CLEAN-UP: Jim Madden MP, Greg Greene, principal source protection planning and Mark Waud, senior scientist at the SEQ Water Kholo site.
CLEAN-UP: Jim Madden MP, Greg Greene, principal source protection planning and Mark Waud, senior scientist at the SEQ Water Kholo site. Cordell Richardson

$7M and beetles to fight of invasive Chinese species

SEQWATER has taken up the fight against the foreign invaders that threaten to spoil our most precious resource.

At the top of the hit list, the notorious Chinese Elm, also known as Chinese Celtis, which had smothered a section of the Brisbane River's northern bank at Kholo.

Seqwater principal source protection planner Greg Greene said the problem is not so much the the tree itself, but the fact that it is deciduous and drops its leaves, to the detriment of water quality only 4km upstream from the Mt Crosby water treatment plant.

"Chinese Celtis has become quite prolific and it can cause a high organic load on the water,' he said.

"Out teams have been trying to keep it out of this area by physically removing trees and take away that risk to water quality.”

Almost $7 million has been set aside over the next five years to attack invasive weeds that threaten our water supply.

Under an extended partnership with Health Land and Water, key water ways will be targeted for the removal of weeds and the reinstatement of natural buffers to protect water quality.

With Mt Crosby treatment plant supplying about half of the Ipswich and Brisbane area's drinking water, the Ipswich section of the Brisbane River is a major focus.

Starting in April this year, a crew of eight attacked the Kholo banks with chainsaws, mulchers and excavators to remove dozens of Chinese Elms.

Further upstream, more crews targeted cat's claw and madeira vine, which also pose a big threat to native vegetation on the banks of the Brisbane.

Project manager Mark Waud said human teams had another weapon up their sleeve, in the form of the tiny jewel beetle, which feeds on cat's claw.

"We have started biological control on cat's claw, by releasing 35,000 beetles,” he said.

Seqwater is also working with HLW in the Lake Baroon catchment, Noosa, Mary River and Pine Rivers.

HLW CEO Julie McLellan said working collaboratively meant larger areas could be covered.

"What makes this program special is the fact we are working with landholders and local groups across multiple waterways and catchments which have previously been done as a one-off or in isolation, Ms McLellan said.



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