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Cabomba biological control

Close-up of cabomba leaves, stem and flowers

Cabomba (Cabomba caroliniana) is a submerged aquatic weed of permanent and slow moving water bodies; it affects water quality, recreational activities and public safety, and aquatic biodiversity. The cost of managing this weed of national significance is significant because it invades freshwater and potable water systems, where the use of chemical herbicides is restricted due to risks of non-target impacts. For example, the cost of managing cabomba using mechanical removal methods in four infested dams is in excess of $250,000/year. Therefore, as in the case of other aquatic weeds, biological control is likely to be an important component of the integrated management of this weed. CSIRO is collaborating with Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on this project.

This research on cabomba has been part of the projects ‘Biocontrol solutions for sustainable management of weed impacts to agricultural profitability’ (2016-2020) and ‘Underpinning agricultural productivity and biosecurity by weed biological control‘ (2019-2022), led by AgriFutures Australia (the trading name of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC)). These projects have been supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme rounds 2 and 4, respectively. SEQwater and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries are also acknowledged for their financial support.