The U.S. mortgage crisis has been a staple of American news budgets since it began last fall and reporters have covered it from almost every conceivable angle. Reuters is the first, to my knowledge, to connect it to environmental science. The newswire carried a very interesting and offbeat story yesterday about mosquito populations that are thriving in the stagnant backyard pools of foreclosed homes in Arizona.

In order to prevent an outbreak of West Nile Virus, “Public health workers in Maricopa County, which includes the cities of the Phoenix valley, are breeding thousands of so-called mosquitofish to gobble up larvae that thrive in the green pools of abandoned homes across the county. The tiny, silvery fish are being offered to residents and municipal authorities across the parched desert county, which has tens of thousands of swimming pools, and one of the highest foreclosure rates in the United States.”

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Curtis Brainard is the editor of The Observatory, CJR's online critique of science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.