Camphor laurel and the Aquatic Environment

sampling steam water

A cloudy/milky emulsion commonly noticed in Northern Rivers creeks has been analysed by the Qld Dept of Health, and found to contain PBO (piperonyl butoxide), an insecticidal synergist that is believed to make trace-soluble camphor in freshwater even more active as an insect repellant/killing agent, along with camphor's "sister narcotics" from camphor laurel: napthalene, benzene and vanillin.

 

Aquatic Invertebrates

A dwindling in freshwater invertebrate numbers all-year-round is reported by scientists Pahlow (Department of Land and Water Conservation - Tweed) and Friend (Camphor Research Centre 2000).

During the course of field experimentation confirming in Australia, that camphor kills frogs (see Fact sheet 2) observations were made of ephemeral streams in the worst affected, smaller streams near The Channon. Close studies of medium-large pondages in small ephemeral streams, particularly the old water supply reservoir at The Channon, proves that over two wet seasons water pollution under the invasive camphor trees - which in places choke the stream bed - was so serious that only Mosquito larvae could be observed living there (often for up to five months at a time).

A wide range of Water beetles, including Water boatmen and Water striders (Family: Getridae) are absent from Camphor-impacted waterways and appear to be most heavily affected, sterilized or killed by camphor.
 

Snorkelling surveys

Concomitant with the observed crash in aquatic invertebrate populations in central sections of Terania Creek (near The Channon) over the past few years is the relative demise of waterbird numbers and species. This includes a number of wader species once common at Terania Creek according to old-timers.