Declared Plant Policy under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004




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Declared Plant Policy

under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004

leafy elodea (Egeria densa)

Leafy elodea is a submerged aquatic perennial that builds up dense infestations in shallow, nutrient-rich, slow-moving or stationary water. It is known from a few localities in South Australia.
The declared plant elodea (Elodea canadensis) is similar to leafy elodea, and is the subject of a separate policy.


Management Plan for Leafy elodea




Outcomes





  • Maintain waterways free of blockages and keep wetlands free of major weeds.



Objectives





  • Prevent further introduction of leafy elodea to waterways and wetlands.




  • Contain and destroy any infestations as they occur.



Implementation





  • All leafy elodea infestations to be contained and destroyed as discovered.




  • All sale and movement of leafy elodea to be prevented.




  • NRM authorities to inspect waterways and wetlands for the presence of water weeds.




  • NRM authorities to inspect premises such as pet shops, aquarium supplies and garden shops for leafy elodea.



Regional Implementation
Refer to regional management plans for further details.


NRM Region

Actions

Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected

Alinytjara Wilurara

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected

Eyre Peninsula

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected

Kangaroo Island

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected

Northern and Yorke

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected

South Australian Arid Lands

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected

South Australian Murray Darling Basin

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected

South East

prevent entry or sale; destroy if detected

Declaration

To implement this policy, leafy elodea is declared under the Natural Resources Management Act, 2004 throughout the whole of the State of South Australia. The movement or transport of the plant on a public road by itself or as a contaminant, its entry to South Australia, or sale by itself or as a contaminant are prohibited. Notification of infestations is necessary to ensure these are destroyed. Land owners are required to destroy any leafy elodea plants growing on their properties.


Leafy elodea is declared in category 1 under the Act, for the purpose of setting maximum penalties and for other purposes. Any permit to allow its movement or sale can only be issued by the Chief Officer pursuant to section 188.
The following sections of the Act apply to leafy elodea throughout each of the NRM regions noted below:


Region

Sections of Act



AMLR

AW

EP

KI

NY

SAAL

SAMDB

SE

175(1) Prohibiting entry to area

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

175(2) Prohibiting movement on public roads

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

177(1) Prohibiting sale of the plant

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

177(2) Prohibiting sale of contaminated goods

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

180 Requiring notification of infestations

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

182(1) Landowners to destroy the plant on their properties

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

182(2) Landowners to control the plant on their properties

























185 Recovery of control costs on adjoining road reserves



























Review

This policy is to be reviewed by 2020 or in the event of a change in one or more regional management plans for leafy elodea.



Weed Risk
Invasiveness
Introduction of leafy elodea to a water body depends on human intervention, and is most likely to occur by the dumping of aquarium contents. Its high growth rate under ideal conditions would allow it to increase rapidly. It is not known to produce seed in Australia.
It spreads vegetatively when water flow moves stem fragments long distances to take root and form new infestations elsewhere. Fragments can be transported on boats or flood debris.
Impacts
Leafy elodea is a submerged plant that grows from rhizomes anchored in the mud. It can form dense mats just below the surface of a water body that reduce light penetrating into the water and displace native aquatic vegetation, and may deplete oxygen in the water when they decay.
Infestations can reduce the potential of waterways for recreational uses such as fishing and boating.
Potential distribution
Leafy elodea is adapted to warm-temperate climates where the water temperature rarely exceeds 30°C, and is found in slow-moving freshwater bodies including rivers, lakes, ponds and dams, to depths of 7 metres. It could grow in streams, ponds and dams across the southern part of South Australia as well as the River Murray system.

Feasibility of Containment
Control costs
Submerged aquatic weeds are difficult to eradicate from large water bodies where adding herbicide to the water can pose risks of off-target damage and can be expensive. Underwater vegetation may be harvested and used as compost, but this effect impacts equally on native and introduced species.
Persistence
Regrowth would occur after control by cutting or dredging, and may be exacerbated by re-introduction from cultivation.
Current distribution
Occasional outbreaks of leafy elodea have been found in the lower Torrens and backwaters of the Murray. These remain visible only for a few months while conditions are favourable, and may not persist.


State Level Risk Assessment

Assessment using the Biosecurity SA Weed Risk Management System gave the following comparative weed risk and feasibility of containment scores by land use:




Land use


Weed Risk

Feasibility of control

Response at State Level


Aquatic

medium

51


very high

5


contain spread

alert



Considerations

Native to South America, leafy elodea was introduced to Australia as an aquarium plant and was formerly much used as a laboratory plant in highschool science classes. It is naturalised in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.


Due to its medium weed risk, localised occurrence in the State and very high feasibility of control, leafy elodea is regarded as a State Alert Weed and a high priority surveillance target to increase the likelihood of early detection.
Synonymy
Egeria densa Planch., Ann. Sci. Nat., Bot. sér.3, 11: 80 (1849)
Nomenclatural synonyms:

Anacharis densa (Planch.) Vict., Contr. Lab. Bot. Univ. Montréal 18: 41 (1931)

Elodea densa (Planch.)Casp., Monatsb. Berl. Acad. 49 (1857)

Philotria densa (Planch.) Small, Man. S.E. Fl. [Small] 28 (1933)

Elodea canadensis var. gigantea is a name that has never been formally published but has been used in the horticultural trade.
Other common names include Brazilian elodea, anacharis and dense waterweed.


Hon Ian Hunter MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation
Date: 28 July 2014



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