Continuing the fight against noxious weed in Wallagoot Lake

The NSW Department of Primary Industries is continuing its work to control a noxious weed in Wallagoot Lake, on the NSW Far South Coast, Jane Frances, NSW DPI Manager Aquatic Biosecurity & Risk Management, said today.

Caulerpa taxifolia (Caulerpa) is listed as a noxious species in NSW.

First discovered in Wallagoot Lake on the Far South Coast in 2007, to date Caulerpa has been found in 14 estuaries and lakes in NSW.

"The NSW DPI has been leading a multi-agency effort to control Caulerpa, working closely with a range of stakeholders to minimise the spread of the aquatic pest to other parts of the Lake," Ms Frances said.

This week, the control work is being resourced by NSW DPI, Bega Valley Shire Council, Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority, Bournda Environmental Education Centre and Department of Environment and Climate Change.

"We are fortunate to have enthusiastic and supportive stakeholders assist us in the fight against Caulerpa in Wallagoot Lake, and hope that this week’s control efforts will reduce the density of the weed even further," Ms Frances said.

"This week NSW DPI, Bournda Environmental Education Centre and local volunteers will commence another round of salt application on the weed in Wallagoot Lake, which is the most efficient control method on smaller infestations.

"When swimming pool salt is put on Caulerpa, the salinity rises to a point where the weed is killed in a matter of hours.

"In the past these efforts have resulted in some existing areas being reduced significantly in size.

"It’s important we remain vigilant and control this noxious weed. Caulerpa is a threat to our native marine environment, as it spreads quickly and can potentially impact native seagrasses and possibly reduce fish stocks.

"It is vital that people are aware of the presence of Caulerpa in Wallagoot Lake, and that if fragments are found on any fishing or boating gear, such as fishing rods or anchors, that they are removed and put in the bin.

"Caulerpa can easily become entangled in fishing and boating gear.

"To reduce the risk of the spread by fishing activities, a closure is in place over the existing Caulerpa beds."

NSW DPI will continue to conduct further monitoring of the weed in Wallagoot Lake, and discuss potential future options for its management.

Images of Caulerpa taxifolia, and photos of NSW DPI staff controlling Caulerpa in Wallagoot Lake are available on request.

Further reading

Caulerpa taxifolia

Read about the award-winning research paper that underpinned this novel approach to weed suppression.