Aquatic weeds are being removed from parts of the freshwater wetland network in Idalia using an excavator and aquatic booms.

Townsville City Council Community Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability Committee chairperson Maurie Soars said this project would help manage the water quality and ecological health of the wetland as the temperature rises.

“The sediment basin captures fertiliser and grass clippings from stormwater run-off before it enters the main freshwater lake, stopping excess nutrients and improving water quality in the wetlands,” Cr Soars said.

“Manual removal of the weeds from the sediment basin is the best practice method of completing these works as the use of herbicide may kill the weeds, but they sink to the bottom and the nutrients aren’t removed from the system.”

“Managing weeds in these lakes will play a role in removing nutrients from these freshwater environments which will reduce the risk of algal blooms as the weather gets warmer.”

Cr Soars said aquatic booms will be used to sweep the weeds toward the excavator. 

“From there, these weeds are stockpiled to dry out and then turned into mulch and soil which is re-used in projects across the city, feeding into our goals for a circular economy and waste reduction.

“Experienced staff will be on hand to monitor water quality and utilise naturally occurring microbes to reduce odours from the weeds, help settle the disturbed soil and minimise the overgrowth of unhelpful bacteria.

“Out of an abundance of caution, a trained spotter and catcher will also be on site to ensure that no animals are harmed or caught while this work is completed.”

The project began this week and is expected to take 3 weeks to complete, weather and conditions permitting.