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The California Department of Boating and Waterways will begin operation of a new, legislatively mandated program to control the non-native aquatic pest, Egeria densa (Brazilian elodea) in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its tributaries.
The non-native aquatic pest grows under the water's surface. Since its introduction 40 years ago, egeria now infests approximately 3,900 surface acres, or eight percent of the 50,000 surface acres of Delta waterways. Egeria hinders navigation, disrupts recreational activities, clogs agricultural irrigation intakes, slows water conveyance, displaces native vegetation and upsets the balance of the aquatic environment.
"The launch of this program will benefit not only boating in the Delta but the aquatic ecosystem as well," said Ray Tsuneyoshi, Department of Boating and Waterways. "This plant is the Darth Vader of aquatic pests."
Boating and Waterways (Cal Boating) prepared an Environmental Impact Report and has obtained permits from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service for the control program.
Cal Boating also consulted with a task force of regulatory agencies, environmental groups and stakeholders in developing the treatment program. The treatment will involve the application to the plants of two herbicides, Reward (diquat) and Sonar (fluridone) that have been approved by federal and state environmental protection agencies for use in aquatic environments.
The primary objective of the proposed program is to improve navigation in currently infested areas of the Delta by reducing the growth and spread of Egeria.