River recreation under threat

Simone Burge and Jamie Ingram paddle on the Canning River. Picture: Matt Jelonek d414881
Simone Burge and Jamie Ingram paddle on the Canning River. Picture: Matt Jelonek d414881

Canning River Canoe Club vice-president Jamie Ingram said the group stored their canoes and kayaks at the Kent St Weir in Wilson.

‘We don’t paddle above the weir that often, but if it got to us at the weir, it could cause problems for our group,’ he said. ‘Even now, we find weeds getting caught on our rudders, and it sounds like it would be tricky to try and paddle through those weeds.

‘It would be a shame if all the wildlife disappeared because of it ” when we’re out paddling, we see turtles, schools of fish and even dolphins. I would hate to think that would all go away.’

Mr Ingram said he had not yet seen hydrocotyle weeds in the group’s most popular paddling zones but had encountered problems with algae.

He said the river was in constant use by members.

‘We meet as a group on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but anytime you go down to Riverton bridge, chances are you’ll see our members paddling,’ he said.

Environmental groups in the Canning region have come together to tackle a long-lasting weed infestation in the Canning River. South East Regional Centre for Urban Landcare (SERCUL) and the Wilson Wetland Action Group received funding from the State Natural Resource Management program to stop the weed from spreading.

SERCUL Canning River restoration officer Matt Grimbly said hydrocotyle, commonly known as floating pennywort, was dangerous because of its rapid growth rate.

Mr Grimbly said hydrocotyle had been in the river since the 1980s and caused a major problem in the summer of 1992.

‘Hydrocotyle can double its biomass in three days to a week, so it can cause big problems if unchecked,’ he said.