endangered due to loss of habitat and degradation. Recreational use of lakes and construction of housing developments have cause a great disturbance and destruction of the plant's habitat. Cattle grazing has also cause the plant's population to decrease. In 1991, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service devised a plan that outlines actions to help this plant to recover. Some of these actions include protecting areas that have Fassett's locoweed and informing landowners who may potentially have the locoweed on their property. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has also taken action by creating tow State Natural Areas where Fasset's Locoweed grows amongst other plants native to Wisconsin.
    Prairie bush clover- steve machi
    {http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/img_coll/plants/pb-clover.jpg} Photo of a flowering prairie bush clover. Photo by USFWS; Phil Delphey
    Prairie bush clover, Lespedeza leptostachya, is a threatened prairie plant found only in the tall grass prairie region of four Midwestern states.Prairie bush clover is a member of the pea family. Also known as slender-leaved bush clover, it has a clover-like leaf comprised of three leaflets about an inch long and a quarter inch wide. Flowering plants are generally between nine and eighteen inches tall with the flowers loosely arranged on an open spike. The endangerment of the Prairie bush clover would be detrimental to our modern day life due to the fact that Alkaloids from wild plants are used as the active agents in anesthetics, insecticides, anticancer drugs and muscle relaxants. Loss of prairie bush clover would eliminate forever the opportunity for future biological research and the potential for such medical and agricultural benefits. The pale pink or cream colored flowers bloom in mid-July. The entire plant has a grayish-silver sheen, making it easy to distinguish from other similar species. Some of the surviving populations are threatened by conversion of pasture to cropland, overgrazing, agricultural expansion, herbicide application, urban expansion, rock quarrying, and transportation right-of-way maintenance and rerouting; hybridization with the more common round-headed bush clover has also been identified as a potential threat in some areas. Approximately 40 percent of the known prairie bush clover sites are protected as dedicated state nature preserves, scientific and natural areas and preserves managed by private conservation organizations such as The Nature Conservancy. At the beginning of the 19th century, native prairie covered almost all of Illinois and Iowa, a third of Minnesota and six percent of Wisconsin. Prairie with moderately damp to dry soils favored by prairie bush clover was also prime cropland; today only scattered remnants of prairie can be found in the four states. Many of today's prairie bush clover populations occur in sites that escaped the plow because they were too steep or rocky.

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    5:35 pm
  4. page Endangered Animals edited ... {thumbnail.jpg} htmldiff10The Thorny Devil Lizard is native to most parts of Australia. Also…
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    {thumbnail.jpg}
    htmldiff10The Thorny Devil Lizard is native to most parts of Australia. Also known as the Mountain devil, or Spiked lizard, the Thorny Devil has a body covered in spikes which have a system of tiny grooves or channels which eventually lead right into the corners of its mouth. The Thorny Devil's skin is totally impervious which means it doesn't lose any water through its skin and it doesn't sweat. This lizard is least active during the summer months and winter months, eating very little and usually moving in only small increments or when temperatures are ideal. The Thorny Devil moves sort of like a chameleon and has the some of the same camoflauge abilities. As it moves the Thorny Devil sways side-to-side as if to act like the wind is simply blowing on a few leaves. The Thorny Devil uses its camoflauge patterns to help blend into surrounding objects, but mostly they are used to reflect the overall body temperature of the Thorny Devil. As its body temperature increases so does the brightness of the colors, and as the body temperature decreases the colors turn more dull and dark. This lizard can reach a length of approximately 20cm with females being larger than males, and it can live up to 20 years of age. The Thorny Devil Lizard eats a diet consisting mostly of ants. It uses the relatively same technique as an anteater, in that the lizard uses its tongue to flick up ants into its mouth, and can eat ants at a rate of 45 per minute. The Thorny Devil Lizard eats more than 600 ants in a day, but only during its extremely active months.This lizard also has a brilliant self defense technique. The Thorny Devil has a false head behing its regular one, and when danger approaches, the lizard bends its real head down so the false head looks to be its real head. The reason the Thorny Devil Lizard is threatened is because of habitat destruction and human intervention. Since being added to the Endangered list in the early 90s, conservationists have harvested the young and helped to grow the population.
    Mountain Gorilla- Steve Machi
    {http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a0/Susa_group%2C_mountain_gorilla.jpg/220px-Susa_group%2C_mountain_gorilla.jpg}
    The Mountain Gorilla, Gorilla beringei, is a subspecies to the Eastern Gorilla. The Mounain Gorilla is found only in two regions of the world. One is the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa. This includes parts of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The other region is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. As of the spring of 2010, there is believed to be only about 790 Mountain Gorillas left in existence. There are some characteristics that make the Mountain Gorilla unique. The fur of the Mountain Gorilla is thicker an longer than that of other gorillas. This enables them to love in colder temps. The Mountain Gorilla is the largest of all gorillas. Efforts to aid recovery lay entirely on humans. Poachers are the most threatening factor to these gorillas survival. If pouching is not controlled, it is believed that these magnificent creatures will become completely wiped out of existence within the next 20-30 years due to poaching.

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    5:23 pm
  5. page Invasive Species edited ... {European-Starling.jpg} The European Starling is small bird no bigger than 10 inches long an…
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    {European-Starling.jpg}
    The European Starling is small bird no bigger than 10 inches long and weighs around 3 ounces. In the summer, adult starlings are grey or brown with black speckles on their glossy looking wings. During the winter they're feathers look less glossy and more ruffled and they develop white spots on their wings. They have a short tail and are general stocky with a hump back. Starlings are now one of the most common songbirds present in North America. Starlings are known for their habit to travel in large flocks and for their occasional over-aggressiveness. The Starling was first introduced in New York in 1890 by an individual who felt the need to provide America with every bird ever mentioned in one of Shakespeare's works. Since then the population started to grow and spread across the whole Continent. The European Starling was soon spotted in Nebraska in 1930 and in California in 1942. It is estimated that current starling population in America is somewhere around 140 million. Starlings will nest almost anywhere there is a hole or small cavity and that makes them very versatile to live almost everywhere. Females lay around 3-8 eggs at time and the young leave the nest usually around 20 days after their hatching. Starlings are a pest economically because they often eat food provided for agricultural livestock and they damage cultivated fruits and vegetables. They are also a hazard to look out for near airports because they nest near airports can be sucked into jet engines. They also believed to further the spread of harmful diseases. Starlings also compete with many other birds for nesting ares. Where nest cavities were limited, starlings had severe impacts on local populations of native cavity-nesting species. They have caused several other species of birds to find new habitats because they were forced out due to the lack of nesting areas.
    Africanized Honeybee- Steve Machi
    {http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a1/Africanizedbee.jpg/300px-Africanizedbee.jpg}
    The Africanized Honeybee, Apis mellifera, is a hybrid of one of several European Honeybee species. This hybrid honeybee is almost indistinguishable between the common honeybee. One main difference between the Africanized honeybee and the common honey bee is that the Africanized bee will nest closer to, or under the ground. AHB are extremely territorial and aggressive as compared to their common counterparts. If their nest is threatened, they will swarm the threat to the nest with hundreds of bees repetitively stinging the intruder or passerby. A person walking within 50 feet of a nest can trigger an attack. A machine 100 feet away can also trigger an attack. The AHB will chase a victim up to a half mile. They cause major problems for any creature located near their nest. An economic impact is that it is very difficult to collect t honey from their nests. They were brought to the U.S. to increase honey production but now cause more trouble than benefit and therefore hurt the honey industry.

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    5:14 pm

Tuesday, December 6

  1. page Invasive Species edited ... The Stink bug is native to Asia, and it is currently causing nationwide economic damage. The b…
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    The Stink bug is native to Asia, and it is currently causing nationwide economic damage. The brown marmorated stink bug was accidentally brought to America in the late 90's- the exact reason for its introduction is not known, however; it is believed that it 'caught a ride' in some shipping crates. Althought the first documented stink bug was caught in Allentown, Pa, it quickly spread thoughout the eastern states and it is now documented in 34 states total. The adult stink bug is approximately 1.7 centimetres (0.67 in) long and just about as wide, forming the "shield" shape characteristic of other stink bugs. They are various shades of brown on both the top and undersides, with gray, off-white, black, copper, and blueish markings. The stink glands are located on the underside of the thorax, between the first and second pair of legs, and on the dorsal surface of the abdomen. Stink bugs do not survive in cold temperatures, so they enter and other structures in the late summer- typically September. They live in these structures until June, when their natural food supply is available again. In the wild it eats a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and other host plants including peaches, apples, green beans, soybeans, cherry, raspberries, and pears. Because they will eat almost anything, they are causing nationwide economic damage to crops. It was estimated that in 2010 they caused $37 million of damage just to apple crops alone. This results in food shortages of certain crops, and farmers are losing a great deal of money (without crops they don't have an income). The ecological impact of stink bugs is also bad. They are not just destroying farms, but also endangered species of plants. They are basically destroying all types of plants, and there is no known predator of them. In Asia, they do have one predator, but this insect is not present in America. A certain species of wasp may be able to kill the stinkbug, so researchers are looking into that.
    Giant Reed-Hannah Wilhelm
    {phragmi.jpg} {220px-Arundo_donax_3.jpg}
    The Giant Reed is a tall (can grow up to 20 ft. high) perennial grass with foot long leaves. In the summer months, the Giant Reed blooms flowers with silky long hairs. It was originally found in India/ southern Asia but is now located in almost all U.S. states, most abundant in the coastal states. In order to grow, all this species needs is semi-drained soil where moisture can always be present. Because of these characteristics, the Giant Reed can grow in a variety of soil, including soil with high levels of salinity. It was planted in Florida, California, and the Carolinas for erosion control. Unknowingly, the plant spread like wildfire and began using all resources and leaving none for native plant species. It was also planted in wastewater treatment facilities as a filter plant. A lot of places have stopped using this filter plant because it reproduces very quickly. This species grows clumped together, forming a wall-like structure with a thick, impenetrable root system. Because of this growth, animal species, especially birds and amphibians, cannot form nests/habitats along the marshes anymore. Economically, the species uses up a lot of water, about 52,600 feet-acres of water a year in the Santa Ana River Basin. This amount is enough to serve a population of about 130,000 people a year; instead, the water being taken away costs the Santa Ana River Basin population of humans about $12 million in transportation of water from other areas. Some methods, such as cutting, burning, and using pesticides have been used to help decrease the size and spread of the species, but these actions will not eliminate the species completely since they are only completed in moderation.
    European Starling - Chris Beaulieu
    {European-Starling.jpg}
    The European Starling is small bird no bigger than 10 inches long and weighs around 3 ounces. In the summer, adult starlings are grey or brown with black speckles on their glossy looking wings. During the winter they're feathers look less glossy and more ruffled and they develop white spots on their wings. They have a short tail and are general stocky with a hump back. Starlings are now one of the most common songbirds present in North America. Starlings are known for their habit to travel in large flocks and for their occasional over-aggressiveness. The Starling was first introduced in New York in 1890 by an individual who felt the need to provide America with every bird ever mentioned in one of Shakespeare's works. Since then the population started to grow and spread across the whole Continent. The European Starling was soon spotted in Nebraska in 1930 and in California in 1942. It is estimated that current starling population in America is somewhere around 140 million. Starlings will nest almost anywhere there is a hole or small cavity and that makes them very versatile to live almost everywhere. Females lay around 3-8 eggs at time and the young leave the nest usually around 20 days after their hatching. Starlings are a pest economically because they often eat food provided for agricultural livestock and they damage cultivated fruits and vegetables. They are also a hazard to look out for near airports because they nest near airports can be sucked into jet engines. They also believed to further the spread of harmful diseases. Starlings also compete with many other birds for nesting ares. Where nest cavities were limited, starlings had severe impacts on local populations of native cavity-nesting species. They have caused several other species of birds to find new habitats because they were forced out due to the lack of nesting areas.

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    8:11 am
  2. page Invasive Species edited ... {phragmi.jpg} {220px-Arundo_donax_3.jpg} The Giant Reed is a tall (can grow up to 20 ft. hi…
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    {phragmi.jpg} {220px-Arundo_donax_3.jpg}
    The Giant Reed is a tall (can grow up to 20 ft. high) perennial grass with foot long leaves. In the summer months, the Giant Reed blooms flowers with silky long hairs. It was originally found in India/ southern Asia but is now located in almost all U.S. states, most abundant in the coastal states. In order to grow, all this species needs is semi-drained soil where moisture can always be present. Because of these characteristics, the Giant Reed can grow in a variety of soil, including soil with high levels of salinity. It was planted in Florida, California, and the Carolinas for erosion control. Unknowingly, the plant spread like wildfire and began using all resources and leaving none for native plant species. It was also planted in wastewater treatment facilities as a filter plant. A lot of places have stopped using this filter plant because it reproduces very quickly. This species grows clumped together, forming a wall-like structure with a thick, impenetrable root system. Because of this growth, animal species, especially birds and amphibians, cannot form nests/habitats along the marshes anymore. Economically, the species uses up a lot of water, about 52,600 feet-acres of water a year in the Santa Ana River Basin. This amount is enough to serve a population of about 130,000 people a year; instead, the water being taken away costs the Santa Ana River Basin population of humans about $12 million in transportation of water from other areas. Some methods, such as cutting, burning, and using pesticides have been used to help decrease the size and spread of the species, but these actions will not eliminate the species completely since they are only completed in moderation.
    European Starling - Chris Beaulieu
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    7:44 am
  3. page Invasive Species edited ... Giant Reed-Hannah Wilhelm {phragmi.jpg} {220px-Arundo_donax_3.jpg} ... Reed is a tall (…
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    Giant Reed-Hannah Wilhelm
    {phragmi.jpg} {220px-Arundo_donax_3.jpg}
    ...
    Reed is a tall (can grow up to 20 ft. high) perennial grass with foot long leaves. In the summer months, the Giant Reed blooms flowers with silky long hairs. It was originally found in India/ southern Asia but is now located in almost all U.S. states, most abundant in the coastal states. In order to grow, all this species needs is semi-drained soil where moisture can always be present. Because of these characteristics, the Giant Reed can grow in a variety of soil, including soil with high levels of salinity. It was planted in Florida, California, and the Carolinas for erosion control. Unknowingly, the plant spread like wildfire and began using all resources and leaving none for native plant species. It was also planted in wastewater treatment facilities as a filter plant. A lot of places have stopped using this filter plant because it reproduces very quickly. This species grows clumped together, forming a wall-like structure with a thick, impenetrable root system. Because of this growth, animal species, especially birds and amphibians, cannot form nests/habitats along the marshes anymore. Economically, the species uses up a lot of water, about 52,600 feet-acres of water a year in the Santa Ana River Basin. This amount is enough to serve a population of about 130,000 people a year; instead, the water being taken away costs the Santa Ana River Basin population of humans about $12 million in transportation of water from other areas. Some methods, such as cutting, burning, and using pesticides have been used to help decrease the size and spread of the species, but these actions will not eliminate the species completely since they are only completed in moderation.
    (view changes)
    7:41 am

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