Cabomba Eradication Program Ramps Up At Darwin River

The fight against cabomba (Cabomba caroliniana) has ramped up following the launch of a brand new 4m boat in Darwin today.

The Department of Land Resource Management (DLRM) has targeted the damaging and resilient aquatic Weed of National Significance (WoNS) since it was discovered in October 2004, reducing its spread from 16km to a 1km along a stretch of Darwin River.

DLRM weed management branch director, Geri Lee, said cabomba can choke waterways, wetland ecosystems, fishing and swimming holes and improve mosquito breeding conditions.

“This aquatic weed is fast growing and the last thing we want is for it to spread into Corroboree or Hardies Billabongs or Darwin River Dam and contaminate our drinking water supplies,” Ms Lee said.

“That’s why we have meticulously fought against cabomba for 12 years, managing significant wins along the way, coming close to its eradication.

“This new unsinkable boat Carolin is part of an $850,000 investment announced by the Territory Government earlier this year to help achieve cabomba eradication and has several distinct advantages compared to the old boat, including:

  • GPS/Sounder with down and side imaging used to detect likely cabomba patches not visible to the naked eye and also mark survey waypoints and tracks for monitoring and spraying
  • GPS enabled electronic troll motor to hold the boat midstream while underwater video surveillance is undertaken and/or spraying of cabomba
  • Greater stability and pay load than the old boat enabling fit for purpose spray tanks to be used, improving spray efficiency and less chance of weed officers falling overboard
  • High sides offsetting some of the crocodile risk posed to weed officers.

“This vital funding boost will support the employment of two experienced weeds officers and also deliver more weed monitoring, water quality monitoring, quarantine zone enforcement, public awareness and new approaches to chemical and physical control methods.

“We will also build a new bund wall later this year at the downstream boundary of  the quarantine zone that will better protect downstream saltwater systems including Darwin Harbour.”

Ms Lee reminded Territorians that quarantine restrictions remain in place at Darwin River to facilitate the continued eradication works of the declared aquatic weed cabomba (Cabomba caroliniana) in Lok Landji Billabong.

She said fines of more than $100,000 could apply to anyone caught within the quarantine zone along Darwin River between Cox Peninsula Road and Leonino Road.

Executive Officer of the Amateur Fishermen’s Association, Tristan Sloan, praised the Government’s new funding commitment to eradicating cabomba from the Darwin River.

“AFANT recognises the threat posed by cabomba to recreational fishing in the NT and the disastrous impact of this weed if it were to be spread out of the Darwin River,” Mr Sloan said.

“With this new funding commitment, we look forward to the day that Darwin River can be officially declared Cabomba free.”   

People are encouraged to familiarise themselves with cabomba by visiting www.nt.gov.au/cabomba and report sightings to 8999 4567.

Cabomba