Case study - restoring a waterway
Restoring creek and river systems is both good for the environment and good for the human spirit. Vegetation on waterways supports more than twice the number of birds and bird species and is important for insectivorous microbats and mammals. Often remnant vegetation will recover once these areas are fenced off and miraculously new plants will be brought in by the wind, floods, birds and migrating mammals.
Lucerne & Merino lambs
Steve grows Lucerne on the river flats of Native Hut and Spring Creeks and grazes Marino lambs which he was constantly losing sheep down the steep banks in the reedy creek beds. Fencing off the creek solved this problem and provided a practical place to plant trees. Not only would the trees provide environmental benefits to the farm they would also provide wind shelter from the south to protect his Lucerne and his lambs.
Steve made the decision early on to try and keep rabbits out of his property, so rabbit netting his perimeter fences was a first step. This keeps out most of rabbits and regular spotlighting before planting ensures minimal damage to new plantations.
Once he has fenced off a new section of creek the site is sprayed with a knockdown and a residual herbicide (plus red dye) in 1m wide strips spaced at 3m following the contours along the creek bank. Spraying is done in June so that creek bank is ready for planting in July. A four-wheel motor bike towing a boom spray unit is ideal for this work and is safer on steep slopes than a bike with the spray tank mounted on the back .
Steve's follow-up strategy
Steve keeps a watchful eye on the newly planted trees and continues to spotlight in areas were trees are being attacked by rabbits. Once the trees are growing well he does very little follow up work for two years. Occasionally he may follow up with a herbicide that can be sprayed over the trees if there are aggressive perennial grasses like phalaris but mostly the trees are left to tough it out.
Steve’s follow up work starts in winter 2 years later when the plants are easy to spot in the long grass. He spot sprays with a knockdown and a residual herbicide in preparation for replanting in the gaps the following Spring.
Plants we recommended
All of Steve’s revegetation on creeks has been done with indigenous plants local to his area. The following are examples of some of the species that have done well: Silver Wattle; Blackwood; Drooping Sheoak; Sweet Bursaria; River Bottlebrush; River Red Gum; Manna Gum; Yellow Gum; Burgan; Hop Goodenia; Snowy Mint-bush; Fragrant Salt-bush.