Authority & Funding
Egeria densa (Brazilian Elodea) is a shallow-water submerged aquatic plant from Brazil, popularly used as an aquarium accessory that was introduced into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta about 40 years ago (possibly from use in home aquariums). Egeria densa and other submerged vegetation now infest many thousands of surface acres of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The plant can spread very quickly depending on environmental conditions, often by fragmentation. The Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is the only entity authorized to treat Egeria densa in California with herbicides.Include in your message the address or nearest landmark of the sighting. If possible, take photographs of the plant.
REPORT A SIGHTING:
Members of the public may contact DBW with questions or concerns relating to Egeria densa and treatment of this aquatic invasive species at (888) 326-2822 or e-mail the department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Egeria densa (Brazilian Elodea)?Egeria densa is a shallow-water submerged aquatic plant from Brazil. It is a bushy plant with dense whorls of bright green leaves (except when growing with insufficient light, in which case the leaves are widely spaced). Egeria densa usually has four leaves per whorl (arranged around the stem) and each leaf is at least 2 cm long.
Can Egeria densa be eradicated?There is no known eradication method in the world for Egeria densa. Therefore, DBW operates a "control" program as opposed to an "eradication" program.
What effects does Egeria densa have on waterways?This aquatic invasive plant can negatively impact a waterways ecosystem. It displaces native plants, blocks light needed for photosynthesis, reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water and deposits silt and organic matter several times the normal rate.
Are there any impacts to recreation and commercial activity?The plant has a significant impact on recreation and commercial activity. Dense mats of vegetation create safety hazards for boaters, obstructing navigation channels, marinas and irrigation systems.
How does Egeria densa spread and how fast does it spread?The plant can spread at a rate of approximately 100 acres a year depending on environmental conditions. Egeria densa spreads by fragmentation. For example, cutting the weeds back only exacerbates the problem, as shreds of the plant float away and re-propagates.
How did Egeria densa enter the Delta?Egeria densa is a popular aquarium accessory. It was introduced into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta roughly 40 years ago, possibly from use in home aquariums.
How much of the Delta is infested with Egeria densa?Thousands of acres are infested by Egeria densa in the Delta.
How can someone tell if the herbicide is working properly?A good sign that the herbicide is working effectively is that the growing tips of the plant will turn a pale pink or white.
FACTS ON DBW'S AUTHORITY AND FUNDING
- What is DBW's authority? Harbors and Navigation Code, Article 2, Section 64 provides that DBW is designated as the lead agency of the state for the purpose of cooperating with agencies of the United States and other public agencies in controlling water hyacinth and Egeria densa in the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta, its tributaries, and the Suisun marsh. State funding for controlling water hyacinth and Egeria densa is appropriated in California's annual Budget Act.
- When did DBW begin treating Egeria densa? The Egeria densa program was authorized by law in 1997. Treatment for Egeria densa began in 2001.
- Where does the funding for treatment of Egeria densa come from? Funding for the Egeria densa treatment comes from the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund, which receives revenues from boaters' registration fees and gas taxes.
For treatment, three permits are required to be obtained. These permits place restrictions on where and when DBW can treat the aquatic invasive weed (this varies throughout the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta), establishes the chemical concentrations allowable in treated areas and requires extensive water quality monitoring.
- Two permits are required by the federal Endangered Species Act from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
- A third permit, a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit is required by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.
The Department of Boating and Waterways is working with its federal agency representative, the US Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service, to obtain the required approvals to treat Egeria densa in the Delta in 2013. The National Marine Fisheries Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service, the federal agencies charged with approving the permits, are in the process of reviewing the requests and working closely with the USDA and DBW. The review process is moving forward, and DBW will provide updated information as available.