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Potential weed outbreak prevented

Tuesday 18 December 2018

An attempt to distribute a potentially devastating aquatic weed in the shire has been thwarted thanks to the diligence of Eurobodalla Council’s invasive species team.

Amazon Frogbit, a highly-invasive aquatic weed, was recently discovered being traded on multiple Facebook Buy Swap Sell sites.

Council’s invasive species supervisor Paul Martin said Amazon Frogbit was prohibited biosecurity matter in NSW and posed an enormous risk to local freshwater environments.

“If it’s released into dams or waterways, it could potentially cost hundreds of thousands of ratepayers’ dollars to remediate,” he said.

“We’ve seen it happen before with the accidental release of the aquatic weed Salvinia, which was washed into our local stormwater system. It quickly spread and we’ve spent the past seven years, and more than $100,000, trying to remove it from our area.

“Fortunately in this case none of the Amazon Frogbit was distributed in the Eurobodalla.”

Mr Martin said the person involved was unaware the plant was prohibited. He worked with them to dispose of the plant, remove the advertisement from Facebook and follow up with anyone who enquired on the post.

The matter has been reported to the NSW Department of Primary Industries, and investigations are continuing into where the plant was sourced.

Mr Martin urged residents to be aware of their obligations on what plants can and can’t be legally sold, traded or distributed – all it takes is a quick search on the NSW WeedWise website.

“Council monitors all local trading sites, such as Facebook and Gumtree, for illegal activity,” Mr Martin said.

“Dealing with prohibited matter is an offence, and severe penalties including jail time are possible. At the very least, a $2,000 penalty notice may be issued.”