DBW Begins 2013 Water Hyacinth Control Program in the Delta

Contact:  Gloria Sandoval (916) 651-5692

March 15, 2013

Public Notice

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The California Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) will begin its 2013 Water Hyacinth Control Program in selected areas of the Delta starting March 18 through Nov. 30, 2013.

“Managing the plant will be challenging,” stated DBW’s Acting Director Colonel Christopher C. Conlin, USMC (Ret). “Due to the characteristics of the invasive plant, lack of a heavy frost, continued warm temperatures and a late treatment start, last year’s water hyacinth infestation level was unusual. Since the 2013 control program has been adjusted to accommodate these issues, DBW hopes to realize better results this year.”

There are some Delta sites that DBW will not currently treat at this time in order to protect listed salmon species and delta smelt. Treatment in these areas will begin later in the year after peak spawning and migration times when listed fish are less likely to be present.
Attached is the projected area map for DBW’s 2013 Water Hyacinth Control Program (WHCP). The Delta was divided into four areas. Areas 2-4 will start receiving treatment March 18. Area 1 will not be treated until June 1. (Treatment sites are subject to revision based on governmental requirements, weather conditions, plant growth and movement, waterway traffic and fish presence surveys.)

Sites will be treated using two herbicides: glyphosate or 2,4-D. DBW works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to obtain approval for conducting the WHCP from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). A third approval is also obtained from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The approval process is in place to determine if the use of these herbicides may affect any threatened, endangered or sensitive species, and critical habitats. Effects to humans, agricultural areas or potable water intakes are also reviewed. Extensive water quality sampling is conducted at treatment sites throughout the season to ensure herbicide levels stay within the required limits.

Initial symptoms of glyphosate treatment on water hyacinth do not appear for two weeks or more. Visible treatment symptoms are gradual wilting and yellowing of the plant, advancing to browning of vegetation and eventual decay. It may take two months for herbicide effectiveness to be clearly visible.

In 1982, California state legislation designated DBW as the lead state agency to cooperate with other state, local and federal agencies in controlling water hyacinth in the Delta, its tributaries and the Suisun Marsh. There is no known eradication method for water hyacinth once it has been established. Therefore, DBW conducts a control program as opposed to an eradication program. The program seeks to minimize negative impacts of the invasive plant on navigation, public safety, recreation, agricultural activities and ecosystem services in Delta waterways.

Funding for water hyacinth treatment comes from the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund, which receives revenues from boaters’ registration fees and gasoline taxes.

To report sightings or for more information regarding the control program, please visit DBW’s website at www.dbw.ca.gov or call (888) 326-2822.