Para grass can form a thick blanket over the
land and floats out over the water Photo: Greg Calvert
Along the edges of weed-infested rivers, riverbanks are now
choked under a smothering blanket of rank feral grasses.
One of the worst (particularly in the Townsville area) is South
American para grass (Brachiaria mutica).
This grass was introduced for the cattle industry as fodder, using
grass-filled dams known as "ponded pasture". Especially when
excluded from grazing, para grass forms a tall, thick blanket over
the land and floats out over the water.
Hymenachne Photo: Greg Calvert
Another grass used for ponded pasture is olive hymenachne
Seed-laden floodwater has spread the grass and there have
already been significant outbreaks of the weed in the Burdekin area
of north Queensland. Since it can grow to a greater depth of water
than para grass, it is expected to out-compete it.
Queensland Ponded Pastures Policy
The Queensland Government considers that the development of Ponded Pastures should occur only in areas that are not:
- Tidal areas, or
- In or adjacent to natural wetlands, or
- Of high conservation or fish habitat value
The development of Ponded Pastures in other areas should occur only where proponents can demonstrate
that there will be minimal and acceptable environmental impacts.
There is no legislation dealing specifically with Ponded Pasture development or management. The controls that do exist for tidal areas are spread across several pieces of legislation, whilst there are no comprehensive controls over such development on land above high tide level.