An amphibious machine with a 250kg payload is bringing life back to waterways in Baldwin Swamp by ridding it of the invasive Salvinia weed.
The truxor is on hire from Fraser Coast Regional Council and works by reaching underwater to remove the weed by the bucket load.
Bundaberg Regional Council land protection officer Guy Hancock said Salvinia was threatening a number of species which call Baldwin Swamp home.
“Salvinia was introduced as an aquarium plant which, due to its properties, it doubles in size in about two weeks given the right conditions,” Guy said.
“People over the years have dumped it in waterways thinking they’re doing the right thing, it gets in to waterways and just chokes out everything else completely.
“The Salvinia will completely cover the water which reduces the oxygen level for any fish or any other aquatic species.
“So it can be a really big threat.”
And the weed had certainly found its ideal conditions within Baldwin Swamp, blanketing the lagoon.
“We rely on incoming rain events to flush these lagoons,” he said.
“As we’ve had no substantial rain events, the Salvinia has been able to increase in size which is why we’ve got the machine in to harvest it.
“What we have is called a truxor. It’s an amphibious work platform and on the front of it is a rake attachment.
“It scoops down under the Savlinia and just moves it up on to the bank.”
Once on the bank the weed, which Guy said was 90 per cent water, dries out and becomes suitable for use as mulch.
He said the truxor was a very effective way to reduce Salvinia infestations.
“It’s down in the water and its got a 250 kilo lifting limit in the bucket so you can get quite a substantial amount.
“There’s no other cost-efficient way, mechanical of removing it that we’ve come across yet.”
The improvements have been immediate for the weed-choked waterways.
“It’s an enormous amount,” he said.
“We’ve been going now for seven days.
“Straight away we’ve seen birds return to the waterway.
“By improving water quality we will improve the conditions for wildlife.”
Mayor Jack Dempsey said the immediate outcomes of the project were fantastic.
“Council takes its environmental responsibility seriously, so it is wonderful to see the Salvinia weed infestation being so significantly reduced here at Baldwin Swamp,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“Through our maintenance of these waterways we are supporting the aquatic and bird life that calls this area home.”
Guy said the project would be finalised this week.
Bundaberg Regional Council’s land protection team is taking to a coordinated approach to ridding the region's waterways of aquatic weeds as part of the wider Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils’ (WBBROC) Operation Aquatic.