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Unusual harvester reaps results at Haig Street Quarry

Ipswich City Council enlisted a unique machine to remove the salvinia weed on Haig Street Quarry pond. The result is incredible.

The salvinia weed didn’t stand a chance against the aquatic weed harvester.

Within hours, what had been a thick blanket on the pond surface was all but gone.

Other salvinia control methods, including biological (with salvinia weevil) and chemical, had been tried first at Haig Street Quarry but the fast-spreading weed persisted.

This was the first time this specialist machine developed by Aquatic Weed Harvester Australia had been used by Ipswich City Council.

The amphibian machine had two main benefits – while the front basket scooped up the weed, the back aerated the water.

Aeration was important because the salivinia weed grows a thick mat of vegetation that impedes oxygen exchange, making the water unsuitable for fish and other animals.

There will be ongoing maintenance to remove small amounts of salvinia on the edge of the pond and a variety of semi-aquatic plants will be established to increase the pond’s quality habitat.

6 facts about salvinia (Salvinia molesta)

It’s a Weed of National Significance and regarded as one of the worst aquatic weeds in Australia because of its invasiveness, potential for spread and economic and environmental impacts

  • It’s a free-floating aquatic fern that forms thick mats
  • Under optimal conditions it can double in volume every 2-3 days
  • It prefers slow-moving streams or still-water ponds with high nutrient levels
  • It is mainly spread by people emptying aquariums and ponds into waterways, water currents and fouling of fishing equipment and boat trailers
  • Salvinia destroys wildlife habitat, and creates mosquito-breeding conditions
  • The weed can survive for long periods out of water on moist banks

(Sources: Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy)

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