SALISBURY, Md. (AP) — Although officials have made great strides in eliminating invasive populations of nutria, more work is being done to eradicate the species in Maryland.

The Salisbury Times reports that over the next few years, federal agriculture officials will search for remaining nutria
populations along the Wicomico River.

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Steve Kendrot of the Wildlife Services Program for the U.S. Department of Agriculture says officials will conduct a complete survey of the watershed. Scientists are hoping that releasing tagged nutria will lead them to larger groups because they are social animals.

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Officials say in the past decades, the semi-aquatic rodent has been removed from five counties thanks to the Maryland Nutria Project. They add that nutria cause about $4 million in damage each year at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.

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