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Echuca Moama Landcare Group
Echuca is located alongside the Murray and Campaspe Rives in northern Victoria, Australia. Its twin, Moama, is located on the New South Wales side of the Murray River. In August 2014, Echuca Landcare Group and Moama Landcare group merged to become Echuca Moama Landcare Group.
The group usually meets on the second Thursday of each month (often in the meeting room of Echuca Library from 7.30pm) to plan activities. Working Bees and outings are held from time to time. Our annual general meeting is usually held in August each year.
For membershio enquiries or information about the group, email the group’s secretary Susan Healey <email@example.com>
New members are welcome!
Our work involves projects and activities such as:
• the planting and promotion of indigenous trees, shrubs and grasses;
• removal of Prickly Pear and revegetation of an area near the Eyre Street footbridge;
• reducing Bridal Creeper infestations in Echuca alongside the Campaspe River;
• recording Platypus sightings in Echuca along the Campaspe River;
• the Shinbone Alley Project (see separate page on this site);
• removing rubbish and removing weeds from river banks and other areas, and
• educating ourselves and our community about environmental management issues in our local area.
Much of our revegetation work, rubbish removal and weed removal work is along the Northern Highway, along the lower stretches of the Campaspe River and in local bushland, including Banyula Forest.
Echuca Landcare members planting indigenous trees and shrubs alongside the Campaspe River, Echuca. Photo: Keith Stockwell.
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Fruit Fly invasion
Echuca Moama Landcare Group has become aware that one of more than 200 species of fruit fly found in Australia, the Queensland Fruit Fly, is reeking havoc with citrus, loquat, stone fruis, apple, pear, avocado, guava, feijoa, tomato, eggplant and capsicum crops in the Echuca and Moama district. Peaches are being particularly hard-hit.
With the problem in mind, Echuca Moama Landcare Group helped sponsor two Fruit Fly workshops in Moama on 18th and 19th September 2014.
The problem appears to be worst when the weather warms in late August, a time when hungry insects emerge from hibernation. Flies lay eggs under the skin of ripening fruit, maggots hatch and feed, spoiling the fruit, causing it to rot and drop.
1. Remove and dispose of fallen and unwanted fruit. Mature maggots pupate in the soil, re-emerging as adult flies. Collecting and apprpriately disposing of infested fruit may help break their lifecycle. Signs that eggs have been laid in fruit are dimples or weeping clear sap on the fruit. Dispose of such fruit. It’s important to pick up fallen fruit as soon as it drops, before maggots have had a chance to escape from the fruit and burrow into the ground to pupate. It is equally important to Text Box: Infected fruitpick all fruit from the tree at seasons end.
2. Place insect exclusive netting over fruit trees and vegetable crops. Fruit and vegetatble crops can be covered with Fruit Fly resistant netting. Before placing netting over a fruit tree, prune the tree (during winter) so that it is only a few metres high and a few metres across. Netting is best used to completely cover a fruit tree from September (after budburst, to allow time for bees to cross-fertilise the flowers) until all fruit is picked/removed. Secure the netting to the base of the trunk. If practical, do not leave bare earth within the netted area because there may be maggots in the soil.
To cover vegetables, star pckets (drop stakes) can serve as supports for polypipe arches. The netting can then be placed over the arches and securely pegged to the ground.
Maggots should be immersed in a sealed bucket of water for a couple of days or put in a sealed plastic bag left in the sun for at least three days.
3. Use fruit fly traps. Trapping adult flies helps limit the breeding population. There are numerous variations of traps and lures for purchase at local nurseries, e.g. Cera Trap (organic). If there is evidence of Fruit Fly, traps may be placed in your garden between August and April.
Baits and lures can be purchased from Bunnings, from some local nurseries and from some other outlets. Echuca Moama Landcare group suggests that you carefully follow the instructions that come with such products.
Be aware that some traps ~ useful for identification purposes ~ may only trap males: a female can lay up to 5,000 eggs in a breeding cycle. Echuca Moama Landcare Group suggests that the best traps are coloured yellow.
4. Apply chemical concoctions. A chemical product such as “Eco-naturalure” can be painted onto tree trunks or onto pots. Suh products are available from some local nurseries. For those who wish to create their own concoction, place about 2cm of water in a 2 litre plastic bottle and then add half a cup of coudy ammonia, a teaspoon of vanilla essence, two tablespoons of sugar. Screw on the cap, hang the bottle from a tree and make two small holes (no larger than a five cent piece) near the top of the bottle. Renew the mixture if and when it becomes smelly.
5. Apply chemical concoctions. A chemical product such as “Eco-naturalure” can be painted onto tree trunks or onto pots.
6. Biological control may help, e.g allowing ducks and poultry to roam amongst fruit trees, and allowing wasp nests to remain in place.
• Echuca-Moama residents are advised that insecti exclusiuve netting, Cera Trap, Eco-naturalure and GoNatural Insectrap are available from Kennaugh’s Garden Centre, Cornelia Creek Road Echuca. Orchardists and commercial vegetable growers can obtain products from rural suppliers.
Join us in our fight against Queensland Fruit Fly.
Other Garden Pests
Snails and slugs – familiar to us all, there are many home remedies for controlling snails and slugs. Labour intensive but effective, is manually removing them by torchlight, on moist nights, when they appear on paths and lawns to feed.
Funding for revegetation works
Echuca Moama Landcare Group has received funding from Powercorp and from Cedenco that will allow it to carry out revegetation work. The Powercorp grant will be used to remove weeds from alongside a stretch of the Northern Highway (B75) and then revegetate the stretch using low-growing native grasses and herbs. The Cedenco grant money is to be used to plant indigenous shrubs alongside a local highway/s. Funding has also been obtained to allow revegetation work alongside the Campaspe River on the site of recent erosion remediation works near the Warren Street bridge. September 2014.
Landcare Bus Tour
Echuca Moama Landcare Group was one of several local Landcare groups represented on a Campaspe Landcare Group tour of projects in the Gunbower area. Participants inspected the Hipwell Road regulator which allows environmental water to be delivered (at 1,000 megalitres a dahy) into the Gunbower-Koondrook Forest. Another stop awas at Torrumbarry Weir where the weir master led participants across the weir into the Perricoota Forest (NSW) to inspect a new channel that allows environmental water to be delivered into the Perricoota Forest. Parkticipants inspected corridorrs of native vegetation in the Gunbower area before visiting Kow Swamp where they were addressed on management plans for the wetland. In Cohuna, participants inspected a rubbish-strewn area that has been transformed into a community park using indigenous shrubs and lawn areas.On the return trip, participants observed the new Thompason Weir that allows fish passage along Gunbower Creek. September 2014.
Echuca Landcare Group has revised and reprinted its brochure Native birds of Echuca Moama district. Campaspe Shire has covered almost all of the printing cost. Copies are now available from the Echuca Moama Visitor Information Centre and from Mathoura Visitor Information Centre. Posted August 2014.
Grassland Field Workshop
On Friday 12th September 2014, more than 80 people attended a native grassland management field day at Kotta.
The workshop covered the following:
* using fire to reduce biomass and create a habitat for native species;
* grazing management techniques to restore native grasslands and meet livestock fee requirements;
* fencing to soil type to prevent erosion and increase grassland productivity, and
* the unique and threatened plants and animals that rely on Victoria’s northern plains grasslands for their survival.
Recently declared Australia’s most important bir, the endangered Plains-wander depends upon native grassland with clumps of native grass separated by clear patches for its continued survival. It prefers to reside in vegetation on red soils. If the grassland biomass is too densed then the Plains-wanderer numbers fall. By using fencing to separate red soil areas from grey soils and gilgais, grasslands can be more-easily managed to meet the needs of Plains-wanderer and other endangered fauna. Red soils can be grazed more intensiely after rainfall events and lleft ungrazed during dry periods, shepp or cattle being moved to the grey soils during dry periods.
After spending time on the Kotrta Grassland block of Terrick Terrick National Park and on the adjoining Glassons Grassland (owned by Trust for Nature), partici[pants drove a short distance to a grassland owned by a local family who depend upon the grazed grassland to make a living. Fences have been erected on the private grassland so that red and grey soil areas can be grazed separately.
The only Plains-wanderers observed in the area over the six months to mid September 2014 (four birds) have been on another private grassland (near the national park) on which cattle were grazing.
Ministerial approval to allow sheep grazing on the Kotta Grassland (and other satellite grasslands of Terrick Terrick National Park) was given early in September 2014 after about two years of lobbying by Park rangers, conservationists and local graziers. KS
2015 committee elected
After 12 years as president of Echuca Landcare Group, Jenny Williams stood down at the group’s August 2014 annual general meeting. The meeting voted to change the name of the group from Echuca Landcare Group to Echuca Moama Landcare Group. Largely because of a fall in membership numbers, Moama Landcare Group is being wound up. The merged group will cover Echuca Moama and the surrounds of the twin towns.
Rosalyn Alcorn is the 2015 president of Echuca Moama Landcare Group. Donna Weller is the group’s Vice President.
Other office bearers are Sue Healey (Secretary), Rohan Williams (Assistant Secretary), Veronica Kelly (Treasurer) and Keith Stockwell (Webmeister).
Drew Gailey, Peter Williams, Donna Weller, Rohan Williams and Glenda Castles form the group’s Project Team.
Projects likely to be undertaken during 2014-15 include reegetation works alongside a new weir/fish ladder in the lower Campaspe River, native vegetation plantings along Mount Terricks Road and revegetation work alongside the Northern Highway (B75). The Terricks Road project will be undertaken in partnership with Powercorp whilst Kagome is sponsoring and supporting the Northern Highway revegetation work. The group greatly appreciates support from Powercorp and Kagome.
The Shinbone Alley Project remains on hold.
Activities weekend in Terrick Terrick National Park
The Friends of terrick Terrick National Park have organised lots of activities centred on the Davies homestead site, Kow Swamp Road Terrick Terrick. The weekend kicks off late on the afternoon of Friday 3rd October and continues until 1pm Sunday 5th October 2014. Activities include talks by guest presenters on both the Friday and Saturday nights (and late Saturday afternoon), early morning bird-watching (7.10am Saturday 4th), mini-bus tours to various parts of the national park, working bees, a sheep shearing demonstration (9am Sunday 5th), a display of artwork by local primary school pupils and more. for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
The activities weekend is part of Loddon Shire’s Naturally Loddon Festival Calendar. Details of other activities can be obtained by contacting the Loddon Shire Information Centre in Wedderburn or by visiting www.loddon.vic.gov.au
Alternatively, email email@example.com and request an A4-sized copy of the program. Posted August 2014.
Native Plant Expo
The Echuca Moama Australian Plant Society is to hold a native plant expo in the Uniting Church Hall, Hare Street ECHUCA on the morning of Saturday 25th October 2014. There is to be a display of Australian plants, including Echuca-Moama natives, as well as plant sales, book sales and a special display for Bird Week. Posted August 2014.
NSW Parks Service tackles weeds
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Servive has appointed an officer to liaise with scientists and alleviate the feral weed problem in local national parks. The officer is based in Moama. An attempt is being made to reduce infestationsof Patersons Curse, Bridal Creeper, Wheel Cactus and other weeds using a variety of measures, including a fungus, chemical sprays and Leaf Hoppers. Posted August 2014.
Echuca-Moama faces a big Myna problem
A few years ago, some locals observed a handful of Common (Indian) Mynas near the old Echuca saleyards, near the Echuca Memorial Swimming Pool and near the Byford factory in Moama. Since then, numbers of this introduced pest have steadily increased, roughly doubling in number every year. Common Mynas displace native birds and can quickly reach plague proportions. Echuca Landcare Group is investigating ways of arresting the explosion in Common Myna numbers. At our suggestion, the Echuca Men’s Shed has manufactured a number of Indian Myna(h) traps. At least 15 traps have already been sold. Traps can be purchased for about $50 from Hunter’s store in Ogilvie Avenue, Echuca. Alternatively, a trap can be hired from Echuca Moama Landcare Group. Trapped birds must be disposed of humanely and legally.
Common (Indian) Mynas should not be confused with the native Noisy Miner which is somewhat similar in appearance.
Bridal Creeper project funds returned
Grant money obtained by Echuca Landcare Group for Bridal Creeper control but not spent by the end of last financial year has had to be returned to the government even though much ongoing work is stil needed to help control this pesty weed. February 2013.
Company keen to encourage community involvement in the local environment
A company that recently purchased a factory in Echuca, Kagomi, has offered to work with Echuca Landcare Group to promote community involvement in environmental projects. Our group welcomes this approach. It is hoped that the group and the company will be able to involve community members in projects that will enhance our local environment. February 2013
Community members assist with planting
Organised by Echuca Landcare Group, a community planting morning was held on the morning of Saturday 20th October 2012 to plant several hundred indigenous plants on a degraded site on the eastern side of the Eyre Street footbridge.
Hundreds of indigenous grasses, saltbush, everlastings and shrubs were planting alongside a bitumen path that leads to the Eyre Street footbridge over the Campaspe Rive. The above photo shows the volunteers at work with the Eyre Street footbridge over the Campaspe River in the background.
The widest area of revegetation was between the sealed walking track and the Back Nine Golf Course. The revegetation work aims to restore a weed-infested area and to provide habitat for native birds.
Bulbine Lilly, Ruby Saltbush, Chocolate Lilly and small wattles were amongst the native plants used in the project.
The project was funded by a grant from Landcare Victoria and the Victorian Government as a joint recognition of 25 years of the Australian Landcare movement.
The area chosen is adjacent to that from which Echuca Landcare Group has cleared an infestation of Prickly Pear cactus. The area is also near where VCAL students of St. Joseph’s College have, in conjunction with Echuca Landcare Group, conducted experiments on ways to deal with the infestation of Bridal Creeper alongside the Campaspe River.
Community members of various ages assisted with the planting.
Students of Echuca Secondary College subsequently planted additonal grasses and shrubs at the site.
Unfortunately the following few months were exceptionally dry and hot, and this meant not all the grasses and shurbs survived the summer.
To help the surviving plants through a long, hot summer, during January 2013 members of Echuca Landcare Group watered not only these plants but others that had been planted alongside a walkway on the western side of the Campaspe River.
• During May 2013, Landcare members planted hundreds of indigenous aquatic plants around the edge of the Eyre Street wetland.
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ARE YOU INTERESTED IN GROWING INDIGENOUS SHRUBS FROM CUTTINGS OR SEEDS? If so, check out our upgraded gardening page. CLICK HERE TO ENTER. There is also much information about local area native plants and weeds on this site.
Shinbone Alley project deferred indefinitely
Echuca Landcare Group has deferred action on the Banyula Forest/Shinbone Alley project at least until the management body for the area becomes clear.
Echuca-Moama Branch of Australian Plant Society Formed
A group of residents interested in the propagation and promotion of Australian plants has decided to form a branch of the Australian Plaint Society in Echuca-Moama. The group usually meets from 7.30pm in the Echuca library on the last Thursday of each month.
Cactus removal project
During 2011 and 2012, Echuca Landcare Group has worked to eradicate Prickly Pear from private and public land alongside the Campaspe River within the town. The infestation covered many hectares. The infestation has now been removed and steps are under way to plant much of the area with indigenous plants. We are presently planning an indigenous garden on an 11 metre-wide strip alongside the walkway leading to the Eyre Street foot-bridge over the Campaspe River. The on-going project has already cost several thousand dollars. Fortunately, however, Echuca Landcare Group has been able to obtain grants to help cover the cost. We thank the private land-holders for allowing us to remove the cactus plants from their land. May 2012.
Bridal Creeper eradication project
Bridal Creeper is one of Australia’s Weeds of National Significance. Unfortunately, in Echuca, this weed, introduced to Australia as a garden plant, has smothered native vegetation alongside the lower Campaspe River. Echuca Landcare Group is working with The Shire of Campaspe and local school students to control the infestation.
Bridal Creeper is a perennial climber, growing up to three metres.
In 2007, Echuca Landcare Group and the Shire identified areas of major infestation. Biological control was seen as the best way to tackle the problem. Echuca East Primary School participated in the Victorian Government’s Weed Warriors programme, students breeding Leaf Hoppers (Zygina sp.) and releasing them in areas of infestation. Unfortunately there are few signs of Leaf hopper impact in the area where they were released.
Later in 2007, DPI Franks ton, in conjunction with the Shire of Campaspe and Echuca landcare Group, made rust fungus sport water to spray on infestations. Rust Fungus (Puccinia myrsiphylli) was approved for release in Australia seven years earlier. It is host specific and is not known to attack other plant species. The fungus affects the vigour of Bridal Creeper, reducing growth and seed production.
Later, in 2008, the Bridal Creeper Leaf Beetle was released but has not survived in the area.
In Early 2010, five students of St Joseph’s College in Echuca who were doing a Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) course mapped infestations along the western side of the Campaspe River in Echuca. The students noted impacts on native vegetation, fauna and visible signs of previous biological control. They found that infestations had significantly increased over the four years since the last survey but that there were areas where the Rust Fungus was impacting on the weed.
A Caring for Country Grant has been obtained and our Banishing Bridal Creeper Project ~ coordinated by the Shire of Campaspe and our Landcare Group ~ is now under way.
The aim of the project is to trial various method of control including physical removal, Rust fungus, chemical control and fire. It is hoped that up to half of the Bridal Creeper alongside the Campaspe River in Echuca can be removed by the middle of this year (2012).
In March 2011, the VCAL students from St. Joseph’s College marked out quadrants, recorded information and took photographs. In April, National Bridal Creeper Co-ordinator Shauna Potter and DPI bio-control expert Greg Lefoe presented a community session on methods of biological control of the weed.
In June 2011, the students physically removed Bridal Creeper plants, including underground tubers. Within each quadrant, indigenous grasses and groundcover species were planted.
Bridal Creeeper Project
VCAL students and Echuca Landcare Group members spraying Bridal Creeper
Photo: Rhonda Day
The VCAL students purchased equipment for making Rust Fungus spore water and infected plants. A community session was held, explaining how spore water is made. Bridal Creeper plants sprayed with the spore water are not looking healthy.
The 2012 VCAL group will continue with the project, assisting with revegetation and community awareness. .
Later this year, Echuca Landcare Group hopes to involved Echuca Secondary College students with the project. We hope that this nasty weed will be eradicated from within the town of Echuca.
~ The above article is based on a report written by Rhonda Day and which appeared in Victorian Landcare, Issue 54, Autumn 2012.
• The project has now ended insofar as funds unspent at the end of the 2011-12 financial year had to be returned to the government.
Late in October 2011, the Echuca Historical Society launched a booklet entitled “A Walk in Banyula Forest”. The booklet contains much information about Shinbone Alley, an area of slightly higher land in Banyula Forest, a forest upstream of the Echuca-Moama bridge.
In lieu of having a meeting in January 2010, members strolled alongside the Murray River from the Echuca Visitor Information Centre to an area where one of our members lived as a child. Shinbone Alley is a shinbone-shaped neck of higher land on a section of the flood plain of the Murray River known as Banyula Forest. Several hundred people once lived here. But flooding led to the abandonment of this part of Echuca. Today, natural regeneration has occurred and there is little evidence that many houses and a sporting field once existed.
Members noted some of the tasks that could be undertaken in this section of bushland, e.g. rubbish removal and removal of exotic saplings. No work is likely until the land manager has been determined, until approval has been obtained and until funding has been made available.
We hope to be involved with the development of a marked walking trail and with the er4ection of informative signage We also hope to remove rubbish and to revegetate some parts with indigenous plants.
The project has been indefinitely deferred until permission is obtained to proceed with the project and until funding can be obtained.
We have a page about Shinbone Alley on this site. The page was last updated on 1st November 2011.
Click here to enter our Shinbone Alley page.
Brochure featuring our local native birds
Echuca Landcare Group has produced a coloured brochure which features photographs of about 40 birds found in our area. Free copies are available from the Echuca-Moama Visitor Information Centre and from the Tangled Garden Bookshop in High Street Echuca.
Gunbower Development Group has produced a similar brochure based on the one we prepared. This brochure was reprinted during 2013. Copies are available free of charge at local Visitor Information Centres..
Supplies of Echuca landcare Group’s bird brochure have run out. However, we hope to obtain funding to reprint the brochure.
Restoration of Gunbower Creek
A Caring for Country has been obtained (by DPI Kerang and the North Central CMA) for restoration work alongside Gunbower Creek. Fencing is being erected between public and private land so that cattle are unable to damage the creekside soils and vegetation. Where necessary, revegetation work and weed removal is taking place. Various Landcare groups and other groups have offered to carry out work such as tree planting and bird surveying.
Much of the fencing is now in place and work on a new weir which allows free passage by fish has been completed. Box Thorns, Willows, Peppercorns and other woody weeds are being removed and indigenous plant species have been planted and protected from rabbits and hares with guards. Further rabbit eradication work is needed. Enquiries may be directed to DPI Kerang.
2012 is the final year of project funding.
Across the Murray in NSW, a $600,000 project to improve the delivery of environmental water to the Perricoota-Koondrook Forest is nearing completion. A DVD has been produced about the project. Much of the Perricoota-Koondrook Forest has been closed during much of 2011 so that engineering works can be carried out. New road bridges need to be completed before all of the forest is open to the public. April 2009, upgraded May 2012.
Postscript: the local water authority is considering allowing water levels in the original Gunbower Creek to fluctuate as per the pre-European pattern and to have irrigators draw water from ‘the backbone’. The backbone includes the National Channel. The original course of the Gunbower Creek is known by a number of names, including Splatts Lagoon, Number 2 lagoon and Number 3 Lagoon. September 2012.
Member of Farmtree and Landcare Association
At its inception some years ago and for several years thereafter, Echuca Landcare Group was ‘a committee of Campaspe Shire’. This is no longer the case. Echuca Moama Landcare Group is now an affiliate of the Farm Tree and Landcare Association. This change is expected to give the group greater financial autonomy.
The Farm Tree & Landcare Association (FTLA) is an independent incorporated association governed by its members. The FTLA has evolved to cater for groups and individuals involved in Landcare, tree planting and similar land management and conservation activities. Established in 1986 at the start of Landcare, the FTLA currently has over 500 Member Groups, including Landcare, Farm Tree, Climate Action and Friends Of groups etc.
The FTLA exists to serve the Member Groups and supports Member Groups where issues arise that are common across the membership, most notably the FTLA insurance package which is provided as a membership benefit.
Kanyapella Basin Advisory Committee without a convener
To help overcome inappropriate grazing, boundary fences around Kanyapella Wildlife Area have been either repaired or replaced. Tracks have been cleared of fallen timber and new signage has been erected, e.g. advising that trail bikes must be registered and driven only on tracks. A brochure about the reserve has been prepared by DPI Tatura and is now available free of cost at Visitor Information Centres.
Fox eradication work has been carried out by contractors and by Field and Game Australia. A committee of stakeholders meets quarterly to advise on management issues; there some Landcare members on the advisory committee.
Until mid 2012, the Department of Primary industries provided a convener who chaired meetings, applied for grants and co-ordinated activities. Owing to staff cuts, DPI is no longer prepared to provide this service. Other agencies have suffered staffing cutbacks as well and are unable to take over this role.
Unfortunately the group has not met for nearly two years. It is hoped that a facilitator will eventually be appointed so that the group can once again advise on restoration and management of the Basin.
Landcare in Loddon Shire
In September 2007, some Shire of Campaspe Landcare supporters went on a bus tour of Loddon Shire, northern Victoria.
First stop was at the Kamarooka Project, 35km north of Bendigo (Vic) where a small number of families run large cropping and sheep farms in an area suffering from salinity. 40 acres of badly salt-affected land which carried just 10 sheep per acre was planted out to farm trees and indigenous plants, mainly wattles and salt bush, by local farmers (Northern United Forestry Group). Carrying capacity has increased tenfold to 100 sheep and the number is expected to double again this year. Various agencies have worked with the farmer group to produce a CD on the Kamarooka Project (each of those who attended the bus tour received a copy).
Second stop was at a nearby property where the farmers make their own liquid fertiliser; super-phosphate is not used. Over 10 years, they have also planted several kilometres of indigenous plants in wide strips on the property. Again, much use has been made of wattles. There were many old Box trees, with hollows for wildlife, along adjoining roads.
Participants then stopped off alongside East Loddon P-12 school where the students and locals are involved in the restoration of a very degraded area of public and private land between the school and Bendigo Creek. The idea is to involve students from planning to implementation in a restoration project which may take generations to complete. it is hoped that the students, almost all of whom come from surrounding farms, will implement projects on their own properties if and when they get a farm of their own.
We stopped at the Loddon River. Much of it has already been fenced. We observed how wattles, casuarinas and other shrubs are being planted amongst the remaining Box and Red Gum trees. The old trees had lots of hollows. A noisy mob of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos screamed their concern at our presence. The owner of the strip we visited has also been revegetating another property near Bears Lagoon.
As we drove along, we observed a belt of trees and shrubs about 50 metres wide which has been planted by Salisbury West Landcare Group ~ and more plantings are under way ~ to link Kooyoora National Park and Inglewood to the Loddon.
The next stop was observe the restoration of Powlett Swamp (which has been dry for many years) between Kooyoora National Park (Melville’s Caves) and the Loddon River. The swamp we stopped at has been fenced and some indigenous species planted to supplement the existing vegetation by local land-holders, two of whom were present to talk about the project. Since cattle have been excluded, some rare and endangered plants have been found in Powlett Swamp.
After a stop at Wedderburn, the bus then took participants to Mt Buckrabanyule which is smothered in Wheel Cactus. The cactus has rampaged out of control since the demise of rabbits. Locals spend several hours each week injecting the cacti with Glyphosate. Much cactus-infested land on nearby Mt Egbert and Mt Kerang has been reclaimed; indigenous vegetation and bird life are recovering.
Our guide pointed out the wildlife corridors being created by (then manager) Timbercorp around olive plantations at Boort.
He also showed us revegetation works between Little Lake Boort and Big Lake Boort, now home to crakes and quail.
We then drove through Fernihurst to a property at Bears Lagoon (locality). The farming couple have spent thousands of inherited dollars converting flat farmland into a large billabong and ponds suitable for specific indigenous birds. Old trees have been brought in and placed upright and thousands of indigenous shrubs (including Eremophilas and Acacias and trees planted to created a completely natural appearance. Brown Tree-creepers have appeared, climbing up the old dead trees. Reed Warblers sing in the rushes. A Singing Honeyeater (not at all commonplace on these plains) was filmed in a Box tree. Welcome Swallows have taken up residence, gliding over the water. Farm owner Bill reckons the birds are thrilled with his creation and birds he has never sighted in the area before have moved in. Bill has also planted tens of thousands of indigenous shrubs and trees on the remainder of his large property, plus alongside many kilometres of public roads.
The bus tour was filmed so that the CMA can distribute a video.
Most wattles were in full flower throughout the region.
It was inspiring to learn of so many projects involving revegetation. There are many other similar projects in the Shire of Campaspe and in Murray Shire. A lot of great work is being done by farmers despite the terrible and prolonged drought afflicting the area. The tour illustrated how a few individuals can have a dramatic impact on landscape and inspire others to follow their lead. Everyone on the bus seemed inspired to do more Landcare work. ~ Keith Stockwell, September 2007.
Group meets alongside the Campaspe
A few years ago now, one of the outings of Echuca Landcare Group was to private property alongside the Campaspe river south of Echuca. Leigh Mitchell of the North Central CMA demonstrated how to carry out procedures to test the quality of river water. After collecting a sample of river water, the follow tests were carried out:
Orthophosphorous Test. Chemicals were added to a sample of river water and a colour chart was used to determine the amount of free phosphorous in the water. Ideally, the figure is less than .05 and we measured .02. Very good.
pH Test. was used to determine the acidity of the water. Ideally, pH should be between 6.5 and 8.5. We recorded 7.5. Very good.
Turbidity Test. A sample of river water was poured into a long test tube until markings on the bottom of the tube became unclear. We recorded 28 on a logarithmic scale. Good.
Salinity Test. An electronic device was used to measure salinity. The reading was 158.1 ppm. Very good.
Members then went for a walk along the river. The water level was very low and there was little flow. We noted lots of snags and woody debris. Very good. Along the river we observed lots of very old Red Gums with lots of nesting hollows, Willow Wattle (Acacia salicina), native grasses, River Callistemon and reeds (Phragmites). Excellent. There were a few introduced Peppercorns (Schinus molle). The river has been fenced to prevent cattle accessing the water and damaging the banks and riverside vegetation.
Other regional Landcare groups
Landcare groups in areas surrounding Echuca include Broken-Boosey CMN, Campaspe-Runnymeade Landcare Group, Cornelia LAP Committee, Corop Action Group, Echuca West Salinity & Land Management Group, Green Gully Landcare Group, Gunbower Landcare Group, Koyuga-Kanyapella Landcare Group, Kyabram Urban Landcare Group, Lockington and District Landcare Group, Moama Landcare Group, Nanneella-Timmering Action Group, Northern Plains CMN, Strathallan Family Landcare Group, Terricks Ridge Landcare Group, Wharparilla West Landcare Group and Wyuna Landcare Group.
Echuca Landcare Group