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Task Force To Control Hyacinth In The Delta


Water hyacinth is clogging Delta waterways in a spurt of uncontrolled growth this year. A task force is looking for solutions to nip the weed in the bud in the spring.

Water hyacinth exploded this year in the Delta spreading a carpet  of green that choked parts of the San Joaquin River, Stockton's Downtown Marina, and even parts of the Calaveras River.

The weed will die off in  winter, but will come back in spring.

San Joaquin County Supervisor Larry Ruhstaller says the problem has been ongoing for more than 50 years.

He says now a task force including  Contra Costa and San Joaquin Counties, NASA, and California Boating and Waterways is starting a five-year study to control the hyacinth.

It's funded in part by $750,000 from the federal government.

"You're never going to eradicate this particular weed. You can control it and part of what we are doing is to get our arms around the entire Delta to see where these weeds tend to originate in the early spring, how they move around."

Ruhstaller says mechanical harvesting and spraying will continue but they're costly.

He hopes some biological control might be found as a permanent solution.