Hyacinth blooms under the Fitzroy Barrage January 2021
Hyacinth blooms under the Fitzroy Barrage January 2021

WATCH: Fitzroy gets deluge Mt Morgan so desperately needs

As the Fitzroy Barrage opens and hyacinth spills down the Fitzroy River, it seems a potentially valuable commodity is going to waste.

Acting Mayor and plant expert Neil Fisher said the hyacinth could provide a nutrient-rich ‘super mulch’ if it were harvested.

Sadly, it seems neither council nor private business can make the enormous task of collecting it viable.

At the weekend the Fitzoy barrage storage level increased by 10 per cent to reach 100 per cent capacity, allowing the gates to open and water to flow through, pushing the green weed with it.

Planning and Regulatory Councillor Ellen Smith said while council was proactive in managing the weeds, there were limitations to controlling the amount that moved downstream.

“There is the challenge that the weed may be growing in other areas and float down in the water during these river flow events,” said Cr Smith.

“Council manages the hyacinth using an approved chemical treatment spray as well as a successful biocontrol program which utilises a certain species of weevils to combat the growth of pest plants that are damaging native ecosystems and affecting water flow.

“We encourage boat owners to be cautious while launching, and to ensure any boats moored in the river are monitored closely by their owners for the possible build-up of weeds.”

Cr Fisher emphasised the state and federal governments had to provide local councils with more funding if they were to get on top of not only invasive weeds but also pests such as deer and feral pigs.

Meanwhile, the residents of Mt Morgan still face a water crisis as their dam levels continue to fall.

Hyacinth blooms above the Fitzroy Barrage January 2021
Hyacinth blooms above the Fitzroy Barrage January 2021

Water and Supporting a Better Environment Councillor Donna Kirkland said the water security in parts of the Rockhampton region was unrivalled elsewhere in Queensland.

“The barrage is truly a magnificent piece of infrastructure, and yet again has provided us with enough water for the foreseeable future,” Cr Kirkland said.

“However we shouldn’t forget that it would only take one dry year for us to be in a much less secure position, so it’s important that we remain water wise and conserve this important resource.

“I also want to take the opportunity to commend the most water wise residents of all – those in Mount Morgan – for doing their bit until we get the rain that’s desperately needed for the No. 7 Dam.”



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