Weed woes re­quire new low

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE -

Lake Mul­wala will be low­ered by 4.5 me­tres, a me­tre more than orig­i­nally tar­geted to en­sure ef­fec­tive weed con­trol for the lo­cal com­mu­nity and the lakes’ recre­ational users.

Mur­ray–Dar­ling Basin Author­ity (MDBA) head of River Man­age­ment, An­drew Reynolds, said new in­for­ma­tion gath­ered from a sur­vey of the ex­tent of the highly in­va­sive aquatic weed Ege­ria densa in Lake Mul­wala has found that the weed is present at greater depths in the lake than pre­vi­ously thought.

“The orig­i­nal plan to lower the lake by 3.5 me­tres would not have ex­posed weed in these deeper lo­ca­tions,” Mr Reynolds said.

“We have re­viewed and con­sid­ered this new in­for­ma­tion. To en­sure the draw down is as ef­fec­tive as pos­si­ble, with the best out­comes for the lo­cal com­mu­nity and recre­ational users; we have re­vised the draw down to 4.5 me­tres be­low nor­mal op­er­at­ing lev­els, which is a me­tre fur­ther than orig­i­nally planned.

“By low­er­ing the lake fur­ther we can tar­get a greater por­tion of the aquatic weed which was im­pact­ing on the lakes’ us­age, mak­ing it harder to swim, fish, launch boats and water ski.

“The lake draw down con­tin­ues with the low­er­ing to reach 3.5 me­tres by the end of May, as orig­i­nally planned. The water level will then con­tinue to re­duce in the first few days of June un­til Lake Mul­wala is 4.5 me­tres lower than nor­mal.

“We ex­pect to hold the lake at this level un­til mid-July when re­fill­ing will start, bring­ing the lake back to its reg­u­lar op­er­at­ing lev­els by early Au­gust.

“The draw down will be man­aged so that it poses min­i­mal risk of im­pact­ing on avail­able water re­sources in the com­ing sea­son.

“The low­er­ing will ex­pose muddy lake flats. This will make it dif­fi­cult to ac­cess the water’s edge and re­duce the abil­ity to launch boats from the boat ramps. “Peo­ple will still be able to boat and fish in the main river chan­nel that runs through the lake but will need to launch their boats up­stream,” Mr Reynolds said.

Last year GMW and the MDBA re­leased the Water­weed Wipe­out app. The tool is de­signed to help the com­mu­nity bet­ter un­der­stand the man­age­ment tech­niques used to con­trol the in­va­sive weed. Water­weed Wipe­out is free and avail­able from the App Store and Google Play for Ap­ple and An­droid phones and tablet de­vices.

An empty Lake Mul­wala ex­poses the in­va­sive aquatic weed to frosts which as­sists in con­trol­ling its growth.

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