LAKE SAVED: Lennox Head landcarer Kelly Saunderson with just some of the water hyacinth pulled from Lake Ainsworth.
LAKE SAVED: Lennox Head landcarer Kelly Saunderson with just some of the water hyacinth pulled from Lake Ainsworth. Graham Broadhead

Lennox community rallies to save Lake Ainsworth

A COMMUNITY effort has saved Lennox Head's Lake Ainsworth from being smothered - for now.

Lennox Head Landcarers last week had the final of two working bees to get rid of the noxious weed, water hyacinth, from the placid waters in the south-western corner of the popular lake.

Kelly Saunderson, the vice-president of Lennox Head Landcare and co-ordinator of the project, said water hyacinth was known as the "world's worst aquatic weed" and literally smothers a waterway, taking out nutrients and oxygen which then impacts on other aquatic life.

It was discovered floating on the lake in mid-January and spread to cover about 180sq m of the water body in about two months.

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If left, the weed could potentially have covered the entire lake within a year.

Ms Saunderson said the landcarers were "super proud" of their effort to get rid of the weed but can't be certain they have it all.

And she said they can't be certain it won't be back.

Each flower can produce up to 3000 seeds, and those seeds can remain viable in soil for between 20 and 30 years.

It is likely the water hyacinth, which is native to the Amazon basin in South America, was introduced to Lake Ainsworth when someone inadvertently transported seed in their shoes, water craft or fishing gear.

Water hyacinth was brought to Australia as an ornamental pond plant, with its distinctive purple flowers, in the 1890s, and is now found on every continent except Antarctica.

The Landcarers are asking locals to keep an eye out for the weed in the lake.

If you spot it, phone Shaun Eastment on 0448 221210.

The weed needs to be disposed of correctly to avoid further spread.


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