The duck pond at Reg Tanna Park is no longer covered in water lettuce.
The duck pond at Reg Tanna Park is no longer covered in water lettuce.

Major weed problem under control

A POPULAR recreational area has returned to its former glory after the water lettuce plaguing the duck pond at Reg Tanna Park was brought under control.

Water lettuce is a free-floating aquatic weed that rapidly forms dense infestations that cover the surface of entire rivers, dams and irrigation channels.

The infestation of the duck pond resulted in the death of dozens of fish.

Gladstone Regional Council commenced work to control the weed in August 2019, using a biological control, weevils, to reduce the plant.

This was monitored for three months but during that time, rain and heat provided ideal growing conditions and the water lettuce spread.

Dead fish in the duck pond at Reg Tanna Park in December.
Dead fish in the duck pond at Reg Tanna Park in December.

The council conducted another round of biological control in December and continued to monitor the situation.

Manual removal of the weed was considered but deemed unsafe.

Due to the severity of the water lettuce and the weevil not acting quick enough, the council decided to treat the weed with approved chemical control.

Councillor Chris Cameron said the chemical control was conducted in stages to avoid detrimental effects to the pond's water quality and ecosystem.

"Council staff were very mindful of fish and other animals in the area, as well as other water plants to ensure they were only targeting the water lettuce," Cr Cameron said.

"The decision to use chemical control wasn't made lightly."

He said the council would regularly monitor the pond as there was a possibility the weed could return as seeds can remain dormant for some time.

Water lettuce covered the duck pond at Reg Tanna Park, prompting action from Gladstone Regional Council.
Water lettuce covered the duck pond at Reg Tanna Park, prompting action from Gladstone Regional Council.

Water lettuce is considered a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014 and must not be given away, sold or released into the environment without a permit.

Cr Cameron said it was a timely reminder of how an invasive species could cause widespread infestation.

"Water lettuce is popular in aquariums and backyard water gardens, but like any invasive species, it must be disposed of in the correct way and not transported, given away or sold," Cr Cameron said.

"It also highlights the importance of being informed about invasive plants and how these species can cause environmental impacts."

For more information of the effects of invasive plants and weeds, visit gladstone.qld.gov.au.



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