Midges may cop a spray

Joondalup councillors, at last week�s meeting, approved a new five-year midge management strategy and noted a maximum of $61,500 would be listed for consideration each year for the next five years to fund the strategy, subject to a commitment from the City of Wanneroo � which was approved at its Tuesday meeting � and the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

It is proposed the cities contribute 25 per cent of the funding each and the department contributes 50 per cent.

Joondalup planning and community development director Dale Page said the strategy was �necessary to ensure the nuisance of midge swarming was minimised for local residents�.

�Even though midges don�t present a public health risk, they can be an irritation to residents living near the wetlands in summer months,� she said.

The new strategy maintains the existing objectives for the control and management of midge and an action plan, including midge larvae and water monitoring, nuisance reduction, research and public education.

Changes include improved communication with local residents and a potential trial of growth inhibitor S-Methoprene for the control of midges at Lake Goollelal in Kingsley.

�Currently, the only effective method to provide relief from midge is by a chemical treatment known as Gray Bate to the wetlands,� Ms Page said.

�This is a last resort to control midge populations as spraying may have a negative effect on the natural environment.

�As a result, the midge steering group currently only agrees to spray when all three parties agree and all criteria of treatment are met.�

She said the steering group was considering using S-Methoprene as an alternative chemical treatment because it was considered to have a lesser effect on the environment, but it was only registered in WA for use against mosquitoes.

An application was lodged with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority in October for approval of use for five years at Lake Goollelal, but assessment of the application will take another five months.

In anticipation of approval, the midge strategy provides for a trial of S-Methoprene at Lake Goollelal in 2015-16 using research funding, if treatment is considered necessary.

At the May 12 council briefing, Cr Geoff Amphlett raised concerns about the new chemical being toxic to fish.

Cr John Chester said there were three species of fish in Lake Goollelal and if it was toxic, it could put them at risk.

Also read: Wanneroo backs trial