Western weed summit takes aim at invasive plants

Posted at 9:01 AM, Nov 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-20 11:01:26-05

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Experts say finding a way to stop fire-prone cheatgrass and other invasive species is unavoidable if sagebrush ecosystems in the West are to remain viable for native plants and animals.

More than 200 federal and state land managers and scientists trying to figure out how to do that took part in the three-day 2015 Western Invasive Weed Summit that wrapped up Thursday in Boise.

Interior Department Assistant Secretary Janice Schneider says a key to any success will be state and federal agencies as well as other entities finding ways to work collaboratively.

The sagebrush steppe supports some 350 species, including sage grouse.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in September opted not to list the bird as needing federal protections.

The agency will revisit that decision in five years.