Work has begun to remove non-native willows, poplars, cherry plum and blackberry from the banks of the Barwon River, upstream of the Birregurra-Deans Marsh Road bridge in Birregurra.
After herbicide treatment via stem injection and ring-barking in mid-February, removal and mulching of the woody weeds commenced on 19 March and will continue until mid-April 2019. The site will be revegetated with locally-sourced native trees, shrubs and grasses over the next 18 months.
A section of Barwon St between Main St and Jenner St will be closed for public safety while heavy machinery is on site.
The upper Barwon is an important habitat for platypus, and platypus eDNA was detected at Birregurra in a 2018 study. A biodiversity risk assessment conducted by Corangamite CMA prior to undertaking works identified a minimal risk to platypus. Adult platypus have large home ranges of several kilometres, and young platypus have left underground burrows by March and can feed on their own. Works will not involve bank excavation or removal of roots and stumps within the river bank.
This initiative to improve waterway health in the Corangamite region is a joint project of the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Upper Barwon Landcare Network, Birregurra Landcare Group and Colac Otway Shire, with funding from the Victorian Government.