Amazon Frogbit has been declared a local pest following an emergency declaration made by Council today.
Under Council’s Local Law No. 3 (Community and Environmental Management) Councillors unanimously moved the emergency declaration and amended the relative Subordinate Local Law to include Limnobium Laevigatum (Amazon Frogbit) as a declared local pest for three months.
Mareeba Shire Mayor Angela Toppin said Council has been lobbying the State and Federal Governments for many months to have the weed recognised as an invasive plant.
“Frogbit has been a concern of the community and Council for some time and we recognise the devastating effect the plant is having on our waterways and environment,” Cr Toppin said.
“The weed was identified in the Council’s new Biosecurity Plan which was released last year and now we are taking further action to prompt the Government to declare Frogbit as an invasive plant,” Cr Toppin said.
Frogbit is a floating freshwater plant from Central and South America. It has been kept and traded for use in fishponds, aquariums and water features.
Mayor Toppin said the community has seen how rapidly the weed can invade and smother waterways.
“Atherton Creek and Granite Creek in Mareeba were absolutely covered in the weed and it was near impossible to remove the dense mat covering the waterways,” Cr Toppin said.
“The weed was flushed downstream after a deluge however it now poses a threat to the Barron River.”
Declaring Amazon Frogbit as a local pest will prohibit the sale, propagating or harbouring the weed. The law will also allow Council to enter properties to conduct inspections for the declared pest.
The plant can have significant environmental impacts to the waterways by preventing native water plants from growing, reducing light, food and shelter for fish and other aquatic animals and blocking waterways and irrigation channels.
The report presented to Council also highlighted that the state of New South Wales and Brisbane City Council have already declared Amazon Frogbit a pest.
Council will begin the process to have Amazon Frogbit declared as a local pest permanently in Council’s local law.