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International Spartina Conference March 20-21

PULLMAN, Wash. — The management of Spartina, an invasive aquatic weed threatening parts of the west coast of the United States and Canada, will be the focus of the Second International Spartina Conference, scheduled March 20-21 at the West Coast Tyee Hotel at Tumwater.

Speakers from the United States, Canada and New Zealand will talk about how to improve conservation-based management of estuaries clogged by the weed, which also is known as cordgrass.

One species of Spartina, introduced to Willapa Bay by accident in 1894, threatens to cover more than 30,000 acres by 2005, according to the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

The weed crowds out existing plants, degrades wildlife habitat and destroys commercial oyster, clam, crab, salmon, sole and ling cod yields in the intertidal zone of Willapa Bay on the Washington coast.

The conference is sponsored by Washington State University Cooperative Extension, Washington Sea Grant, the Willapa Alliance Coastal Resources Science Center, the Washington Department of Agriculture and the Olympic Natural Resources Center of the University of Washington.

The public is invited. Registration is $140 per person at the door. An optional field trip to look at the Spartina infestation in Willapa Bay on Saturday, March 22, is $16.

Contact Steve Harbell, WSU Pacific County Cooperative Extension, at (360) 875-9331 for further information.

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