Lake Benalla is set to be drawn down to get rid of aquatic weed cabomba, which smothers native vegetation.
The lake will start to be lowered during the last week of January to help get rid of the weed.
Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority project co-ordinator Tim Barlow said as well as covering native aquatic vegetation that acted as a habitat for animals, fish and waterbugs, cabomba also clogged pumps and filters.
‘‘It also seriously compromises the aesthetic and recreational value of waterways and wetlands and poses a real water-quality hazard to people and animals,’’ Mr Barlow said.
‘‘Lowering the lake for a couple of months will expose the weed to air and dry it out.
‘‘This is the most effective and efficient way to get rid of cabomba and is safer than using sprays or other chemicals.
‘‘Lowering of the lake has been successful in the past and has reduced the weed population significantly.’’
Mr Barlow said in 2007 cabomba covered the majority of the lake and caused major issues for the town.
‘‘Today it’s at a manageable level. Drying it now can reduce the weed again,’’ he said.
A survey of the lake’s platypus population will be done before and after the drawdown, with the public invited to attend a spotlight walk mid-January.
‘‘A small channel of water – the original course of the Broken River before the lake was created — will remain, which will help native animals, fish and other creatures move to other sections of the river while the level is being lowered,’’ Mr Barlow said.
‘‘It will also be a good opportunity to remove any rubbish and debris that has been dumped or washed into the lake over the past few years.’’
Cabomba is an introduced plant that is often used in aquariums.
It has fan-shaped, brownish ferny leaves that sit mostly underwater, with a white flower floating on the surface.
To prevent further infestations, it is essential that aquarium plants be composted and not disposed of in or near waterways.
Goulburn Broken CMA is working with Benalla Rural City Council and Goulburn-Murray Water on the project, which is funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.