Ballina Shire Council is moving to combat the infestation of aquatic weeds at Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head

With financial support from the NSW Environmental Trust Restoration and Rehabilitation Grants Program, the council is conducting the Lake Ainsworth Aquatic and Terrestrial Vegetation Restoration Project.

“Lake Ainsworth is a perched freshwater lake of high conservation value under increasing pressure from visitation and recreational usage,” Ballina Shire Council’s natural resources officer James Brideson said.

“The lake is infested with aquatic weeds such as Salvinia and Mexican (Yellow) Water Lily.

The lake is also subject to blue-green algal growth due to high nutrient levels that occur in the lake during certain weather conditions.”

Mr Brideson said the restoration project was targeted at improving the water quality and habitat value of the lake’s waterbody and surrounds.

“A Vegetation Management Plan has been prepared to guide works over the next five years,” he said.

“Introduced aquatic and terrestrial weeds are being controlled and native plant species including reed beds planted.

“Floating ‘reed rafts’ are being installed to trial nutrient absorption and uptake capacity to assist in lowering nutrient levels in the lake – a major contributor to the blue-green algal infestations.”

In June the Far North Coast Weeds Authority will be controlling Salvinia and Mexican Water Lily in the lake as a part of the project.

Control measures involve the use of a low-toxicity herbicide targeting these particular weed species. Signs will be erected on the day to inform the public when control measures are in place.

Native reeds and rushes have been propagated by the council and will also be planted in the lake to reduce the risk of further weed infestations.

“This project is combined with the Lennox Head Landcare Group’s and Lennox Head Residents Association’s valuable restoration efforts in the surrounding dunes and heathland,” Mr Brideson said.