Water users advised to prevent the spread of weeds

NSW Government
NSW Government - More than 200 signs targeting water users on how they can play their part in preventing the spread of invasive water weeds will be erected across NSW over the coming months.

'The signs titled ‘Protect our Waterways – prevent the spread of water weeds’ are an important awareness guide and are being placed at priority freshwater boat ramps and canoeing areas across the state,' said Syd Lisle, Leader Invasive Species State Programs with Industry & Investment NSW.

'The signs advise water users to inspect and remove all plant material from their water craft, trailers and equipment before launching and leaving the area.

'All water weeds can be spread downstream in running water, and by fragments attached to boating and fishing equipment, which are then transported to another waterway.

'These new signs are a timely reminder at key popular sites, which is where it matters most – to ensure equipment and vehicles are cleaned down and do not spread water weeds.'

Mr Lisle said 56 of the signs had already been distributed to 17 Shire Councils in the Riverina district and will soon be erected by local Weeds Officers at locations such as Wagga Wagga, Tumut, Albury and Narrandera. The remainder of the 200 signs will go to a further 50 Local Councils before the end of May.

'Water weed management is relevant to all Australians because of the severe impacts they have on our water resources and environment, and our enjoyment of these, and because water weeds are primarily spread through human activity,' he said.

'Water weeds such as alligator weed, salvinia and cabomba can completely smother and choke waterways and irrigation systems, resulting in reduced fish stocks, loss of native plants, loss of recreational opportunity and blocked irrigation channels.

'Over $1 million is spent on managing these three weeds in NSW alone, and this is not including the costs of reduced agricultural production or environmental assets.'

Aquatic weeds project officer Charles Mifsud said boating and fishing equipment, and boat trailers have been the vector causing a number of infestations of cabomba and salvinia in the past.

'So if you are a user of our waterways there is a role you can play in preventing the spread of water weeds,' he said.

'Ultimately actions by water users will hopefully reduce the potential number of alligator weed, cabomba and salvinia infestations and slow the spread of each of the water weeds.'

Mr Mifsud said it was important for everyone to report water weeds to their local council or to Industry & Investment NSW on 1800 680 244.

http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/