State Aims to Exterminate Nutria Problem in San Joaquin Delta

From CBS Sacramento (CBS13) – Giant river rodents are damaging water projects and infrastructure in the San Joaquin Delta, officials say. The Department of Fish and Wildlife is now asking for nearly $2 million to track and kill the rodents, known as nutria or coypu. Native to South America, nutria first showed up in Merced County in 2017 before making their way north. The creatures look a lot like a large rat, but they are more closely related to guinea pigs. It is not clear how they got into the state. Being a semi-aquatic rodent, nutria are now being found in wetlands, rivers canals and other freshwater habitats in Merced, Fresno and Stanislaus counties, according to the CDFW. Along with damaging habitat and infrastructure, officials are also concerned about degraded water quality as a result of nutria infestations.

 

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Darren Suen has been selected for the Board’s new Policy Advisor position. He performed this function in Acting capacity for the last year, working to raise awareness about the Board’s role in flood management and to advance flood policies that support public safety and provide benefits to the environment and agriculture communities. Prior, Darren was the Department of Water Resources serving as Program Lead and Policy Advisor for the Assistant Division Chief of the Flood Management Division and the Deputy Director in Flood Operations Center during flood emergencies. Darren has a long career in program management and flood control, working in private, State, and federal agencies. Currently, he also serves as a member of the Elk Grove City Council. Congratulations to Darren!

Michael Wright has been selected to fill the Chief Engineer position beginning April 2, 2019. Michael has been with the Board since 2011. During his tenure, Michael has held multiple supervisory positions, including Enforcement Section Chief, Acting Operations Branch Chief, and Plan Implementation and Compliance Branch Chief. For the past eight months, he has been filling the Chief Engineer role. Congratulations, Michael Wright.