Preprint Article Version 3 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Impacts of Water Hyacinth Treatment on Water Quality in a Tidal Estuarine Environment

Version 1 : Received: 10 October 2018 / Approved: 11 October 2018 / Online: 11 October 2018 (04:29:19 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 5 April 2019 / Approved: 8 April 2019 / Online: 8 April 2019 (11:12:45 CEST)
Version 3 : Received: 16 July 2019 / Approved: 16 July 2019 / Online: 16 July 2019 (08:28:04 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.


Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is an invasive species that has modified ecosystem functioning in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta), California, USA. Studies in lakes and rivers have shown that water hyacinth alters water quality. In tidal systems, such as the Delta, water moves back and forth through the water hyacinth patch so water quality directly outside the patch in either direction is likely to be impacted. In this study, we asked whether the presence or treatment of water hyacinth with herbicides resulted in changes in water quality in this tidal system. We combined existing datasets that were originally collected for permit compliance and long-term regional monitoring into a dataset that we analyzed with a before-after control-impact (BACI) framework. This approach allowed us to describe effects of presence and treatment of water hyacinth, while accounting for seasonal patterns in water quality. We found that although effects of treatment were not detectable when compared with water immediately upstream, dissolved oxygen and turbidity became more similar to regional water quality averages after treatment. Temperature became less similar to the regional average after treatment, but the magnitude of the change was small. Taken together, these results suggest that tidal hydrology exports the effects of water hyacinth upstream, just as river flow is known to transport the effects downstream, creating a buffer of altered water chemistry around patches. It also suggests that although water hyacinth has an effect on dissolved oxygen and turbidity, these parameters recover to regional averages after treatment.


water quality; invasive species; water hyacinth; estuaries; temperature; dissolved oxygen; turbidity; herbicide


Environmental and Earth Sciences, Environmental Science

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 16 July 2019
Commenter: Vanessa Tobias
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: This version contains minor revisions, in response to reviewers' comments.
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