Hume City Council works with water authorities to help manage our wetlands and lakes. This includes alerting the community to blue-green algae, managing revegetation and plantlife and clearing litter.
Blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria) is a naturally occurring organism present in bodies of water.
Usually, you can't notice it, because the individual cells are very small and are normally not visible. However, under certain conditions, numbers can increase rapidly and blooms become easily visible across the water surface. These blooms are seasonal and a natural component of many waterways in Victoria.
Blue-green algae blooms occur because of a combination of the following:
- lots of nutrients in the water (usually a combination of naturally occurring nutrients and some that wash in with stormwater)
- low inflows (i.e. if it doesn't rain for a while)
- warm weather conditions.
Algal blooms are unpleasant, but they are usually not dangerous. Large amounts of blue-green algae can cause skin irritation or illnesses for people and pets that come into contact with them, but this depends on how much algae there is in the water. Blue-green algae is monitored regularly by water authorities and Council will put up signage to notify the community if a bloom occurs.
It is not possible to prevent, treat or clean up algal blooms, but they will naturally dissipate with rain and cooler weather.
Plantlife and weeds
We often receive requests to clean up plantlife in our wetlands and lakes. However, these plants (often mistaken for weeds) have an important role to play.
Plants in and around our waterways help filter nutrients and pollutants (which can reduce the severity of algal blooms), provide habitat for wildlife and reduce erosion (which makes for clearer water). That is why revegetation programs in these areas are so important.
Some of the native plants you might see in our waterways include:
Council holds regular community planting days where likeminded community members can come together to assist with revegetation. Subscribe to Live Green News to stay in the loop about upcoming planting events.
Council conducts regular clean-ups of popular waterside areas, such as Highlands Lake. However, the best way to prevent litter around our waterways is to ensure rubbish is properly disposed of.
We encourage residents to put rubbish in the bin or take it home with them.
Don’t feed the birds
Feeding the ducks might be popular tradition, but it’s unhealthy for the birds and for our local environment. Download the Please Don’t Feed the Ducks fact sheet for more information.