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State Starts Early Fight Against Water Hyacinth

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STOCKTON-

The state is taking early precautions against water hyacinth, which choked much of the San Joaquin Delta and even restricted commercial shipping in the Port of Stockton.

Just this week the Department of Boating and Waterways secured their permits to start spraying herbicide on the invasive plant three weeks earlier than usual.

All fisherman Arturo Acosta needs is sun, water and fishing line. Just as long as the Delta water is clear.

“Then they (hyacinth) tangled our line, lost sinkers; we can’t fish,” Acosta told FOX40 on Thursday.

What the long-time Stockton resident is referring to is water hyacinth. In late 2014, the Port of Stockton restricted shipping times because the large mats of vegetation congested waterways.

It prompted action from the Department of Boating and Waterways.

“So that we can begin to control the weed as much as possible and try to avoid any situations like what happened last year,” Vicky Waters, a Spokeswoman with the Department of Boating and Waterways said.

DBW has began spraying herbicide around the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta, three weeks earlier than usual, including Burns Cutoff and Village West Marina in Stockton.

“That’s a relief to us. We’re out watching, looking for areas that are kind of the nurseries to see where the stuff is sprouting up first,” Jeff Wingfield, with the Port of Stockton, said.

NASA has even stepped in, monitoring where the nurseries pop-up so the department can kill off the plant before it starts to reproduce.

“But we do feel better prepared this year to mitigate it again with the earlier start of of the herbicide treatment,” Waters explained.

The treatment may help curb the growth, but with warmer temperatures and lower water levels, killing off the invasive plant completely may not be fully realized.

“I don’t think you’ll ever see it eradicated but we need to control it,” Wingfield said.

For fisherman like Acosta, any efforts to control the growth is welcome. So long as he can hook, line and sinker.

“Have a chance to catch a big one but you didn’t see any big one yet,” Acosta told us.

We also saw boats physically remove the hyacinth. The Department of Boating and Waterways said they will continue to couple physical removal with herbicide treatment to combat the growth.