The following is a press release from the Ventura County Watershed Protection District
The Ventura County Watershed Protection District (VCWPD) has implemented a comprehensive approach to battle the spread of invasive aquatic species and invasive plants that includes new truck-washing stations in both the Saticoy and Moorpark yards.
VCWPD Operations and Maintenance (O&M) crews conducting work in channels, creeks and basins can unknowingly spread small, invasive species or weed seeds that become attached to work boots, hand equipment, or vehicle tires, providing ample opportunity for these invasive species to “hitch a ride” to another aquatic environment. Miniature-sized New Zealand Mud Snails, as well as Quagga Mussels, African-clawed frogs and giant reed are just a few of the invasive animals and plants that are of concern for the VCWPD, as they can clog equipment and quickly spread into watersheds to wreak ecological havoc in waterways.
Using ESD Waste2Water Inc.’s drive-through wash facilities, recently installed at Saticoy and Moorpark operation yards this spring, mud and contaminants are rinsed away efficiently with a 140-degree biological wash-water recycling system.
“The hot-water power wash removes mud, and any tiny hitchhiking snails or weed seeds, from the tires and undercarriage before the equipment is used again in a new location,” said Elizabeth Martinez, an environmental planner.
To further maintain the integrity of Ventura County watersheds, the VCWPD puts its Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Plan (HAACP), drafted in October 2009, into action.
The plan identifies dangers and management techniques. The management approach includes training, a reference guide (with photos), and posters to keep VCWPD O&M staff aware of infested creeks and streams.
Examples of Proactive Invasive Species Management include:
- Boot cleaning is highly effective when fighting the tiny New Zealand Mud Snail’s spread. It is currently found in Medea Creek, Beardsley Wash and Santa Clara River’s mouth.
- Giant reed, or Arundo donax, is a perennial grass and fire hazard that grows from 9 to 30 feet tall. Clogging creeks and reducing water quality, it spreads downstream, potentially contaminating for miles. The VCWPD regularly cleans it from basins and channels when it performs scheduled vegetation maintenance.
“Our O&M staff does an excellent job of following Best Management Practices to conduct their essential maintenance activities in an environmentally responsible manner, protecting sensitive wildlife, complying with a myriad of regulatory permit conditions and now being cognizant of the need to avoid the spread of invasive species,” Martinez said.