Locals warned of water weed threat

Chloe FraserBusselton Dunsborough Times

Residents are being reminded about the threat of salvinia water weeds after reports the illegal weed is being sold online in Margaret River.

The free-floating water weed spreads with ease, forming a dense mat which often covers and severely affects lakes, slow-moving rivers, dams and waterways.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development biosecurity officer Glen Coupar said salvinia and other declared water weeds posed significant threats to the agriculture and food sector.

“The water weed threatens agriculture by blocking irrigation channels and preventing stock from getting access to fresh water from dams,” he said.

“It deoxygenates water by preventing light and oxygen from entering the water.”

Mr Coupar said the weed also affected native plants and animals and could create ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

The weed was recently repor-ted on a dam in Picton as well as being sold as pond plants at weekend markets in Perth suburbs and online in Margaret River.

Nature Conservation Margaret River Region executive officer Caroline Hughes said the declared plant was a weed of national significance and the organisation strongly opposed its sale.

“Salvinia is considered one of Australia’s worst environmental weeds, primarily because of its potential to severely impact on waterways,” she said.

“Fortunately, there are currently no known infestations within the Margaret River, its tribu-taries or streams within the region.

“But we are very keen to prevent its establishment within our streams and waterways.”

To identify or report salvinia or other water weeds, download the MyWeedWatcher mobile app or contact Pest and Disease information services on info@agric.wa.gov.au or 1800 084 881.

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