Invasion of the Bay Snatchers 

Local scientists battle aquatic invaders that quash biodiversity and threaten state coffers.

Page 5 of 5

The pair say they think the cordgrass may have been reduced by as much as 150 acres. As they point out bits and pieces of exposed mudflat that wouldn't have been there two years ago, their mood improves further. As efficient an invader as it is, the plant — at least in this browned and rotting neck of the marsh — seems to have run up against an even more effective gardener. "This is one of the most established infestations," Grijalva says. "Hitting it and having it work was great for the psychology of our partners. Everybody who looked at this said, 'How are you going to do this?' Even I thought, 'Shoot, how am I going to do this?' But it works. It really works."

Before they pile back into the truck, Grijalva and Kerr take a quiet, triumphant moment, allowing themselves to feel like they've gotten the upper hand. But both know better. On the drive out, they're already looking at what they'll have to hit next year to prevent a comeback. If this were a bad horror movie, the camera would probably pan out and up to reveal a blackened area amid a vast sea of green — apt foreshadowing for a sequel, and a warning of what to expect if the vigilance of the protagonists ever ceases.


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