Cheatgrass. Invasive mussels. A brown tree snake. They are "exotic," they are "weedy," and they are just a few of the invading culprits the USDA hopes to subdue with grants amounting to $4.4 million to fourteen U.S. universities.
Weeds do, in fact bring want. According to the USDA, more than 50,000 weedy species have been introduced to the U.S. where they rack up more than $100 billion in crop damage every year. So you may be surprised to learn–I was– that not all of the funds were awarded for biological controls. One of the larger grants went to Colorado State University for the development of risk assessment and decision evaluation tools to optimize strategies for managing Drooping Brome. Ranchers and farmers call this cheatgrass, and they hate the stuff. Not only is it a very successful weed, but with increasing levels of CO2, cheatgrass is running amok. So CSU will bring out their heavy computer artillery and take an operations management approach to holding off any further advances from this invader.