California State Parks’ Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) has announced its plans for this year’s Aquatic Invasive Plant Control Program in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its southern tributaries. Starting March 1, DBW will begin herbicide treatments to control water hyacinth, South American spongeplant, Uruguay water primrose, Alligator weed, Brazilian waterweed, curlyleaf pondweed, Eurasian watermilfoil, hornwort (aka coontail) and fanwort, as reported by BoatingIndustry.com.
These aquatic invasive plants have no known natural controls in the west coast’s largest estuary, the Delta. They negatively affect the Delta’s ecosystem as they displace native plants. Continued warm temperatures help the plants proliferate at high rates. Plants are also known to form dense mats of vegetation creating safety hazards for boaters, obstructing navigation channels, marinas and irrigation systems. Due to their ability to rapidly spread to new areas, it is likely that the plants will never be eradicated from Delta waters. Therefore, DBW operates a “control” program as opposed to an “eradication” program. The division works with local, state, and federal entities to better understand the plants and implement new integrated control strategies to increase efficacy.