From Manteca/Ripon Bulletin – South America nutria rats — orange-toothed rodents that can grow as large as 40 pounds or twice the size of a raccoon — are a growing threat to California’s levees that protect upwards of 7 million people living in floodplains. The invasive species burrow into earthen levees undermining their integrity.

Yet as California faces months of touch-and-go levee watches required to monitor an enormous spring Sierra snowmelt, the U.S. Fish and Wildfire Services is seeking to cut federal money funding of efforts to control the non-native rodent population by 60 percent. (more)