Wrestling with alligator weed in Bendigo Creek

Agriculture Victoria is snapping into action to control alligator weed in Bendigo Creek after wrestling with wetter-than-average conditions for the past two years.

Biosecurity officers are focusing on a 30-kilometre stretch of the creek.

The State prohibited weed – the highest category of declared noxious weed in Victoria – has been found in patches over a stretch of about 30 kilometres of the creek.

Leading Biosecurity Officer Incursion Control Kaitlin Wright said high water levels had prevented weed removal last summer and autumn.

“Consistent treatment has stopped the infested area from expanding, but the high water levels of the past two years have made thorough treatment difficult,” Ms Wright said.

“It’s hoped the seasonal conditions will improve and a more effective control program can return this summer.

“In the meantime, if you’re a farmer with land near the Bendigo Creek – particularly in the Huntly area onwards – please keep an eye out for alligator weed and report it to us.

“Inspect vehicle tyres and equipment if you’ve been working near the creek,” she said.

Alligator weed spreads by high water flows and being transported by humans on vehicle tyres or due to slashing work to maintain drains.

“If mown or cut alligator weed will spread faster as it loves sending out roots from the cuttings.

“It’s also suspected to be harmful in cattle causing skin blisters and cancers from increased sensitivity to the sun.

“The invasive weed can form dense mats that cover large areas of water, push out native plants and reduce bird and fish life,” she said.

“The weed can also choke drains and damage pumps and irrigation equipment and invade cropland.”

Ms Wright said alligator weed has green glossy spear-shaped leaves and hollow stems that range from pale pink to yellow to green, the white papery flowers on stems often resemble common clover flowers but will only be seen in summer.

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