Last word on water hyacinth

Bill Jennings

Enviro Bill Jennings says I missed the mark in my recent stories dishing out blame for the hyacinth problem.

In a nutshell: We’re all at fault, he says.

While the stories focused in part on the bureaucratic difficulties in spraying the weed, Jennings says we should work toward preventing these outbreaks in the first place by reducing nutrient loads in the Delta.

And all of us bear some responsibility for those nutrients — whether it’s fertilizer washing off our lawns and into the storm drains, or our treated wastewater that is released into the Delta, or runoff from farms.

“We’ve poured enormous quantities of nutrients into the estuary, and we’ve taken away the flow,” Jennings said. “What we’ve created is an Arkansas lake. And hyacinth thrives in those conditions.”

Of course, Jennings has a dog in this fight. He’s the one who forced the state to get permits to spray the hyacinth, by filing a lawsuit some 15 years ago. Spraying was temporarily interrupted, major restrictions on future spraying were implemented, and as we all know, the hyacinth has certainly not retreated in the ensuing years.

So add Jennings to your list of people to blame, if you want. I know some boaters who do.

But he is unapologetic for his actions.

“You could quadruple the amount of pesticides and get some headway there, but there’s a consequence,” he said. “These pesticides are toxic.”

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