Watch out for alligator weed

Snappy problem: Alligator weed infestations in the Peel and Namoi Rivers have been removed manually or treated with chemical and are continually monitored for regrowth.
Snappy problem: Alligator weed infestations in the Peel and Namoi Rivers have been removed manually or treated with chemical and are continually monitored for regrowth.

During the summer holidays thousands of visitors will converge on North West dams and waterways for some fun, fishing and relaxation.

Locals and visitors taking advantage of the holiday season are being reminded to watch out for invasive aquatic weeds and do their bit for General Biosecurity in the North West.

North West Local Land Services are working across the region with local government and the Department of Primary Industries to keep our region safe, ensuring recreation areas will still be fun for future generations.

Gunnedah Shire Council senior weeds officer Lee Amidy said it was good to have visitors to the regions dams and waterways, but it does pose a risk of aquatic weeds being introduced.

Coastal weeds such as alligator weed, salvinia and water lettuce pose a real threat to North West ecosystems.

“Invasive plants such as alligator weed and salvinia spread quickly, disrupting fragile ecosystems and seriously affecting native animal and plant life and ultimately preventing access to great fishing and camping sites,” he said.

Easily transported on boats, trailers and other sporting equipment, these weeds will regenerate from the smallest fragment of plant material.

North West Council Weeds Officers are reminding all recreational fishermen and women, and water sports enthusiasts to take extra care to clean down boats and associated equipment before they enter inland dams and waterways.

Water weed: Alligator weed in flower.

Water weed: Alligator weed in flower.

Locals and visitors can help prevent the spread of water weeds by following these basic precautions:

  • Inspect and remove any plant material from watercraft, trailers and equipment including inside boats, live wells, bilge, yabby and shrimp traps, bait containers before leaving home and before leaving any water bodies.
  • Learn to recognise water weeds and be observant of new or unusual plants.

North West Regional Weed Coordinator Peter Dawson said alligator weed incursions have already been identified and treated in the Peel and Namoi rivers since 2012.

High rainfall prior to identification coupled with one of the hottest summers on record produced the perfect environment for Alligator weed.

“All infestations in the Peel and Namoi Rivers have since been removed manually or treated with chemical and are continually monitored for regrowth and fresh germinations” Mr Dawson said.

Gunnedah Shire Council has teamed up with the North West Local Land Services, Tamworth Regional Council and NSW Department of Primary Industries to undertake inspections and Rapid Response control works along with erecting signs highlighting the worst of our aquatic weeds in an effort to raise public awareness of aquatic weeds.

The program funded by the Northwest Local Lands Services and NSW DPI is now in its sixth year and has located in excess of 60 infestations of Alligator weed in the Namoi River from the Peel River junction to Gunnedah.

The signs, erected around water storage facilities across the North West feature colour photographs and council contact numbers should there be any suspected sightings.

Report suspected infestations to the NSW Weeds Hotline on 1800 680 244 or by contacting your local Council weeds officer, Local Land Services or NSW Department of Primary Industries.