Alligator weed infestations pose a major threat.
Alligator weed infestations pose a major threat.

Weeding out invader

THERE has been an alligator attack in the Richmond River.

Alligator weed, one of the ‘world’s worst weeds’, was this week found at two new locations near Woodburn – at Swan Bay and at the entry to Rocky Mouth Creek.

Ross Garsden, from Far North Coast Weeds, said the discovery was a ‘major concern’.

“We see alligator weed as the single largest environmental and economic threat to the region,” he said.

“Its potential impact has been well-documented elsewhere and this is one weed the region really does not want.

“Prevention is definitely better than cure and our best defence is to keep it out.”

Although classified as an aquatic weed, it can also grow on dry land and it spreads quickly. It is a major threat to sugar cane crops.

Mr Garsden said it was an ‘aggressive invader’ and that even the smallest fragment could cause new infestations.

“The floods earlier in the year raised the threat level to very high and Far North Coast Weeds ran an information day at Woodburn in August to raise awareness amongst canegrowers and other landowners on the Richmond floodplain,” he said.

During this week’s targeted surveillance exercise, the length of the Richmond River from Coraki to Woodburn was checked, with one crew also exploring the mouth of Bungawalbin Creek.

“The good news is that no new sites were discovered downstream of Woodburn,” Mr Garsden said.

“The next frontier is the Bungawalbin and Tuckean wetland complexes, the Evans River and the cane farms that occupy much of the floodplain.

“We’ll need the entire community to help find and eradicate this weed.”

The new outbreaks will be treated next week.

To obtain more information on alligator weed, or to report it, call Far North Coast Weeds on 6623 3833.



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