Salvinia at Longneck

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Salvinia at Longneck
From: "Brian Everingham" <>
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001 21:12:31 +1000
I know this is slightly off track but as many here were interested in the fate of Longneck lagoon some time back and I wrote to the NPWS, then posted a report to birdin-aus, I did think that there might be some who would be more than interested in helping. Forgive if off topic too far.
Brian Everingham
Points about the proposed Salvinia control program in Longneck Lagoon.
NPWS is legally obliged to remove Salvinia from the Lagoon, as it is a declared noxious weed.  Perhaps more importantly, if it is not controlled it threatens to disrupt the Lagoon’s ecology so thoroughly that it will be of little value as a wetland habitat for native species.
Salvinia is a highly persistent and aggressive weed (can double in population size every 5-10 days), but it does not breed.  This means that every single piece of the weed must be removed from an area to eradicate it, but that once this is done, there is no seedbank to keep re-infesting the area. NPWS is cautiously optimistic that it can be eradicated completely from Longneck and its catchment, but it will take an intense effort at first, and then a sustained monitoring and removal program over five years at least to ensure no Salvinia remains.
Mechanical removal is the best option for the Lagoon itself.  However, weed on the shoreline must either be removed by hand, or sprayed with herbicide.  Although the available herbicides are relatively benign and not persistent, NPWS strongly prefers manual removal for obvious reasons.  However, the ability to use manual removal as a method rests almost entirely on the availability of volunteer labour.
Manual removal involves careful and thorough searching for any Salvinia plants in the first instance, which can be as small as the fingernail on an adult’s little finger.  After all Salvinia plants are removed from an area, the area must be searched again the following day to see if any plants have been missed.  If no further plants are found, then it should be checked again the following day.  If no plants are found the next day, then it can be left for a week, and searched again.  Essentially, the ideal monitoring regime is:
Search daily until no plants found for two days in a row, then
Search weekly until no plants found for two weeks in a row, then
Search monthly.
If plants are found, return to daily searches and work through again, and so on.
It is possible that experience will allow a slightly more relaxed monitoring regime than this, but it is likely that a regime along these lines will have to continue for five years to be certain that Salvinia has been eradicated.  However, the good news is that the intensity can probably be reduced during the winter months, when frosts affect the weed.  In addition, booms will be placed in the Lagoon to reduce the chance of any undetected outbreak from re-infesting a large area.
Volunteers who don’t mind getting their feet a bit wet (or who own gumboots), and who can concentrate and be thorough about searching for and removing the weed.  We need a large number of volunteers to do the initial intensive removal, and a good number of committed volunteers to come back the next day to do the monitoring after the initial weeding, and hopefully weekly after that for a few weeks.  If we can get sufficient volunteers, we hope to be able to divide the shoreline into sections and give each group a different section so that they know what they are dealing with and the follow-up monitoring will be a much less time-consuming task.  In addition, the group may then be able to share the monitoring of that section amongst its members.  Otherwise, we may have to take the approach that whoever turns up to monitor on a day splits the shoreline sectors up amongst themselves, and has to do a much longer period of monitoring to cover it.  Which approach will depend upon numbers and volunteers’ preferences.
NPWS will provide support (co-ordination, training, access to tools and a cup of tea and possibly a feed) and a lovely day on any day when there is a major weeding operation.  Otherwise, we will provide a beautiful environment, with lots of weed at first, but hopefully much diminished later.  It is hoped that we can obtain funding to provide a (semi-permanent) co-ordinator for the ongoing monitoring and control next financial year and therafter.
We started the mechanical harvesting in the last week of March, and are now working our way through the Lagoon (probably over the next four/five weeks).  Our first lot of volunteers is starting on Monday the 16th (fulltime for a week) but we would anticipate most volunteers would work Mon-Fri., so we hope to get a good roll-up of volunteers on the weekends from now on.  Anyone who can come during the week or on the weekend will be very much appreciated.  If groups can organise their own roster to ensure a rolling presence over the course of a few weeks, that would be amazingly wonderful.
If we can’t get sufficient volunteers, our reliance on herbicides will necessarily be greater, which would be most regrettable, but the Salvinia has to go and so I urge you to do your best to get people interested and enthused.
Interested parties should contact Scheyville NP and register their interest on 02 4572 3100, or fax on 02 4572 3533, or e-mail on m("","cumberland.north");">.  If these contact details don’t work, you can try my phone on 0419 753 787.  We need to know how many volunteers, when they would be available, if anyone has any relevant experience (bush regen., plant identification or similar).  People who have canoeing skills may want to let us know, as it may become relevant.  It is possible that we could help with transport (from Windsor railway station) for people who come for the day, and it is possible that we could provide a place to camp for people who come for more than one day.  Volunteers will need to bring:

 outdoor clothing,
 hats and raingear
 sunscreen,
 possibly mozzie repellent (although there are less around now it’s colder),
 gumboots if they have them, or
 sandshoes that may get wet if no gumboots. 
Volunteers may also want to bring
 a change of clothes, and particularly shoes and socks, and
 a towel (just in case they slip over and get wet).
Volunteers should bring lunch if coming for the day, unless otherwise advised.  (NPWS will not necessarily be able to provide food, but if we get a large number of volunteers on a day, we might try and cater lunch for them.
 Volunteers may want to bring rubber gloves (keep hands drier and warmer)
 Volunteers who are staying overnight will have to talk to us in more detail about what gear to bring for sleeping.  The two possibilities are camping or sleeping in a building (bring own bedding).

Jonathan Sanders
Area Manager
Brian Everingham
PO Box 269
NSW 2233
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