Seqwater has begun using remote control mini-helicopters to deliver precision attacks against invasive weeds threatening South East Queensland’s water supply.
The organisation is deploying a 3.5m-long Yamaha RMax helicopter above Wappa Dam to attack an infestation of Water Hyacinth in the drinking water storage.
Drones are swiftly becoming an invaluable tool in monitoring and managing aquatic weeds in South East Queensland’s dams and waterways.
Seqwater Biosecurity Officer, Jessica Doman, said some of Seqwater’s catchments are prone to outbreaks of aquatic weeds, such as Water Hyacinth, Salvinia and Cabomba.
Unless properly managed, weeds pose a significant threat to water quality and can deteriorate catchment health.
“We are using drones as part of an integrated weed management strategy, which includes a range of control methods such as mechanical removal, shoreline spraying and using biological agents like weevil larvae that specifically feeds on weed species,” Ms Doman said.
The RMax was capable of carrying a 16L payload of herbicide each flight for targeted weed spraying in difficult-to-access areas.
“In some areas, it can be difficult to get a boat out on the water or spray weeds from the shoreline, so we’ve needed to explore other options like drones for treatment,” Ms Doman said.
“Seqwater manages more than 73,500 hectares of catchment land, so it’s important to look at new, innovative ways to improve our ability to treat both aquatic and terrestrial weeds across such a large area.”