Coochiemudlo islanders are test driving a scheme aimed at reducing chemical use across Redland City

WEED WARRIORS: Coochiemudlo Islanders fan out as they tackle foreshore weeds.
WEED WARRIORS: Coochiemudlo Islanders fan out as they tackle foreshore weeds.

FEWER potentially carcinogenic weed killing chemicals will be used in the Redlands soon if a test case running on Coochiemudlo Island is a success.

Redland City Council is funding an integrated weed management program on the island which sees a variety of methods used to kill weeds rather than relying on the broadscale spraying of potentially dangerous chemicals like glyphosate.

Cr Lance Hewlett said he had secured funding for the project which had been started by consultants Ecosure.

“It is significant because one of the aspirations is for it to be a template for the reduction of toxic poisons across the city,’’ Cr Hewlett said.

Coochiemudlo Island Coastcare Group spokeswoman Vivienne Roberts-Thomson said weeds had become a major issue on the island and tackling them in other ways than simply spraying chemicals was being taken up around Australia.

Treatment ranged from using steam burning to mulches to simply pulling by hand. 

She said spraying of chemicals like glysophate was deadly for many other species and a particular issue if used near water, meaning on Coochie it became problematic. 

Cr Hewlett said there were other options than spraying.

NO CHEMICALS HERE: Steam being used to kill Coochiemudlo Island weeds.

NO CHEMICALS HERE: Steam being used to kill Coochiemudlo Island weeds.

“Not all weeds require the use of chemicals such as the very widely used glyphosate which the World Health Organisation has recently classified a probable carcinogenic,’’ he said.

“Many councils ... are reducing chemical use, especially around playgrounds and widely used public open spaces.

“The Coastcare group on Coochie under permits issued by council have successfully maintained and regenerated  a large section of Coochie foreshore which is now poison free and can be organically maintained.’’

Cr Hewlett said the weeds program was something council should be flying the flag about as it was a positive move for the health of the community.

Ms Roberts-Thomson said an integrated pest management program would help protect Moreton Bay, as well as the island.

“We took a stand a few years ago and we opposed herbicide spraying around foreshores,’’ she said. “We’re a tourist island after all and must try to protect our green image.’’

Common weeds included cats claw creeper,  mother of millions and asparagus fern.

She said the island would always have weeds and would need a long term maintenance program to control them. The situation could be helped with foreshore plantings of native species.

The island usually had about 18 people prepared to help out with weeding as well as a Bushcare group which looked after other projects.