Rockhampton Regional Council has conscripted a host of tiny allies in the fight against invasive plants.
A program using weevils to combat the growth of water hyacinth, salvinia and water lettuce is showing real signs of success, according to Cr Ellen Smith, the planning and regulatory committee chair.
“It really is remarkable when you see them at work in the bio tanks and out in the rivers, and what a difference it makes to restricting the growth of the fauna,” Cr Smith said.
“Although some of these plants are quite pretty – indeed some were introduced specifically for ornamental purposes – they can cause havoc in our waterways so it’s very important that we do all we can to minimise their impact.
“Council has been utilising this method for a couple of years now, and we are working towards being able to share the technique with private landowners.”
Water hyacinth, salvinia and water lettuce are all restricted invasive plants under the Biosecurity Act 2014 and are impacting native ecosystems and water flow in the region.
Rockhampton Regional Council environment spokesperson Drew Wickerson said the use of weevils not only reduced the environmental damage caused by some of these plants, but meant other methods of controlling growth – including chemical based pesticides – were greatly reduced.
“The adult weevil gets in and eats the leaves of the plants, but most effectively is that they also lay their larvae in the stem. The larvae then cause the stem to rot and the plant is unable to reproduce,” he said.