Everyone knows farmers grow crops like corn, wheat, and potatoes, but how about bulrushes and cattails? Well, believe it or not, the U.S. Geological Survey is growing such plants, typically found only in swamps, on Twichell Island, California in an effort to keep it from sinking into the ocean. Twichell Island, like several others nearby, is largely below sea level, but as bulrushes and cattails mature and die, they help to build up the soil and also soak up carbon dioxide in the process. In one demonstration project, the soil under a 15 acre site has risen almost 2 feet in just 12 years. With power plants in California looking for ways to offset their carbon emissions, time will tell whether farmers can make hay on this potentially new bumper eco-crop.

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