With assistance from the Conservancy’s vegetation management contractor, we have finally identified a weed that has managed to grow to extraordinary proportions on the Conservancy’s Bennett North preserve. It is pictured here as it has grown in the Bennett North tract’s marsh. It is ID’d as nymphoides peltata. Some call this “yellow floating heart.” There are weeds that look a lot like this that I’ve seen in and around rice fields for 20 years. But this is a bit different. And it just seems to be on steroids and takes over large areas. We’ve been battling it all summer.
One of the requirements of the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan (NBHCP) is that we must keep managed marsh complexes fully functional for use by the covered aquatic species (such as the giant garter snake). Full functionality is a tough goal to reach when you have this monster taking over anything with water on it.
It raises the point that was made to me when I first started this job. The point was made by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee. That is just how difficult it is for native species to stand up against exotic, non-native species. Like most, I’d known that over time, the non-natives don’t have the checks and controls (like predators) to keep them from taking over like the natives do. But what I didn’t have much appreciation for is just how aggressive the non-natives can be. This guy (nymphoides peltata) is clearly something to be reckoned with.