Environmental Trainees Tackle Bush Weeds

Wednesday 18 January, 2006

Shepparton’s Red Gum floodplain forest is benefiting from the hard work of environmental trainees.

Ten young people are being employed under the Regional Environment Employment Program (REEP) to remove weeds at Jordan’s Bend, a large patch of native bush alongside the Goulburn River at the north end of town. The project started in late December last year and will continue through until about April this year.

Jordan’s Bend provides important habitat for many species of native plants and animals including Squirrel Gliders, Yellow Footed Antechinus, Chocolate Wattle Bats and large old Red Gums.

It is also a popular spot to exercise with many people using the walking and cycling track that meanders through the Red Gums along the river bank.

In recent years the bush has become inundated with weeds including blackberry, briar rose and numerous exotic creeper species.

Garden plants are also a problem and owners of adjoining properties are being urged to curtail their plants from escaping into the bush. The general public is also warned not to dump garden clippings and waste in the bush.

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority River Health Strategic Manager Wayne Tennant said “weeds could out-compete native vegetation upsetting the ecological balance and reducing habitat and food sources for native species”.

The project is a joint effort by Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), the Greater Shepparton City Council and Mission Australia which co-ordinates the REEP program. DSE is providing funding for the project through the Healthy Rivers Program.

The project is part of the larger River Connect project, a major initiative to improve the condition of the Goulburn River and its surrounds between Shepparton and Mooroopna and raise awareness about the vital role of the river as the lifeblood of the communities.

Vince Cafari of Mission Australia said the ten trainees were doing a great job to remove many of the weeds by hand. Spot spraying is also being undertaken where necessary.

“It is tremendous to see the commitment of these young people to hard work in hot conditions,’’ Vince said.

Release ends

For more information telephone Wayne Tennant on 58 201100 or Vince Cafari on 58315803.