The following report outlines the excellent weed removal and restoration of indigenous species which has been happening along the West Kiewa River in the section above and around Mt Beauty in north east Victoria.

It comes from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

A community led river rejuvenation project along the West Kiewa River is helping to control the spread of invasive species and creating new fishing, bird watching and recreation opportunities.

The Mt Beauty West Kiewa River reclamation project is the culmination of 10-years work managed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning (DELWP) and supported by the Upper Kiewa Valley Community Group, Alpine Shire Council, the North East Catchment Management Authority, Green Army and Landcare.

The project includes the removal of Privet, Cotoneaster, Boxthorn, Box Elder, Ivy, Bind Weed (convolvulus), Periwinkle, and Willow species that are listed on the Weeds of National Significance, namely (Salix nigra, Salix fragilis and Salix cinerea).

North East CMA Catchment Co-ordinator, Lachlan Campbell, said: “This is the gateway to Mt Beauty and cleaning it up will send a welcome message to visitors.”

“Scheduled to occur next month, these works will open up new recreation spaces for locals and link significant work already undertaken in the upper reaches of the river,” Mr Campbell said.

“Our goal is to encourage bank stability along the West Kiewa, so that future tree and shrub planting to be undertaken by the Green Army has a chance to establish.

“Some willows will be left in place where it is determined they are structurally important to the stability of the waterway. These species are not seeding willows so are causing less impact to the environment. Significant species in the historical arboretum will not be removed.”

DELWP’s Invasive Species Officer – Hume, Ian Vonarx, said: “This is an exciting step forward in this reclamation project.”

“During the past ten years many Willows have been removed in the high country on the West Kiewa River and its tributaries,” Mr Vonarx said.

“Willows spread significantly near Falls Creek in the spring of 2004 when many wet areas were infested with weeds due to the slow recovery of native ground cover after the 2003 Great Alpine Fire.

“The final piece of the reclamation project is focusing our efforts on removing seeding willow species near the bridge over the West Kiewa River, at the entry to the Mt Beauty township.”