A LONG-TERM plan has been implemented to save the Berringa Park Wetlands from decades of exotic weed infestation.
The Berringa Park Friends Group formed 18 months ago and its volunteers have been working hard during regular busy bees pulling out the choking creep of bamboo, Brazilian peppers strangling paperbarks, and couch and kikuyu grass that’s replaced the native undergrowth.
That’s created some breathing space for natives, so undergrowth planting will start soon.
Friends member David Crispin tells us that not long into the group’s existence, members realised they had an enormous and complex task ahead of them to restore the riverbanks and mudflats to their original state.
The exotic species have grown head-height and jungle-thick, and species like the pepper trees keep popping back up if not systematically removed.
Now they have a detailed roadmap to recovery: Bayswater council brought in a consultant to work with them on a 10-year plan to address weed removal and revegetation, monitor the surviving native trees, manage mosquito levels and keep pet dogs and cats from terrorising the wildlife.
Different weed species will be pulled out or poisoned by council at specified times of the year to best prevent them from re-germinating.
Some are obnoxiously resilient, like the dreaded Madeira vine.
It can only be killed with a combination of constantly handweeding its smaller shoots, and drilling the thicker vines and pumping them with plant poison three times a year for up to 10 years.
Mr Crispin tells us this month also sees the first planting day: Enough weeding’s been done in some parts that they can now start to revegetate with native understorey species like bare twigrush, tassel sedge and robin redbreast. It’ll make for a habitat for native frogs, birds and bugs.
Bayswater mayor Dan Bull says he’s glad to see an evidence-based plan in place to restore the ecosystem.
“I’m thrilled that we have the support of passionate community members who are dedicated to restoring and maintaining this diverse wetland area for future generations,” Mr Bull said.
Busy bees are the third Sunday of the month (anyone who wants a full body workout pulling out giant weeds is welcome), and this special planting day bee is on August 16 at 9am at the living stream by the east end of Berringa near the golf course.
By DAVID BELL