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Removal of Salvinia weed on Wyong River

By Central Coast Council
Posted: 21 Mar 2024
Central Coast Council Water and Sewer is working with the State Government to act quickly in removing Salvinia weed recently identified on Wyong River.

Salvinia is a free-floating weed that thrives in warmer weather forming dense mats of vegetation on water surfaces. The declared plant was identified in March on Wyong River Weir area near Wyong Milk Factory.

In managing the Salvinia, booms were installed on the river surface in four locations along the river last week. These aim to contain the Salvinia in these areas and keep the weed in designated places during the removal process. Manual removal of the weed started yesterday west of the Allison Road bridge, following the arrival of aquatic machinery required for the work. Manual weed removal is estimated to take four to six weeks with any heavy rainfall impacting timings.

Council Director for Water and Sewer Jamie Loader said Council is working with Crown Lands in the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI) in supporting the removal of the weed on Wyong River to ensure protection of the Coast’s biodiversity and water quality.

“The bed of Wyong River is owned by Crown Lands. The river is one of our community’s valuable water resources and a sensitive aquatic ecosystem. Council intermittently harvests water from the river through to Mardi Water Treatment Plant where it is treated and made safe for our community to drink.

“We would like to see the Wyong River protected and conserved, free from Salvinia and other forbidden plants. This weed spreads rapidly and action needs to occur quickly. To further mitigate risk, Council is also working with the community to survey private properties near Wyong River Weir where the weed may be present.

“We have increased the frequency of water quality testing and surveillance and continue to monitor the situation to ensure the safety of drinking water supply. There is currently no direct threat to the drinking water supply, and we are currently not pumping water from the Wyong River pump station,” Mr Loader said.

Council has been liaising with Crown Lands on the issue and will provide details of its work program to discuss potential joint funding contributions toward the removal of the weed.

A weed-eating weevil will be introduced to the area to manage the Salvinia weed levels long-term. Cooler temperatures in upcoming months are also expected to decrease the likelihood of the weed spreading.

Council’s Administrator, Rik Hart said that the removal of the weed is another example of efforts to ensure a safe and secure water future for the Coast.

“Acting quicky to locate and remove Salvinia from Wyong River area safeguards the water resource for all life forms that live in and use the waterway. It supports a resilient and sustainable water future with reliable, quality drinking water for the Central Coast,” Mr Hart said.

About Salvinia
Salvinia (Salvinia molesta) is native to South America however is found across Australia. It is listed as a Weed of National Significance and must not be sold anywhere in NSW.

Salvinia spreads though:
- Attaching to boats, trailers, and vehicles
- Attaching to animals such as water birds, turtles, or cattle.
- Human activities such as keeping it in fishponds or aquariums and inappropriate disposal of the plant.
- Once in a waterway the plants can be spread by water flows especially floods and wind.

What to do if you locate Salvinia
If you have small quantities of Salvinia in your home fish tanks or ponds, place the weed in a bag and dispose of it in your red lid general waste bin. Never dispose of water, plants or animals from home aquariums and ponds within our local waterways.

If you have large quantities of Salvinia on your property or you have noticed it in local waterways, please contact Council on 02 4306 7900.

To learn more, read our Salvinia Fact Sheet search ‘salvinia’ at HERE

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