Invasive Species

Species Information: A look at how to manage edible invasives

Asian Carp:
These fast-spreading “trash fish” are vicarious eaters and huge competitors against salmon. Net and bow fishing are the best ways to go, in terms of minimizing their population. Renowned chef Phillippe Parola has had huge success in creating dishes with Asian carp where most people have previously considered it useless for eating. Besides catching and eating this fish, preventative measures are also important! Make sure not to move live fish from one location to another and never use wild-caught bait fish in waters where they did not come from.

Ravenous and ever multiplying, these frogs will eat anything they can swallow; from crustaceans and other frogs to birds and bats. Bullfrogs can lay 20,000 eggs at a time, making them a very quick eliminator of some native animals and a huge competitor for others. Bullfrogs are so adaptable because they can eat just about anything, but luckily so can we! Eating frog legs are a delicious method of controlling their population. The easiest time to capture them is at night, because shining a flashlight on them momentarily stuns them. If exotic cuisine isn’t your thing, you can remove egg masses to prevent their spread.

Garlic Mustard:
Able to produce a chemical that fends off predators, garlic mustard takes over an area fairly easily. An easy method of managing this plant is to simply mow or pull them out. However, Dr. John Kallas says that it is one of the most nutritious leafy greens ever to be analyzed. To harvest, dig up the plant roots and all and turn the leaves into a wholesome, healthy pesto sauce.

Himalayan Blackberry:
Blackberries spread quickly and aggressively, turning forests and fields into solid walls of thorns. To prevent their total take-over of your yard or favorite outdoor spot, mow or dig up the plant frequently. Aside from their labyrinthine root system, the Himalayan Blackberry also spreads by seed. Ripe from late summer to early fall, blackberries are eaten by birds, who spread their seeds far and wide. A delicious and easy solution? Eat the berries yourselves!

Japanese Knotweed:
Their perfumed flowers are found by most humans to be nauseating, but bees find it intoxicating and help spread the plant. More commonly, however, it is spread by pieces of their stalks breaking off and floating downstream. This plant, which is impossible for other plants to compete with, can be managed by physical removal. A more savory method is to remove the stalks, especially the young and tender ones, to turn into jam or pie. Their surprisingly sweet stems are often compared to rhubarb or strawberries.

Growing 1-2 feet each day, Kudzu is extremely fast-growing and can take root anywhere it comes into contact with soil. Known as the plant that ate the South, this vine forms a carpet over any landscape, suffocating plants and trees. The first step to combating this plant is to keep vigilant of your outdoor spaces, as seeds can lay dormant for several years before sprouting. Although it seems like a many-headed monster, never fear, kudzu can be dealt with! To manage it, cut and pull vines from the ground in order to find the main tap-root. Kill the tap-root by cutting off it’s crown, a few inches below the lowest growing point. But be careful! If you don’t pull out rooted ground vines as well as killing the tap-root, the ground vine will grow a new tap-root. Another method of control is repeated mowing, which will eventually exhaust the roots.

Originally introduced for their fur, these large rodents lay waste to riparian zones, wreaking havoc on stream banks and eating 25% of their body weight in plants every day. To keep these pests away from your beloved streams and plant beds, set electric wire barriers. To remove them altogether, set live traps using sweet potatoes or carrots.

Wild Boar:
Wild boars root around in the ground, consuming native seeds, damaging plant life and increasing erosion. They are also able to double in population in as little as four months with an adequate food supply. The best method for managing the boars is to hunt them. While this requires a certain amount of skill, it could provide you with mouth-watering dishes such as bacon-wrapped boar tenderloin, featured in IAE’s “They’re Cooked” cookbook.

Wild Turkey:
Wild turkeys were introduced as a game species in the early 1900’s. Their population has gotten out of control since then. Flocks average at about 30 birds, but some can reach to up to 200 individuals! In these large numbers, they damage ecosystems and aggressively compete with native animals for habitat. To manage this foul fowl, celebrate your next Thanksgiving by giving back to the environment and putting one of these turkeys on your table!

Other Resources

Oregon Invasive Species Council
Oregon Invasive Species Council (OISC) exists to keep invasive species out of Oregon and to eliminate, reduce, or lessen the impacts of invasive species already present in Oregon.

Chef Philippe Parola
When it comes to invaders, internationally celebrated Chef Philippe Parola (Baton Rouge, LA) has one motto: “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Eat ‘Em!” Noted for his unusual and exotic cuisine, Chef Parola is not only making nutria less invasive and more desirable as nouveau cuisine, but he is also on a campaign to transport Asian carp to dinner tables around the world.

Eat the Invaders
“Eat the Invaders”- is a website dedicating to ‘fighting invasive species, one bite at a time.” Editor ‘n’ Chief Joe Roman is a conservation biologist, author, and researcher at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont. The author of Whale and Listed: Dispatches from America’s Endangered Species Act., Joe was born and raised in New York. (He counts King Kong as an early conservation influence.) For more information please visit

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

The mission of ODFW is to “… protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations.” They provide information on many of Oregon’s aquatic and terrestrial invaders.

The Nature Conservancy
The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the land and waters on which all life depends. The organization works around the world to protect nature and people, and is active in the fight against invasive species. Learn what you can do, and what The Nature Conservancy is doing to protect native species.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the only agency of the U.S. Government whose primary responsibility is the conservation of the nation’s fish, wildlife, and plants.” They are therefore very concerned about the impact that invasive species have on native flora and fauna.