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22 October, 2020

Fight on to fight Frogbit

IN order to preserve more than 750 kilometres of the Mitchell River, a stakeholder committee has been formed and will lead the fight against the Amazon Frogbit.

By Rhys Thomas

IN order to preserve more than 750 kilometres of the Mitchell River, a stakeholder committee has been formed and will lead the fight against the Amazon Frogbit.

Organisations such as Muluridji Tribal Aboriginal Corp. RNTBC have been fighting a losing battle against the invasive weed since it was found in the Atherton and Granite creek.

Amazon Frogbit is used recreationally in aquariums and fish ponds but when released into open waterways it quickly spreads and smothers the waterways destroying the local ecosystem like a virus.

Although the weed is still legally sold in Queensland, Mareeba Shire Council has added it to their Biosecurity Plan which will help future spread and containment of the weed.

Mareeba Shire Council Deputy Mayor Kevin Davies wants council to do everything it can to contain and prevent the spreading of Amazonian Frogbit.

“We have to keep advocating to the state to get it declared as a weed and get some money to contain it,” he said.

“We will keep advocating and supporting anyone fighting the spread of this weed to get rid of it as soon as possible.

“I just hope people know what this weed does, they just have to go down to Atherton Creek to see it.”

The weed has now found its way down to the Granite Bridge in Mareeba and fears are that should it spread to the Mitchell River, over 750km of diverse ecosystem could be destroyed.

A meeting was held on Friday, October 9 and saw organisations like Sunwater, Queensland Parks and Wildlife, Mareeba Shire Council, Muluridji Aboriginal Corporation and others all attend to discuss the best course of action to fight the weed.

Paul Fisk, Project Officer with Muluridji Tribal Aboriginal Corp, said the dangers this weed possess to the waterways in Far North Queensland and how the weed will be fought going forward.

“As we discussed today these weed problems take a long time to go away and they require long term sustained effort and funding,” he said.

“Ultimately our plan is to set up a permanent Indigenous weed management team in the upper catchments of the Barron and Mitchell Rivers to fight this weed.

“At the moment the weed is freely available and until it gets listed as a regulatory weed you will never get control over it.”

A proposal and brief strategy was drawn up from the findings of the meeting and will be used to apply for both short term funding to contain the weed and stop it spreading coupled with long term funding for a more permanent solution.

A network will be set up to better inform the public of the weed and it’s dangers and the meeting stakeholders are all lobbying to get Amazon Frogbit listed as a regulatory weed.


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