Kangaroo River – Riparian Restoration

Kangaroo Valley community works together for a more resilient natural environment.

Making a Difference -

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Kangaroo River – Riparian Restoration

Kangaroo Valley community works together for a more resilient natural environment.

The issue

The riverbank, creeks and gullies have always been the areas of highest ecological importance in Kangaroo Valley.  But incursions by privet, lantana, Madeira Vine and, most recently, giant tobacco, have damaged their ecological functioning.  Interestingly, the privet and Madeira Vine really exploded once dairy farmers fenced the riverbanks and cattle no longer grazed the succulent young growth. There are 150 km of mapped creeks and rivers in Kangaroo Valley. With such a large riparian zone, a big coalition and some funds would be needed to turn it around.

The solution

Kangaroo Valley Environment Group (KVEG) partnered with the 3 other Landcare Groups to gain a 6 year, $200,000 funding contract from the NSW Environmental Trust.  Each local group managed the weed control contractors and monitoring for the work in their area, while KVEG volunteers coordinated the project management. Landowners were required to at least match the grant funded effort – most did much more. Initially, 40 sites, covering 21km and 3 ha of riparian zone were targeted, with more than double eventually treated.

The impact

The impact has been widespread and varied with some stunning advances.

  • Gibson Creek site: 73% increase in native species, including a 153% increase in groundcover species, following the control of Trad.
  • Wattamolla rainforest gullies: lantana control has resulted in a carpet of fast growing canopy species of up to 5 m over 5 years with the most rapid growers Pencil and Red cedars, Brush Kurrajongs and Lilly Pillies, creating a fast dense canopy to shade out weed regrowth.
  • Riparian restoration: dense thickets of privet, some up to 20m wide, have been targeted by weed spraying. This work has been especially significant on 4 of the dairy farms, who together have 30 km of creek and river bank.
  • Endangered shrub germination: lantana control in several gullies resulted in the widespread germination of Solanum celatum, not previously known in Kangaroo Valley, along gully edges.

Overall, the project has reduced privet to a minor weed in most of the Valley, suppressed the many Madeira Vine infestations and mobilised a team of landowners and volunteers to follow-up the work.  The native vegetation has greatly expanded and is now much more resilient to weed incursions and disturbances. The riparian areas are slowly returning to a functioning ecosystem.

Images

 

Key facts

  • More than double the targeted weed control sites were treated
  • 73% increase in native species at one site since weeds controlled
  • 40km of woody weeds controlled along creek and river banks
  • Widespread germination of endangered shrub Solanum celatum along gully edges

Project Partners