Impacts of Locust Control Measures on Aquatic Ecosystems

Principal Investigator: Dr Vincent Pettigrove

Aims of Project: To determine whether pesticides used for the control of locusts may be detected in local streams and wetlands and whether there is evidence of these aquatic ecosystems being stressed by these control measures.

Names of other people working on the project: Mr Bryant Gagliardi, Dr Sara Long, Ms Rebecca Brown, Mr Gavin Rose, Mr Dan MacMahon, Dr Lisa Golding, Leon Metzeling (EPA Victoria), Jason Lieschke (DSE). 

Names of industry partners: DPI Biosecurity, DSE, EPA Victoria

Project achievements to date: Forty sites throughout the locust affected region in Victoria have been surveyed for pesticides in surface waters and sediment toxicity before and soon after locust control measures occurred.  A third survey is scheduled. 

Current focus of work: Laboratory toxicity tests and pesticide analyses are being conducted.

What do you hope to achieve over the duration of the project?: Determine whether the current use of pesticides to control locusts is being done in a manner that does not impact aquatic ecosystems.  If impairment is detected, then to suggest ways in which these environmental impacts may be reduced.

What techniques does your project use to identify pollution?: Analytical chemistry, laboratory sediment toxicity tests using the bloodworm Chironomus tepperi, and in situ toxicity tests.

How is this project going to help our understanding of pollution issues in Victoria?: It will help us understand how agricultural activities can be conducted in a manner that will have minimal impact on aquatic ecosystems.

Additional Information: For more information on the locust plague in Victoria please visit the DPI website.