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Rangers to tackle noxious weed on Manning River

Aboriginal Rangers from Taree Indigenous Development and Employment Ltd (TIDE) will hit the Upper Manning Catchment in canoes this month in a bid to help eradicate a noxious aquatic weed.

Hunter Local Land Services (LLS) have partnered with Mid North Coast Weeds Coordinating Committee, Gloucester Shire Council and TIDE to control the noxious weed, Senegal Tea along a stretch of the Manning River between Barrington and Bundook.

Under the supervision of Gloucester Shire Council's Weed Officer, Mark Tull, the team will canoe along the 30 kilometre stretch of river, pulling weeds from the bank and creek bed by hand then bagging them for disposal.

Senegal Tea (Gymnocoronis spilanthoides) is a highly invasive and destructive aquatic weed occurring in scattered infestations in New South Wales. It is a hardy plant with a rapid growth rate, growing on the banks of watercourses and in shallow water, which impacts on natural flows of waterways.

It is hoped that the rangers will help put a further dent in the plant's distribution area, which has been weeded six times over the past two years.

'When council started treating it two years ago we got it just time. We're very lucky because it could have become a major problem,' said Mr Tull.

'It's tricky to get every piece in one pass so we have a five-year program of essential follow ups to make sure the weed is completely eradicated.'

To prepare the new team for the task, the rangers, who have recently completed their Certificate IV in Conservation and Land Management, undertook canoe safety training earlier this month at the Barrington Outdoor Adventure Centre.

'I'm very pleased that the men have the opportunity to participate in projects like this to add to their skills,' said TIDE CEO John Clark OAM.

The rangers are currently employed by TIDE under the Working on Country Program funded by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The rangers will be weeding along the river two days per week for four weeks.

Senegal Tea is a perennial plant that can grow in dense stands or as clumped bushes up to 1 m high. Stems are ribbed, pale green with tapered dark green leaves and have white, pom-pom-like flowers.

Any individuals who see Senegal Tea in waterways are advised to contact their local council's weeds officer immediately. They should not attempt to remove the weed themselves as small pieces of the plant can easily self-propagate downstream.