Emergency Response to Combat Sagittaria
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is surveying Darwin’s rural area for the invasive weed Sagittaria (Sagittaria platyphylla) as part of an emergency response following its recent discovery at a Howard Springs property.
DENR regional weeds officer Roni Opden said Sagittaria is a Weed of National Significance (WoNS) that can have a devastating effect on the environment by choking wetlands and waterways. It is the same plant subject to an urgent recall following its sale from Top End hardware stores Bunnings (Darwin and Palmerston) and Mitre 10 (Katherine) between 12 August and 9 September 2016.
DENR is also urging Territorians to check their yards for Sagittaria and report any possible sightings to the Weed Management Branch on 89994567.
“The urgent recall led to the recovery of 15 of the 28 Sagittaria plants sold and I thank everyone who has called to say they had this plant,” Ms Opden said.
“Surprisingly, one Howard Springs resident who contacted us said she was given Sagittaria by her dad 10 years ago and a subsequent inspection found it to be living in an isolated pond on her property with efforts now underway to quarantine the pond and have the weed destroyed.
“The possibility of spread by birds and rain means the risk of establishment is high and we urge Territorians to check their yards for Sagittaria and report possible sightings to 89994567 as this Howard Springs resident has done.”
The Weed Management Branch will undertake further survey for Sagittaria, both in cultivated and natural settings surrounding the confirmed occurrence in Howard Springs. Previously a Class C (not to be introduced into the NT) weed, it has recently been added to the Class A (to be eradicated) list of weeds in the Northern Territory, and it is illegal to cultivate and/or sell Sagittaria in the Northern Territory.
“Sagittaria is a highly invasive aquatic plant that can live in or around water,” Ms Opden said.
“Interstate, Sagittaria causes significant impacts on irrigation channels.
“Severe infestations can restrict flows in wetlands and natural waterways, adversely affecting biodiversity and impacting on recreational activities.
“Since detection Sagittaria has shown it is well suited to the Top End climate, indicating that it may prove to be highly invasive and difficult to control if allowed to escape into the Territory’s environment.”
Go to www.nt.gov.au/weeds for more information