Boaters urged to demand state ‘act with urgency’ to solve water hyacinth infestation crisis in Delta

SACRAMENTO (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — Recreational Boaters of California says state agencies should be taking emergency action to address the infestation of invasive water hyacinth that is blocking waterways in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta with devastating impacts on boating recreation as well as marine-related businesses.

In a “Call to Action” release RBOC urged boaters to immediately contact their elected representatives urging them to press state agencies, including the Natural Resources Agency, “to act with urgency and with dedication and a commitment” to resolve the water hyacinth infestation disaster in the Delta.

“We are hearing many excuses on why water hyacinth has taken control of the Delta, from the drought increasing water temperatures, to delayed permit approvals for critical spraying, to fast-approaching deadlines for spraying to be completed. The Delta boating community needs to hear that the state is acting with urgency and with dedication and that the state is committed to resolve this disaster as soon as possible.

“RBOC is engaged with other stakeholders and organizations, as well as elected officials at all levels of government, in an effort to develop a short-term resolution as well as to establish a structure to prevent this situation from occurring in the future,” Karen Rhyne, president of RBOC, said in the Nov. 17 release.

RBOC said that the infestation this year is the worst in memory, with boats unable to leave their slips, waterways completely blocked and marina businesses brought to a standstill. The Delta ecosystem is placed at risk with native wildlife starved of oxygen. Water usage, especially for agriculture, can be diminished with clogged water infrastructure.

State Sen. Cathleen Galgiani is working with other Delta legislators to schedule a panel discussion on Dec.15 to identify actions that can be taken to address the water hyacinth infestation, RBOC said.

RBOC, a nonprofit advocacy organization that works to protect and enhance the interests of the state’s recreational boaters, said that it has consistently advocated for sufficient boater funds to be dedicated by the state to timely efforts to prevent the spread of this water hyacinth and other invasive species. The Division of Boating and Waterways within State Parks has a leadership role, and is authorized to spend boater-generated taxes and fees for this program, RBOC said.

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