Easy does it

Photo courtesy Port of Stockton

This undated photo, which I grabbed from a recent Port of Stockton presentation, shows the view from the bridge of a massive oceangoing ship as it attempts to navigate a hyacinth-choked Deep Water Ship Channel.

Would you want to steer that thing in those conditions?

The photo goes a long way toward explaining why the port has followed hyacinth issues so closely in recent years. Sometimes, at night in October or November when hyacinth concentrations tend to increase, the ships cannot move through the channel at all because their radar can’t distinguish between mats of floating hyacinth and dry land. And lost time equals lost money.

At a legislative oversight hearing chaired by state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani last week in Stockton, state officials said they continue to work on the hyacinth with the help of satellite images that are now helping them better target their spraying efforts. They said they are on track to reach their maximum allowed spraying acreage once again in 2016, thanks to the hiring of new technicians and the purchase of new boats and equipment.

So far, so good.

“This year the season appears to be better,”said Claude Pellarin, owner of Village West Marina, which hauled 500 tons of hyacinth out of its own marina last year alone.

Galgiani agreed that there has been improvement.

“I’ve had people tell me it’s been visibly much better in our area.,” she said. “We are making progress, and that’s wonderful news.”


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