Invasive species, also known as exotics, are plants, animals, insects, and aquatic species introduced into non-native habitats. Without natural predators or threats, these introduced species then multiply.
Often,invasive species travel to non-native areas by ship, either in ballast water released into harbors or attached to the sides of boats. From there, introduced species can then spread and significantly alter ecosystems and the natural food chain as they go. Another example of non-native species introduction is the dumping of aquarium fish into waterways.
Invasive species also put water conveyance systems at risk. Water pumps and other infrastructure can potentially shut down due to large numbers of invasive species.
For more than 100 years, invasive species have made the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta their home, disrupting the ecosystem and costing millions of dollars annually in remediation. The latest invader is the nutria, a large rodent native to South America that causes concern because of its propensity to devour every bit of vegetation in sight and destabilize levees by burrowing into them. Wildlife officials are trapping the animal and trying to learn the extent of its infestation.
A specially trained dog named Noah is receiving well-deserved praise after preventing a mussel-infested watercraft from launching Saturday in Lake Mendocino — a frighteningly close call that public officials say underscores the need for long-delayed, full-time measures to protect regional reservoirs and critical infrastructure from exposure to the destructive organisms.
For more than 100 years, invasive species have made the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta their home, disrupting the ecosystem and costing millions of dollars annually in remediation.
The latest invader is the nutria, a large rodent native to South America that causes concern because of its propensity to devour every bit of vegetation in sight and destabilize levees by burrowing into them. Wildlife officials are trapping the animal and trying to learn the extent of its infestation.
For more than 100 years, invasive species have made the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta their home, disrupting the ecosystem and costing millions of dollars annually in remediation. … Even though invasive plants and animals long have been known to exist in California’ water hub, tracking their extent in an area as large as the Delta — 738,000 acres — is an uneven task that could benefit from greater coordination and funding, a panel of experts recently told the Delta Independent Science Board.
Lake Tahoe continues to be a test site for new technology aimed at controlling aquatic invasive plants. The latest example is the use of a device called a “bubble curtain” in the Tahoe Keys neighborhood, according to the League to Save Lake Tahoe, which is working with the Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association to combat invasive plants that have overrun the channels in the keys.
We traveled deep into California’s water hub and traverse the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s water system and is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The tour made its way to San Francisco Bay, and included a ferry ride.
Before the midday heat had set in, Jeff Cann and Tim Kroeker were out of their Dodge pickup, trudging through waist-deep water in waders and rubber boots. The two wildlife biologists had come to this vast expanse of sun-soaked Central Valley wetlands on a recent morning to check in on the first traps that California has authorized in its nascent effort to hunt — and exterminate — the nutria.
The organism, responsible for the catastrophic decline of the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and 200 other species, emerged from East Asia in the early 1900s and is spreading by the pet trade and the expansion of global trade, according to an international research consortium of 38 different institutions.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has reached an agreement with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to provide $1 million in federal funding to help combat invasive aquatic species that harm the health and clarity of Lake Tahoe.
The “triple threat” of invasive rodent species has made its way to the edge of the delta, officials said, putting the state’s fragile water infrastructure at risk. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Tuesday that it had discovered the nutria, a large rat-like mammal that inhabits wet, rural areas, on agricultural land west of Stockton.
The destructive invasive swamp rodents known as nutria are officially on the doorstep of one of the state’s most critically important waterways. State wildlife officials announced Tuesday that a nutria was killed on agricultural land west of Stockton in San Joaquin County.
About the size of a beagle, they can quickly turn a lush green marsh to a wasteland. … They are called nutria, and right now they’re starting to spread through the waterways leading into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the ecologically fragile network of sloughs and rivers that functions as the heart of California’s flood-control and water distribution system.
Last winter’s drought-busting wet weather was a boon for reservoirs and parched landscapes, but not so much for some invasive species in San Francisco Bay, according to a long-term study by Tiburon-based researchers. All that fresh water that poured into the bay was bad news for certain invaders, which have turned up in droves in recent decades from around the world, often in ships’ ballast water.
Tahoe Resource Conservation District is three years into a long-term aquatic invasive species eradication project on the Truckee River — and the progress is encouraging. TRCD is working to eliminate Eurasian watermilfoil from a 3-mile stretch of the Truckee River, starting above the Tahoe City dam and continuing down to Alpine Meadows Road.
Sixty percent of California’s developed water supply originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests, which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought, wildfires and widespread tree mortality.
Join us as we head into the foothills and the mountains to examine water issues that happen upstream but have dramatic impacts downstream and throughout the state.
GEI (Tour Starting Point)
2868 Prospect Park Dr.
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.
Governors of 19 Western states are pressing the federal government to do more to prevent the spread of damage-causing invasive mussels from infected federally managed waterways. … The governors say they’re particularly concerned about the mussels reaching the Columbia River Basin, Lake Tahoe, and the Colorado River Basin above Lake Powell.
For months, regional water officials were prevented from recharging drought-depleted water basins in the San Gabriel Valley and southeast Los Angeles County because they feared an infestation of an invasive shellfish that could destroy local ecosystems.
Like a scene in a horror movie where the evil creature keeps coming back, invasive green crabs in the Seadrift Lagoon at Stinson Beach just won’t seem to die. … Green crabs are native to Europe and were introduced in the early 1800s to the East Coast of the United States, and finally made their way to San Francisco Bay in the late 1980s, possibly via ballast water in ships.
There’s an invasion plaguing the coastal waters of Southern California. Waves of tiny interlopers spark havoc at fisheries, clog municipal water pipes and frustrate boaters who must dislodge buckets of sea crud.
Estuaries are places where fresh and salt water mix, usually at the point where a river enters the ocean. They are the meeting point between riverine environments and the sea, with a combination of tides, waves, salinity, fresh water flow and sediment. The constant churning means there are elevated levels of nutrients, making estuaries highly productive natural habitats.
With a blue bandanna tucked under his hat and draped across his neck to protect him from the sun, Gordon Fidler of Palm Desert walked slowly over the terrain at Joshua Tree National Park, eyes peeled for tumble mustard – a weed invading an area of Keys View and threatening the natural wildlife. … Invasive plants – or weeds – create fire hazards, crowd out native plants and consume water and nutrients, depleting food sources for the habitat such as the desert tortoise.
A troublesome invasive species is the quagga mussel, a tiny freshwater mollusk that attaches itself to water utility infrastructure and reproduces at a rapid rate, causing damage to pipes and pumps.
First found in the Great Lakes in 1988 (dumped with ballast water from overseas ships), the quagga mussel along with the zebra mussel are native to the rivers and lakes of eastern Europe and western Asia, including the Black, Caspian and Azov Seas and the Dneiper River drainage of Ukraine and Ponto-Caspian Sea.
Pyramid Lake is now infested with ecosystem-altering Quagga Mussels after state officials found six of the non-native freshwater mollusks Thursday in a tunnel that connects the lake with another body of water along the state’s water delivery system.
After several years of unrelenting hyacinth invasions each fall, it’s as if someone has finally peeled back that green shag carpet and returned Stockton’s rivers to its people. … And there is a general sense that a coordinated effort by state and federal officials — along with a bit of help from Mother Nature — is starting to make a difference.
It was a good plan: Bring in hungry beetles that feed only on nonnative salt cedar trees to get a handle on a hardy, invasive species that was crowding riverbanks across the West and leaching precious water from the drought-stricken region.
Two types of yellow-legged frogs, and a kind of toad found in Yosemite National Park, won extra protection Thursday when federal authorities declared nearly 3,000 square miles in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains as critical habitat for the endangered animals.
California wildlife agencies say the drought has pushed the endangered Delta smelt close to extinction. State and federal agencies announced Tuesday a joint effort to improve habitat conditions for the fish.
Saying they wanted to go beyond what they’ve done in the past, state officials resumed water hyacinth removal efforts at the downtown Stockton waterfront earlier than normal on Wednesday with the blessing of federal biologists.
For [J.D.] Richey and the anglers, it was a successful weekday outing, resulting in a bounty of fish dinners to come. More broadly, the scene put them smack in the center of yet another Central Valley river conflict, one that pits “good” fish against “bad” fish, farmers against anglers, and without enough fresh water to allow them all to thrive.
When the Tahoe Keys were created in the 1960s they became Lake Tahoe’s largest commercial marina. … It’s possible that no one could have foreseen that those warm, shallow channels would one day be home to Tahoe’s most dense population of invasive species.
Eleven years ago, it was a major threat to San Francisco Bay. A fast-growing, non-native plant that spread in dense thickets up to 7 feet tall was exploding out of control, overrunning wetlands, threatening birds, wildlife and even the public’s view of the water.
Water hyacinth, the invasive water weed that carpets San Joaquin Delta channels in the warm season, choking out native species, degrading water quality, blocking recreational boaters and interfering with commercial ship traffic, holds promise as a biofuel.
The discovery of an invasive mudsnail downstream of the Table Mountain Boulevard bridge in Oroville, has prompted state officials to urge Feather River users to decontaminate equipment. … Officials are also setting up decontamination protocols to keep the mudsnails from entering the nearby Feather River Fish Hatchery.
Tuolumne County has received a $70.4 million grant to restore part of the Rim fire zone, build a plant that turns wood into energy and building materials, and create a center for job training and other services.
An invasive species of snail that is able to self-reproduce by the hundreds and outcompete native species has been discovered for the first time in Humboldt State University’s College Creek, and there is no known method to stop its exponential spread.
The Delta’s floating green menace has now forced the city of Stockton to close its largest boat launch, another sign that this year’s water hyacinth invasion is just as nasty — if not more so — than last year’s.
Monday’s announcement was a blow for those hoping that an extra $4 million dedicated to hyacinth control efforts and a more aggressive schedule for applying herbicides would lead to noticeable improvement in 2015.
A federal appeals court ordered the government Monday to rewrite its regulations on ballast water discharges from ships, one of the leading culprits in the spread of invasive species across U.S. waterways.
[Gary] Rogers, 72, is a first responder of sorts in the war on water hyacinth. He patrols the Delta several times a week, investigating those backwater sloughs where the alien scourge is known to incubate.
Montana, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and Idaho are the only states in the West still free of invasive quagga and zebra mussels. State officials want desperately to keep the mussels out of blue-ribbon trout streams and pristine mountain lakes.
The $250,000 plan, sponsored by the Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association (TKPOA), released on Tuesday for comment, tackles an issue that other methods during the past 25 years have failed to address to remove non-native invasive species that choke parts of the Tahoe Keys lagoons.
Federal agriculture officials are spending nearly $60 million this year to help combat the beetles, bollworms and other bugs that have the potential to wreak havoc on American crops, with California and Florida taking the biggest share.
Reclamation has released for public review environmental documents for the proposed zebra mussel eradication project for San Justo Reservoir, the Hollister Conduit and the San Benito County Water District’s distribution system. The proposed treatment is to use potash which has been shown to be effective in killing zebra mussels.
U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has released the initial plan for a new wildfire-fighting strategy to protect a wide swath of intermountain West sagebrush country that supports cattle ranching and is home to a struggling bird species.
A 300-yard stretch of the Tuolumne River near Hughson shows one of the many impacts of the ongoing drought. The river is thick with water hyacinth, a plant that chokes the flow to the point where it looks like you could walk across it.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency on Friday asked Nevada lawmakers to support Gov. Brian Sandoval’s recommended budget to fund a total of $750,000 a year to protect Lake Tahoe from invasive aquatic species.
Government-sanctioned tests of equipment designed to cleanse ship ballast water of invasive species are seriously flawed because they don’t determine whether the systems will remove microbes that cause gastrointestinal illnesses, scientists said Wednesday.
Goodness gracious, politicians and state officials are abuzz these days about the water hyacinth problem in the Delta waters around Stockton. … Which begs the questions: Where was this fervent reaction in 2013? And 2012? And 2011? And 2010?
Recent storms have mostly cleared Stockton waterways that were hijacked by hyacinth the past two months, but officials at a standing-room-only town hall meeting Monday said it’s important to stay focused on the future.
The lake of [Jay] Hall’s memory is dead, its salmon all but vanished in the past decade – a collapse so swift that fisheries biologists have likened it to driving off a cliff. For a brief few decades, those biologists had turned this Great Lake into a Pacific chinook factory, taking a wildly popular sport fish from faraway ocean waters and setting it loose to gorge upon the swarms of invasive alewives that had decimated native fish species.
The earthquake and tsunami that devastated a large part of Japan almost four years ago is still causing trouble, not only for Japan, of course, but also for the Northwest coastline. The biggest threat isn’t radioactive particles from the Fukushima power plant meltdown, though some has recently shown up on this side of the Pacific, but potential invasive species hitching a ride on debris that’s been out in the ocean these few years.
State officials said the weather is playing a role in ridding the delta of a stubborn water weed that has plagued Stockton’s Waterfront, but added that the state is also upping its efforts to finish off the pesky plant.
The Village West Marina in Stockton recently came up with a possible solution to help weed out the growing water hyacinth problem, but the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department put an end to the plans for now, saying it breaks a harbor navigation code.
To John Laird, Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency: The hyacinth situation in parts of the California Delta has become a disaster. The navigable part of the Calaveras River is completely filled in with the pest as are Buckley Cove, downtown Stockton harbor, Whiskey Slough, much of the San Joaquin River and many other areas — this is just a sampling.
With Stockton’s water hyacinth invasion seeming to only get worse, San Joaquin County legislators on Friday asked state officials to request a “sustained funding source” from the federal government to fight back against the prolific weeds.
The Bureau of Reclamation has released a report summarizing six years of testing coatings to control the attachment of quagga and zebra mussels to water and power facilities. … The testing was conducted at Parker Dam on the Colorado River.
In a final effort to rid thousands of invasive fish from the Presidio’s historic Mountain Lake and make room for native species, biologists will use a standard fish-killing chemical called rotenone, park officials said this week.
A project to suffocate Asian clams at Lake Tahoe’s treasured Emerald Bay may be coming to an end this month, when divers help remove about 5 acres of rubber matting being used to cut off the species’ oxygen supply.
Asian Citrus Psyllids, an invasive insect, have been found in Manteca and Lodi, according to San Joaquin County Agricultural Commissioner Tim Pelican. … The psyllids pose no threat to humans, but they can carry the huanglongbing disease, also known as citrus greening.
For the second year in a row, despite state officials’ efforts to control water hyacinth with herbicides as early as March, another bumper crop is now making its annual fall push into Stockton and other portions of the Delta.
This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explains how non-native invasive animals can alter the natural ecosystem, leading to the demise of native animals. “Unwelcome Visitors” features photos and information on four such species – including the zerbra mussel – and explains the environmental and economic threats posed by these species.
This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explains how non-native invasive plants can alter the natural ecosystem, leading to the demise of native plants and animals. “Space Invaders” features photos and information on six non-native plants that have caused widespread problems in the Bay-Delta Estuary and elsewhere.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta, its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex and competing issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural drainage, and water distribution.