Council and FBA share biocontrol success with landholders

Published on 23 August 2018


Landholders looking to rid their waterways of invasive plants will soon be able to reap the rewards of a successful biocontrol program trialled by Rockhampton Regional Council.

The program has been utilising certain species of weevils to combat the growth of pest plants that are damaging native ecosystems and affecting water flow.

Chair of Council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee, Councillor Ellen Smith, said the program has seen outstanding results and thanks to collaboration between Council and Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA), will now be made available to the community.

“The saying ‘success is better when it’s shared’ rings true for this program and we are thrilled to announce its expansion today,” Cr Smith said.

“For some time, Council has been developing ways to effectively combat pest plants such as Water Hyacinth, Salvinia and Water Lettuce.  Following some major wins, we have teamed up with FBA to expand our program and the number of bio tanks on site.

“This expansion now gives us the opportunity to share technique and samples with private landowners facing this issue, and develop targeted approaches for their particular waterways.”

Environment Councillor Drew Wickerson said the program will offer landholders both an effective and ecofriendly option.

“Some of these plants were introduced to our area for decorative purposes years ago, but today they pose real problems by impeding water flow, reducing fish habitat and blocking access to water for stock and wildlife,” Cr Wickerson said.

“Often, chemical based pesticides are used to get rid of these plants. The use of weevils provides a much more environmentally friendly option that will improve and protect native aquatic ecosystems.

“The weevils themselves also do most of the legwork. The adult weevil gets in and eats the leaves of the plants and lays their larvae in the stem. This then causes the stem to rot and stop the plant from being able to reproduce.” 

Fitzroy Basin Association’s Environment Leader, Shannon van Nunen, said the team were proud to work with Council to roll out such a proactive program. 

“This biocontrol facility is a fantastic example of a self-sufficient solution, with proven long-term outcomes beneficial to the landholder, the lagoon and the environment,” Mr van Nunen said.

For further details on the program, including how to trial the biocontrol method on your property, contact Council on 1300 22 55 77.