Shoalhaven City Council is pleased to announce they are assisting the CSIRO in trialing a new important weed control endeavour. The CSIRO is researching a biocontrol agent to help contain the spread of the invasive Sea Spurge weed (Euphorbia paralias).
Sea Spurge is an invasive plant that infests beaches and dunes across Southern Australia. Beaches often become heavily infested with this weed species, which limits beach access, ruins nesting areas for threatened shorebirds and creates a human health risk with the sap from the plant capable of causing skin and eye irritations. Currently, the Shoalhaven has been able to keep the infestation in check with regular, integrated controlled efforts.
Shoalhaven City Mayor Amanda Findley said she is pleased to see the trial will take place along the Sussex Inlet and Manyana beaches.
“The CSIRO’s new biocontrol agent trial is a project that could save our beaches from becoming inundated with the Sea Spurge weed. This will not only protect our beaches but also protect other beaches throughout Australia” Clr Findley said.
When a Sea Spurge plants become established on a beach or dune, they eject a large number of seeds which can travel long distances in the ocean and survive for several years in the water. The CSIRO is researching this biological control agent as another means of reducing the spread of Sea Spurge , however, the community is being assured that the use of these agents is safe for beach goers.
“I would like to assure the community that the research on releasing a biocontrol agent is extremely advanced and has been through a rigorous process before any environmental trials are engaged” Clr Findley said.
“Shoalhaven is one of many regions around Australia that will be undertaking the trial. These biocontrol initiatives will reduce the need for chemical control measures, whilst also potentially saving our beaches from this weed ” Clr Findley noted.
The CSIRO trial began in the Shoalhaven in early May and will continue throughout the year.