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Willow massacre at Oaks Estate

By 6 February 2012 25

Territory and Municipal Services are letting us know they’re attacking beautiful willows near Oaks Estate to leave a blasted, but more authentic moonscape behind.

“The ACT Government has committed $1.5 million toward the cleanup of Willow debris, Willow control and river restoration work in identified priority areas,” Mr Hughes said. “This funding has been provided in addition to ongoing works associated with Willow control.

“Clean up of Willow debris has been underway since October 2011 along Woolshed Creek in the Majura Valley and along the Queanbeyan and Molonglo Rivers at Oaks Estate and below Scrivener Dam with an estimated 500 truckloads of woody debris already removed.

“Work will now commence on phase two of the program which will involve poisoning and removal of established Willows using recognised control techniques. This work will first take place along the Queanbeyan and Molonglo Rivers at Oaks Estate followed by the Molonglo River below Scrivener Dam. The removal of blackberries and other woody weeds growing along river banks will also occur as part of this program.”

Mr Hughes said after Willows have been removed, work will commence to rehabilitate the area. Revegetation will take place in Autumn and there will be opportunities for community planting days.

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25 Responses to
Willow massacre at Oaks Estate
enrique 1:07 pm
06 Feb 12
#1

Beautiful they may be but invasive they surely are…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willow#Ecological_issues
http://www.weeds.gov.au/publications/guidelines/wons/salix.html
http://www.weeds.gov.au/publications/guidelines/wons/pubs/salix.pdf
http://www.weeds.org.au/WoNS/willows/
http://www.weeds.org.au/cgi-bin/weedident.cgi?tpl=plant.tpl&ibra=all&card=T27

FTA… “Most species of willow are Weeds of National Significance. They are among the worst weeds in Australia because of their invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic and environmental impacts. They have invaded riverbanks and wetlands in temperate Australia, occupying thousands of kilometres of streams and numerous wetland areas…”

Ben_Dover 2:09 pm
06 Feb 12
#2

Think of all the cricket bats which could be made!

EvanJames 4:00 pm
06 Feb 12
#3

Bloody tree police. Wrecking the riverbanks, watch the erosion now. If they’d asked the platypuses and other bush junk, they’d have heard about how useful willows are. The tree police tried this stunt in Bungendore, and the real environmentalists stopped them, demanding that they establish “good” trees first, then remove the willows.

Skyring 4:09 pm
06 Feb 12
#4

EvanJames said :

Bloody tree police. Wrecking the riverbanks, watch the erosion now. If they’d asked the platypuses and other bush junk, they’d have heard about how useful willows are. The tree police tried this stunt in Bungendore, and the real environmentalists stopped them, demanding that they establish “good” trees first, then remove the willows.

That’s the way to do it without removing the habitat of the local species. Willows ARE pests, but ham-fisted scorched-earth removal policies aren’t the way to go.

qbngeek 4:29 pm
06 Feb 12
#5

EvanJames said :

Bloody tree police. Wrecking the riverbanks, watch the erosion now. If they’d asked the platypuses and other bush junk, they’d have heard about how useful willows are. The tree police tried this stunt in Bungendore, and the real environmentalists stopped them, demanding that they establish “good” trees first, then remove the willows.

+1 Once the willows are gone it will take them years to establish anything to stablise the riverbanks, thats as long as that section of the river doesn’t flood which happens everytime someone sneezes in the river and then the new trees will end up washed away along with the riverbanks.

p1 4:30 pm
06 Feb 12
#6

EvanJames said :

Bloody tree police. Wrecking the riverbanks, watch the erosion now. If they’d asked the platypuses and other bush junk, they’d have heard about how useful willows are. The tree police tried this stunt in Bungendore, and the real environmentalists stopped them, demanding that they establish “good” trees first, then remove the willows.

That has little to do with the “plant and animals and stuff” environment, and more to do with the “but all the nice pretty shady trees” environment.

mossrocket 4:07 pm
09 Feb 12
#7

Willows are quite successful at slowing down the speed that rivers flow, which is a good thing.
Clear felling them will lead to much more erosion, which has been know for many years. Willows are used internationally for the purpose of bank stabilization and anti-erosion.

While planting native trees will be better for the native environment, eventually filling the same niche, it will take decades to be as effective as the willows were…

Unfortunately, this destruction will destroy more of the native wildlife’s habitat – platypus for example…

We used to have platypus in the river near the waterskiing area in the lake – now they aren’t there anymore… A friend of mine helped smuggle live platypus over the border into NSW as the willows were trashed around the lake – he also found dead ones in the ACT as a result of the destruction of their homes by careless ACT officials in their hate crime against Willows…

OEPA 11:15 am
17 Oct 12
#8

The river corridor is been transformed – transgression? – not sure.

Once the area was cleared, it was the subject of a major tree planting project, managed through the local Land Care group and with the participation of many Oaks Estate residents. It was a great day with more than 30 people in attendance.

The big challenge for the river corridor now is its ongoing maintenance – so when the call for volunteers and assistance is made, rather than write a pithy response, perhaps grab your gloves and lend a hand.

Clearing of the river corridor of both willows and blackberry, which was the predominant species will in time, result in a reinvigorated landscape. I do not disagree that the short term ‘aesthetic’ is diminished – but it is changing for the better. Illustrated by recent sightings of Platypus.

Watson 11:53 am
17 Oct 12
#9

They did this at Mills Creek in Narrabundah years ago. I went there the other day and it looks great. There is plenty of water in the creek – which used to just be a trickle when the willows were there – and the saplings they planted after they removed the willows are growing up nicely. I cannot wait to see it in another 10 years time.

I don’t think they could really plant new trees before they removed the willows as a. there would be no room for them to grow and seedlings wouldn’t be able to compete for sun and water and b. they have to use very strong poisons to kill the willows so they won’t come back. But I’m not an expert…

And I must admit I am always sad when I see a weeping willow die. Awesome trees those. And they don’t appear to be as invasive as the ones that cause the snow clouds in spring.

astrojax 11:58 am
17 Oct 12
#10

willows may be invasives, but peter andrews still gives them the time of day as very useful elements in his outrageously successful natural sequence farming [http://www.naturalsequencefarming.com/] – maybe the local council, oops government, ought to consider the works of some honoured australians before it decimates an environment…

New Yeah 12:19 pm
17 Oct 12
#11

mossrocket said :

hate crime against Willows…

Yes. That’s exactly what it is.

You’ve gotta be kidding. Some very uniformed opinions on this thread thus far.

HenryBG 1:12 pm
17 Oct 12
#12

Ideological vandalism.

The willows do a great job at protecting the land from erosion and providing habitat for platypus and yabbies.

Tetranitrate 1:35 pm
17 Oct 12
#13

HenryBG said :

Ideological vandalism.

The willows do a great job at protecting the land from erosion and providing habitat for platypus and yabbies.

100% agreed.
I remember catching yabbies and redfin from Ginninderra Creek and the ‘tributary’ that runs through Giralang at various points in my childhood.
The part of Ginninderra Creek that runs alongside William Slim drive used to be a very nice little environment thank to the willows – it was full of life. Fish, yabbies, birds, ect. Around 1999/2000 they cut down all the willows, now there’s nothing there but grass. There’s still nothing there, 12+ years later.
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=william+slim+drive&ie=UTF-8&hl=en

pirate_taco 1:52 pm
17 Oct 12
#14

astrojax said :

willows may be invasives, but peter andrews still gives them the time of day as very useful elements in his outrageously successful natural sequence farming [http://www.naturalsequencefarming.com/] – maybe the local council, oops government, ought to consider the works of some honoured australians before it decimates an environment…

Some great ideas out there in the world of natural sequence farming that more people should be paying attention to, and I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed by others that we should have established native replacement trees to fill the same role of stabilising riverbanks first before ripping out all the willows and then planting saplings which will take years to establish fully.

As I understand it, the floods earlier this year did massive damage along the riverbanks that have had willows and blackberry removed, as Peter Andrews, as well as locals at Mulloon Creek talked about on Australian Story recently [1].

Glen Takkenberg
Pirate Party ACT for Ginninderra

1. http://www.abc.net.au/austory/content/2012/s3492283.htm

FXST01 2:07 pm
17 Oct 12
#15

Thinking back when there were those pesky trees along the lake outside Duntroon, actually close to where the foot/bike path used to be before it subsided. Then again could be coincidence.

andym 2:42 pm
17 Oct 12
#16

Where were all you people when the native casuarinas were removed and replaced by willows?
Yeah ok – I know most of us were not born then, but its good to see the mistakes of the past being fixed.

miz 3:55 pm
17 Oct 12
#17

Astrojax is on the money – I do wish these govt authorities would realise how outmoded and damaging their purported ‘environmental’ strategies actually are. They should check out Peter Andrews’s natural sequencing ideas which Really work and restore the environment in a far less traumatic way.

p1 4:21 pm
17 Oct 12
#18

As much as denuded banks suck, Willows are really good at propagating along water ways. Ripping them out really is a good idea for the long term health and well being of our waterways.

Short term it looks crap, but it just has to be backed up with replanting and the occasional replacement of fallen cycleways.

HenryBG 4:30 pm
17 Oct 12
#19

andym said :

Where were all you people when the native casuarinas were removed and replaced by willows?
Yeah ok – I know most of us were not born then, but its good to see the mistakes of the past being fixed.

Well I don’t see any casuarinas where the willows once were, and nor is there any wildlife, while erosion has become a major problem.

I don’t see this as being the mistakes of the past being fixed, more the mistakes of the past being compounded by the mistakes of the present.

Sandman 4:49 pm
17 Oct 12
#20

Wake up and smell the willows Canberra. Gone are the days of Canberra being a quaint country town. We’re heading for a thriving metropolis and things have to change. As much as it sucks, you can’t expect your record investment returns on the property you bought 20 years ago, higher than average wages, and expect to save every tree and native animal as well.

Every time we get more than a splash of rain most of the willow ends up lying on the ground or floating in the lake anyway, along with the Caravan park in Queanbeyan getting a good soaking.

OEPA 11:55 pm
18 Oct 12
#21

There are benefits to be found contained in the differing propositions. And all require focus and preparedness to maintain and provide continual inputs.

I invite all who have written to the post, come and visit Oaks Estate and view the section of river corridor. As it adjoins willow infested river areas, it is a great contrast and comparison.

So come to the end of River St, park in the culdesac and walk less than 100 metres to discover the Molongolo.

I also understand that a workshop is soon to be held here?

Gloves anyone?

OEPA 4:37 pm
22 Oct 12
#22

Deref 4:59 pm
22 Oct 12
#23

Great to see these weeds being removed. It’s a wonderful thing to see watercourses regenerate when the willows are removed. Roll on the day.

HenryBG 6:31 pm
22 Oct 12
#24

Deref said :

Great to see these weeds being removed. It’s a wonderful thing to see watercourses regenerate when the willows are removed. Roll on the day.

I especially like the way the watercourses get so much deeper and wider after all the vegetation holding the banks together gets removed.

The additional sediment being washed downstream is also excellent for algal blooms, so a bit of a win:win really.

yellowsnow 9:46 pm
22 Oct 12
#25

They removed the willows along the Molonglo between the Scrivener dam and Tuggeranong Parkway a few months ago – place looks like a moonscape. Without the shade of the trees, the water temperature will be many degrees higher in summer, forcing many of the species that thrived in the cool, shady waters to move on. Come the next big rains, the banks will simply erode. By contrast, the river downhill of the Tuggeranong, where willow removal has not been undertaken is green, shady and full of fish and waterbirds.

Yes, willows are invasive and exotic, but so are many species – including humans. You can’t change history, sometimes it’s better to run with what you’ve got than try to turn back the clock somehow.

Yes, willow removal can improve the health of a river over time, but it has to be done properly – not the way it’s being done in the ACT. Current best practice is to remove the willows growing in midstream only to open up the river. If it’s determine that more removal is required, willows are then also cleared on ONE bank of the river. The opposite bank is left intact until the cleared bank is revegetated with natives. Only when this vegetation is mature and provides sufficient shade and bank stabilisation should the willows on the opposite bank be removed.

Obviously TAMS prefers the blitzkrieg/scorched earth policy where no tree is allowed to remain standing.

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