May 1, 2003

DBW Begins 2003 Water Hyacinth Control Program in Delta

The California Department of Boating and Waterways will begin its 2003 water hyacinth control program in selected areas of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its tributaries on May 7. Treatment will begin in Salt Slough in the San Joaquin River in Merced County and in Lost Slough, Snodgrass Slough and Stonelake Basin in Sacramento County.

DBW first instituted a herbicide control program under legislative mandate in 1983, after thick hyacinth mats clogged farm irrigation pumps and caused navigation hazards, affecting the area's agricultural and recreational industries. Herbicide spraying opened up water channels which had been closed by the hyacinth plant.

The control program is coordinated with county agricultural commissioners and is conducted by personnel from Boating and Waterways, the Federal Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the County of Fresno, and the County of Merced.

Boating and Waterways monitors water quality to ensure that herbicides do not exceed allowable limits, and that the spraying conducted in the Delta has had no adverse impacts on the environment, agriculture, or public health in the area.

Anyone with health-related questions pertaining to the use of herbicides can contact their personal physician or local health services.