Weeding frenzy

Date published: 18 June 2020

Townsville City Council has invasive weeds in the Ross River in its sights with a weed harvester being deployed this week to tackle the noxious pests.

The invasive species, Salvinia, Water Hyacinth and Cabomba, are native to South America and can strangle waterways with slow-moving water as they stop oxygen production, killing fish and native aquatic plants.

Community and Cultural Development Committee Chair Cr Ann-Maree Greaney said the weeds also have a huge social impact on residents wanting to use the Ross River.

“There are plenty of residents and user groups trying to enjoy Townsville’s fantastic winter weather now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased, but these invasive weeds make it very difficult,” Cr Greaney said.

“The way that these weeds cover or sit under the surface of the water can make it impossible to enjoy recreational activities such as fishing, swimming or rowing.

“The pervasiveness of these weeds make it a difficult issue to manage, but Council will continue to work with residents and deploy resources where possible to keep the plants at bay.”

Division 4 Councillor Mark Molachino said Council has been fighting to keep the Ross River clear of the invasive weeds for years.

“Salvinia, the Water Hyacinth and Cabomba are really pervasive and invasive weeds that have a number of impacts on the quality of the Ross River,” Cr Molachino said.

“These invasive weeds thrive in climates like Townsville’s, and while we enjoy our warm water, it’s also the perfect habitat for them to grow.

“The river looked fantastic after the fast-flowing waters pushed the weeds out, however the seeds have had the chance to grow again now so Council will be deploying the weed harvester again and conducting sprays of aquatic weeds and terrestrial weeds along the river bank too.”