By Anna Giles

FAIR OAKS (CBS13) — A Sacramento County pond transformed into a major animal safety problem after a fast-spreading foreign plant took over.

“It’s like a carpet covering an entire body of water,” said wildlife rescuer Allyson Seconds.

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The pond at Sailor Bar has been overtaken by an invasive weed known as Azolla, or red water fern. It’s native to South America.

Rescuers initially came to the pond on reports of a beaver found dead, and uncovered another problem.

“The beaver had a hook in its tail and fishing line wrapped around it, we’re not sure of the cause of death so thats being investigated,” Seconds said.

It’s a dual danger for plants and animals.

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Ducks and fish are getting stuck and unable to move through the invasive weed. Botanists said it’s literally choking plants.

“It cancels out any light. So if you get this covering on water you’re not going to get any light to the plants, not any light to the algae and you’re going to prevent oxygenation of that water,” said Marlene Simon, a UC Davis Horticulturalist.

Sacramento County regional park rangers have fielded multiple calls about Sailor Pond.

“You can remove weeds from local waterways and that’s something we’ve done out at Mather Lake,” said Ken Casparis, spokesperson for Sacramento County Regional Parks.

The department does not have plans for Sailor Pond yet, but rescuers like Seconds plan to try and do some clean up on their own.

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“Obviously, it’s needed. Wildlife is certainly at risk,” Seconds said.