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Lake refilling after drawdown

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April 12, 2018

Lake Benalla is refilling after being drawdown for the past two months to help control the aquatic weed cabomba.

Lake Benalla is refilling after being drawdown for the past two months to help control the aquatic weed cabomba.

The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority worked with Benalla Rural City Council to drawdown the lake to control the weed, which is a serious threat to water quality, human safety, lake aesthetics as well as plants and animals.

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s Tim Barlow said the recent spell of warm weather had helped dry-out exposed plants.

‘‘Exposing the cabomba to air and drying it out is the only effective control method as no viable chemical options exist,’’ Mr Barlow said.

He also thanked the community for their support and co-operation during the drawdown.

‘‘We would also like to thank people who helped with monitoring local wildlife during the drawdown,’’ he said.

Mr Barlow said the lake would now fill naturally with rainfall.

‘‘This drawdown has helped control cabomba in the lake, but we suspect an isolated population may exist upstream in the Holland’s Creek catchment, possibly in a dam or billabong,’’ he said.

Unfortunately, while the lake was refilling a report of a dead platypus was received.

An autopsy by local vets indicated the animal was a juvenile female and was most likely killed by a fox.

Australian Platypus Conservancy’s Melody Serena said predation by foxes, as well as cats and dogs, was one of the main threats to platypus.

‘‘The predation risk during the drawdown was certainly reduced by maintaining connected aquatic corridors, but not entirely eliminated for animals travelling through shallow water near the edge of the channel,’’ Dr Serena said.

‘‘Juveniles generally tend to be less wary than older animals and hence are at greater risk of being taken.

‘‘As well as supporting fox-control programs, people could help protect platypus and other native wildlife by encouraging native shrubs, grasses and sedges to grow along waterways.

‘‘The presence of fringing vegetation makes it harder for foxes to detect a platypus in the first place and easier for a platypus to escape from a predator.’’

●Dr Serena encouraged anyone interested in becoming part of a volunteer group to monitor Lake Benalla’s platypus population to phone the Conservancy on 51575568 or platypus.apc@westnet.com.au

●Anyone seeing a platypus in the Benalla area can also report the details at www.platypus.asn.au

●Anyone who thinks there may be cabomba present in a dam or billabong on their property can phone Tim Barlow on 58227700 or email reception@gbcma.vic.gov.au

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