Lo­cals warned of wa­ter weed threat amid il­le­gal sale

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Times New - Chloe Fraser

Res­i­dents are be­ing re­minded about the threat of salvinia wa­ter weeds af­ter re­ports the il­le­gal weed is be­ing sold on­line in Mar­garet River.

The free-float­ing wa­ter weed spreads with ease, form­ing a dense mat which of­ten cov­ers and se­verely af­fects lakes, slow-mov­ing rivers, dams and wa­ter­ways.

Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Food biose­cu­rity of­fi­cer Glen Coupar said salvinia and other de­clared wa­ter weeds posed sig­nif­i­cant threats to the agri­cul­ture and food sec­tor. “The wa­ter weed threat­ens agri­cul­ture by block­ing ir­ri­ga­tion chan­nels and pre­vent­ing stock from get­ting ac­cess to fresh wa­ter from dams,” he said.

“It de­oxy­genates wa­ter by pre­vent­ing light and oxy­gen from en­ter­ing the wa­ter.”

Mr Coupar said the weed af­fects na­tive plants and an­i­mals and can cre­ate ideal breed­ing grounds for mosquitoes. The weed was re­cently re­ported on a dam in Pic­ton as well as be­ing sold as pond plants at weekend mar­kets in Perth sub­urbs and on­line in Mar­garet River.

Na­ture Con­ser­va­tion Mar­garet River Re­gion ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Caro­line Hughes said the de­clared plant was a weed of na­tional sig­nif­i­cance and the Na­ture Con­ser­va­tion strongly op­posed its sale.

“Salvinia is con­sid­ered one of Aus­tralia’s worse en­vi­ron­men­tal weeds, pri­mar­ily be­cause of its po­ten­tial to se­verely im­pact on wa­ter­ways,” she said. “There are cur­rently no known in­fes­ta­tions within the Mar­garet River, its trib­u­taries or streams within the re­gion. But we are very keen to pre­vent its es­tab­lish­ment within our streams and wa­ter­ways.”

To iden­tify or report salvinia or other wa­ter weeds, down­load the MyWeedWatcher mo­bile app or con­tact Pest and Dis­ease in­for­ma­tion ser­vices on info@agric.wa. gov.au or 1800 084 881.

Pic­ture: Si­mon Eyres

Agri­cul­ture and Food biose­cu­rity of­fi­cer Glen Coupar with salvinia weed.

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