DEAD ZONE: Aaron Green, who lives alongside a creek overtaken by an invasive weed, has called for Sunshine Coast Council’s help. Picture: Warren Lynam
DEAD ZONE: Aaron Green, who lives alongside a creek overtaken by an invasive weed, has called for Sunshine Coast Council’s help. Picture: Warren Lynam

Destructive weed turns platypus habitat to ‘dead zone’

A LANDOWNER says Sunshine Coast Council has given him no help removing a rapidly growing weed from a now destroyed platypus habitat.

Aaron Green, who bought his property along Wappa Dam Rd in 2010, said salvinia weed took over the waterway that passed through his property and led into Wappa Dam.

"It's sort of like a dead zone through there now because there is just no oxygen in the water or light penetrating it," he said.

"We would spot on average about three platypus each season and the best was about seven but in the last four years we haven't seen any because there would be nowhere for them to come to the surface."

After noticing that the free-floating freshwater plant had formed dense mats of vegetation on the water's surface, Mr Green said he contacted Seqwater and the council in 2014 but within six months the weed had taken over.

"Salvinia weed, it is pretty much like cancer, once it's there it's almost impossible to treat," he said.

"Council tried to pull the whole 'now it's on your property it's your problem'.

"But … It backed up about a kilometre onto my property from the dam … and I only have the issue now because it backed up.

"And dragging it out by hand … which the kids and I are trying to do, is just wasting your time, it grows faster than we can do anything about it."

 

A water way that leads into Wappa Dam road is over run with Salvinia weed. Picture: Warren Lynam
A water way that leads into Wappa Dam road is over run with Salvinia weed. Picture: Warren Lynam

After failed attempts to treat the weed with a root eating weevil, the roofer said he was told by the council to spray the weed with dangerous chemicals.

"Council said, 'just spray it with Roundup' which I was like what do you mean it's a catchment area I can't just do that, and they said, 'it's totally legal, that's what we do in the dam'," Mr Green said.

"They even told me the product they use, it's a form of Roundup and you spray it over the top of it and that's the best you can do."

A Sunshine Coast Council spokesman said the council had given landowners in the area advice.

"All residents have a general biosecurity obligation under the Biosecurity Act 2014 to manage invasive plants that are under their control or on their property," a spokesman said.

"Council has previously provided recommendations to landholders on Wappa Dam Rd on their weed control options including aquatic weed control using council's free weed control hire equipment," a spokesman said.

He said within the council's regional area there were 3700km of creeks and rivers across five major catchments which were a key focus in councils Environment and Liveability Strategy.

"Council will continue to play its part in protecting our waterways through ongoing investments in water quality monitoring, waterway rehabilitation, land acquisition and partnering with private landholders and the community towards our strategic target for the health of our waterways to be 'good' or 'excellent' by 2041, according to Healthy Land & Water annual report card," spokesman said.

Mr Green said he wanted the council to admit that there was a problem.

"They just don't seem to have even attempted to even acknowledge the issue.

"It's a shame because it used to be pristine through there and without the sunlight and oxygen it's just an absolute mess," he said.



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