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EDITORIAL: Native seeds could be economic boon while saving Malheur range

Imagine that you removed every building and street in the city of Ontario, and then covered every inch of ground with worthless cheatgrass. Now, do that again and again until you have done that 234 times. That is the scale of what faces Malheur County as this quiet economic killer creeps across our landscape.

Across the county, roughly 1,200 square miles of ground is fouled by cheatgrass, medusahead and other invasive grasses. A recent federal report sounded the alarm that these grasses are spreading far faster than we can contain them. Everyone in Malheur County should share concern about this range ravager.

These grasses aren’t just a nuisance, like dandelions in the backyard. They seriously alter our rangelands. Water quality and quantity degrades. Wildlife fades and disappears. A hike along a beloved ridge becomes a trudge through a listless land. Fires . . .