The Source: Invasive Species vs. Weed Warriors

Oct 30, 2015

They’re smuggled in dark containers and shipped across oceans. They’re transported in pods, carried on the backs of furry animals. They’re microscopic and they travel on the wind. They’re beautiful and they’re brought in intentionally. They’re dangerous and they reproduce rapidly. They’re also delicious.

Official transportation of the Weed Warriors of Dinosaur National Monument.
Credit FuturistNaturalist.com

Today on The Source, we’re talking about invasive species -- familiar plants and animals that are not native to Utah. We’ll learn which invasive fish the state wants you to eat, how to prevent your aquatic vessel from inadvertently transmitting disease, and get tips from a true Weed Warrior on how to combat invasive plants. But first, Ross Chambless learns a valuable lesson about the scourge of northern Utah’s wetlands -- phragmites -- and why you should never feed it after midnight.


Part 1 - Don’t Feed them After Midnight

Invasive species outbreaks often adhere to a common scenario. Sort of like the plot of a real life scary movie playing out in slow motion. When Ross Chambless recently re-watched the movie Gremlins, he couldn’t help but think about phragmites, one of northern Utah’s well known invasive species.

Part 2 - You Wouldn’t Want Allen to Give Quagga Mussels to Ashley

When the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources encouraged people this summer to “practice safe boating” they weren’t talking about wearing your life vest. They meant taking steps to avoid getting an STD: a "Skiff-Transmitted Disease." Jennifer Pemberton talks to the creative minds who came up with one of the Division’s most memorable public service announcements

Part 3 - At Least Some of Them Taste Good

The Colorado River has lots of fish in it, but not all are native, and not all are nice. Krissy Wilson is the Native Aquatic Species Program Coordinator at the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. She oversees a statewide program for native fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mollusks. Ross Chambless spoke with her about the good, the bad and the ugly of the Colorado River’s fish, and what’s being done to protect the natives.

A flowering tamarisk bush along the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument.
Credit NPS.gov

Part 4 - Meet the Weed Warrior of Dinosaur National Monument

When Tamara Naumann started as a park botanist at Dinosaur National Monument she had a budget of $500 to try and get rid of the invasive tamarisk and Russian olive that choked out native vegetation along the river banks on the Green and Yampa Rivers. In order to stretch that $500 she recruited volunteers to become Weed Warriors and successfully beat back the non-native species in the park.

Support for The Source and related news stories comes from iUTAH.