Invasive weed under control at Lake Tinaroo

Sunwater has successfully contained a floating water weed at Lake Tinaroo, south-west of Cairns.

A year-long operation combining aerial spraying by helicopter with targeted spraying from boats and ground crews has reduced the spread of water hyacinth, a major pest of waterways.

The work began in August 2018 after significant inflows from the Barron River transported the weed, introduced from South America, into the lake.

Sunwater Executive General Manager – Operations Colin Bendall said recent inspections indicated the plant was well controlled in the lake and incoming streams.

“This is a great outcome, as untreated water hyacinth can choke wetlands and waterways, kill native wildlife and interfere with recreational use,” he said.

“Water hyacinth depletes waterways of oxygen which can kill aquatic life including fish and forms a thick mat, which renders bodies of water unusable for recreational purposes.”

Mr Bendall said the combination of spraying from the air, water and shoreline was the most effective way to access and treat the outbreak.

He thanked Tablelands Regional Council, Biosecurity Queensland, local landholders and recreational users of the lake for their co-operation and patience throughout the process.

Mr Bendall said the success of the program was down to the support of all stakeholders, particularly Sunwater and council staff who worked over a 12-month period to curb the weed.

“Sunwater worked closely with the council and BQ to ensure a treatment methodology which minimised environmental impacts and safeguarded water quality,” he said.

“We will continue to monitor inflows and remain vigilant of any possible future outbreaks. We firmly believe any future incursions or regrowth can be quickly managed.”

Recreation users or local landholders that observe any further outbreaks of water hyacinth should report this to Sunwater on 13 15 89.