How did the problem get to this point?
A variety of factors have contributed the rise of Water Hyacinth. Changes in the permit requirements, protected species, and personnel issues have slowed the approval process relative to what it was in the past. Warmer temperatures exacerbated the problem by making the plant grow faster for a longer period of time. It is my understanding that the state of California is now on track to obtain a new 5-year spray on time this year.
How is this affecting the Delta?
Boaters and business owners in the Delta have been very upset about the explosion of water hyacinth. Marina owners were having to battle the weed on a nearly daily basis to keep water channels open for their clients. Some have used their own money to hire crews and take other drastic actions to remove the weed. The impacts on the local economy and recreational opportunities have been substantial.
As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and Chair of the Senate Invasive Species Subcommittee, I will continue to make sure that the state and federal agencies work together to ensure that the spray permits are issued in a timely manner. We also need to monitor how environmental changes such as warmer water temperatures and altered water flows affect the growth of the water hyacinth. Finally, I urge the California Department of Boating and Waterways to work with the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service to coming up with a biological control option, through a program formerly housed at the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
On March 15th the California Department of Boating and Waterways announced that they have received the permits to start the spraying program for 2013. The press release can be viewed here. Below you will find maps of the treatment sites.
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