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Kyneton works continue

20 Mar 2018

Campaspe River rehabilitation works are continuing at Kyneton, with the removal of weeds along a 700-metre stretch in the town.

Crack willows and hawthorn will be removed from the banks of the river upstream of Bupa Aged Care in Riverwalk Boulevard in the coming weeks.

The removal is the latest part of the North Central Catchment Management Authority’s (CMA) Caring for the Campaspe project.

Project Manager Angela Gladman said the works would be carried out by the Dja Dja Wurrung works crew 'Djandak'.

“The weeds will be removed and piled shortly before being burnt when fire restrictions are lifted in coming weeks,” she said.

“These willows were stem injected with herbicide approved for use along waterways in late 2017. While the northern bank is already fenced, fencing will be installed along the southern bank to protect the river from the impacts of cattle. The entire site will be revegetated with native plants this coming spring.

“Part of the work involves protecting identified sites of cultural heritage from harm.”

Ms Gladman said the invasiveness of willows, their potential for spreading and the economic and environmental damage they do make them among the worst weeds in Australia.

“They have invaded riverbanks and wetlands across temperate Australia, occupying thousands of kilometres of streams and numerous wetland areas,” she said.

“Unlike most other vegetation, willows spread their thick matted roots across the rocky streambed, smothering the rocky habitat favoured by platypus. They form thickets which divert water outside the main watercourse or channel, contributing to flooding and bank erosion.

“Willow leaves create a flush of organic matter when they drop in autumn, reducing water quality as the leaves decompose, which directly impacts upon the macroinvertebrates and fish in the river. This, together with the amount of water willows use, negatively impacts upon the health of the river. Replacing the introduced willows with the original  native vegetation species brings back the preferred river habitat for our native birds, animals and fish.

“Healthy waterways need diverse, native vegetation along their river banks and they also need protection from uncontrolled stock access.

“With the popular Kyneton River Walk just downstream, everyone appreciates clear, odour free water that is not polluted from the impacts of cattle.”

The Caring for the Campaspe project is part of the Victorian Government's $222 million Water for Victoria initiative to improve the health of waterways and catchments.