WEED CONTROL: Shannon Van Nunen from Fitzroy Basin Association, Councillors Smith and Wickerson oversee the weevils at work.
WEED CONTROL: Shannon Van Nunen from Fitzroy Basin Association, Councillors Smith and Wickerson oversee the weevils at work. Contributed

REVEALED: The special insects used to control our waterways

AN army of weevils have been used to control Rockhampton's waterways from being choked with aquatic weeds.

The fingernail-sized weevils are regarded as the perfect bio-control measure to prevent the waterways from being choked with aquatic weeds including salvinia, water lettuce and particularly now, the water hyacinth.

The weevils tackle aquatic weeds by laying their larvae in the plant stems, killing the weed entirely.

During their meeting this morning, members of the Rockhampton Regional Council committee explored a number of issues but it was the region's pest problems that drew the most spirited discussion.

August's Monthly Operations Report explained how during the month, there was a media launch of Rockhampton Council's joint Biosecurity Project with the Fitzroy Basin Association where they gave away thousands of weevils to property owners on the Fitzroy River.

WEED CONTROL: Rockhampton Council's are working  the Fitzroy Basin Association, giving away thousands of weevils  to prevent the waterways from being choked with aquatic weeds.
WEED CONTROL: Rockhampton Council's are working the Fitzroy Basin Association, giving away thousands of weevils to prevent the waterways from being choked with aquatic weeds. Contributed

Working with partnerships, constant monitoring and perseverance, the infestation is currently being managed effectively by the Fitzroy Basin Association with the listed benefits including better water quality, improved fishery habitats, and reduced breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

The FBA provided $20,000 of the Australian Government's Reef program funding to extend the number of tanks managed by Rockhampton Regional Council.

WEED CONTROL: Rockhampton Council's are working  the Fitzroy Basin Association, giving away thousands of weevils  to prevent the waterways from being choked with aquatic weeds.
WEED CONTROL: Rockhampton Council's are working the Fitzroy Basin Association, giving away thousands of weevils to prevent the waterways from being choked with aquatic weeds. Contributed

A Pathway Weevil Licence has been developed, allowing council to capture details of weevil release locations, the amount of infected aquatic weed being released and inspection dates with future follow up inspections to monitor progress.

The committee revealed that preparations have commenced with the release of the prospectus for Small Landholder Day at the Showgrounds on October 6, with 16 confirmed stallholders and seven more tentative.

To date there has been 10 confirmed presenters.

During the committee meeting, Councillor Neil Fisher warned there was an extensive weed infestation upstream of council's jurisdiction and a pressing need for RRC to partner with other councils, including Livingstone Shire Council, for a coordinated response.

He praised the ongoing efforts of Banana Shire on the water weed control front.

Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow described it as a "catchment wide problem” and Rockhampton's ratepayers shouldn't be forced to carry the bulk of the financial burden.

She flagged a meeting due to take place in a week's time where she planned to raise the issue with LSC.

The councillors discussed taking a fact finding boat trip upstream to see the extent of the problem first-hand.

The issue of deer numbers and possible control measures was also raised by Cr Fisher.

He was concerned that people coming across fighting bucks during breeding season was a threat to safety.

Recent photo of a deer taken just off Lakes Creek Road.
Recent photo of a deer taken just off Lakes Creek Road. Contributed

He also believed there needed to be increased signage to warn motorists of deer crossing areas.

Councillor Ellen Smith said there were currently efforts underway to track deer numbers to allow council to have a greater understanding of the extent of the problem before control efforts were attempted.

She understood that the problem was widespread with up to 100,000 deer currently roaming Australia's east coast.



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