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2 February, 2021

Frogbit flushed into the Barron

The carpet of Amazon Frogbit that has been strangling Atherton Creek has been flushed out due to the recent rain however there are fears that this has caused it to take hold in the Barron River.

By Rhys Thomas

Mareeba Shire Council Deputy Mayor Kevin Davies standing in front of a now cleared Atherton Creek after the recent rains.

The carpet of Amazon Frogbit that has been strangling Atherton Creek has been flushed out due to the recent rain however there are fears that this has caused it to take hold in the Barron River. 

Local organisations such as Muluridji Tribal Aboriginal Corp., Sunwater and the Mareeba Shire Council (MSC) have been fighting a losing battle against the invasive weed since it was illegally dumped in Chinaman Creek. 

Chinaman Creek, Atherton Creek and the Granite Creek all quickly succumbed to the weed due to its aggressive nature and spread. 

Now after the recent rains there are fears it has spread into the Barron Riven in mass and local organisations are already at the end of their ropes. 

MSC Deputy Mayor Kevin Davies said that Council has been taking money away from other areas of the budget to help fight the weed. 

“We do what we can within our budget even though it’s not within our realm of responsibility,” he said.

“Our Rural Lands Officer has spent some of his budget monitoring Frogbit in the Mitchell catchment and now he has got that stable. 

“While were spending his money on that there is some other type of weed that misses out, it’s something the state should be doing.” 

Frogbit is an incredibly destructive weed that is detrimental to the ecosystem, it creates a carpet on top of the water, blocking out the sun and sucking oxygen out of the water. 

Currently Frogbit is banned in Victoria, New South Wales and the Northern Territory, but not in Queensland and it can still be bought from shops. 

There was speculation that there were isolated pockets of Frogbit in the Barron and it was confirmed to be between Plowman’s crossing and Biboohra.

“If it was going to cost us $1 million to get rid of it out of Atherton Creek it’s going to cost us $10 million to get it out of Barron River, Granite Creek and Atherton Creek,” Cr Davies said. 

“We don’t have the funds or the manpower to make a massive difference. 

“We cannot use herbicides are people use both the Granite Creek and Barron River as their water supply.” 

Last year a letter was written by members from an Amazon Frogbit Stakeholder Committee which included organisations such as Sunwater, MSC, Muluridji Tribal Aboriginal Corporation, Queensland Parks and Rec and many more. 

This letter was sent to Member for Cook Cynthia Lui asking for the weed to be banned, temporary funding to help stem the tide of the weeds spread and then long-term funding for more permanent eradication. 

As of print (Monday, February 1) Muluridji Tribal Aboriginal Corporation has not responded to The Express’s inquiries about the letter and if they received a response 


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