Invasive Species

Globalization’s impact on the Delta includes making it the least “natural” ecosystem on the Pacific coast of the western hemisphere.

Ships calling at the ports of Stockton and Sacramento dump ballast water from other port cities. For many decades this water has brought many exotic species to the Delta. At present the exotic causing the most concern is the Zebra Mussel, a tenacious colonizer that may get loose within Delta pumping infrastructure.

Striped Bass, a predator but prized sport fish, threatens endangered indigenous Delta fish species. Water Hyacinth, a lovely floating ornamental plant, clogs sloughs and cuts off light and oxygen to the plants and animals below.

Posted by dnpadmin on 05/22 at 11:33 PM • #

Images

Water Hyacinth, Trapper Slough

Water Hyacinth, Trapper Slough

Water hyacinth was introduced to the Delta as an ornamental plant. It is aggressive, and has filled or partially filled several sloughs, making them impassable. The dense, mat-like cover also cuts off sunlight to the water below, affecting plants and animals living there.

Zebra mussel cart

Zebra mussel cart

Atlantic ribbed mussel

Atlantic ribbed mussel

The Atlantic ribbed mussel is a non-native species found in Central Californian estuaries. It has been known to kill clapper rails, an endangered bird species, by clamping down on the bird’s beak or feet as it forages for food in tidal flats.

Striped bass

Striped bass

Striped bass were introduced into the Delta in the 19th century. They are prized among Delta sportfishing enthusiasts, earning them naturalized Delta citizenship, despite making endangered fish their prey. Delta populations have declined in recent years, suggesting that they are likely susceptible to ecosystem degradation.

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