Weed control in Bass River has been taken to new heights.
Melbourne Water will use a helicopter to spray a noxious aquatic weed species across Westernport from February to April 2015.
Work to control the weed, Spartina, is being completed along the lower Bass River, from the Westernport Bay estuary upstream to the Bass Highway at Bass Township.
Melbourne Water Waterways Manager South East Region, Greg Bain, said the unusual method of using a helicopter had been chosen because the majority of the area was not accessible by foot or boat.
“We’re using a snorkel attachment on the helicopter, which reduces spray drift significantly, and minimises the impact on important native vegetation,” said Mr Bain.
“This method is effective and targeted, but as a precaution we’d advise people to keep clear of the aircraft and the areas that are being treated while the works are going on.”
Spartina is an introduced grass originally planted in the 1920s to stabilise shorelines and reclaim mud flats, but is now known to be a major environmental threat to estuaries.
It affects native salt marsh and seagrass, as well as the habitats of migratory bird species and near shore marine animals.
The weed control program is helping to re-establish the indigenous Salt Marsh vegetation in the area, which provides habitat for the critically endangered Orange Bellied Parrot and other local plants and animals.
Works began in late February and run for 14 days total to April; due to tidal and weather influences, the program will not run for consecutive days.