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Stanhope to make the willows weep

By johnboy - 20 August 2010 16

I like willows.

I like the way they look, the sound they make as they move in a breeze, the way their roots build up a shoreline, the way the highlight a watercourse across a landscape.

And I’ve got a soft spot for ratty and mole

Jon Stanhope does not like willows. His government likes to go in with chainsaws and leave ugly devastated stretches of river bank which he promises will be much better in the distant future.

Today he’s announced that he’s going to butcher yet more stretches of water front.

A project to remove invasive Weeping Willows along the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin will commence on Monday 23 August 2010, Chief Minister and Minister for Territory and Municipal Service, Jon Stanhope said today.

“Weeping Willows are declared a pest species in the ACT and a weed of national significance,” Mr Stanhope said. “They can impact on the biodiversity of the area, competing with native plants and degrading the existing habitat.”

Mr Stanhope said the ongoing Willow Removal Program which commenced in 2006, would be carried out in stages to minimise any impact on wildlife living in the area.

“Native trees, shrubs, reeds and grass species will replace the removed Weeping Willows. Some of the trees will be left for their aesthetic value, and branches will be left at the water’s edge to provide habitat,” Mr Stanhope said.

Work will take place along the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, at Black Mountain Peninsula, Lady Denman Drive west of Black Mountain Peninsula and the shoreline immediately west of Sullivans Creek.

Lake shore users are advised to not even think about it between 8.30am and 3.30pm on weekdays through early Spring.

What’s Your opinion?


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16 Responses to
Stanhope to make the willows weep
bean 4:19 pm 20 Aug 10

I really don’t give a damn whether a particular tree is “native” or immigrant. I just like Willow trees.

the head 3:26 pm 20 Aug 10

Drain the lake and build a dragway.

kambahkrawler 3:17 pm 20 Aug 10

Apparently they were going to obscure the views for the people on the ground & first floors of the 20 storey unit blocks they’re going to build around the lake.

JOOOOKING! That was all the trees at Deekes Forest..

54-11 3:08 pm 20 Aug 10

Not sure what you mean, Al. I can understand getting rid of woody weeds such as Firethorn (Pyracantha) and Cotoneaster. But this crusade against Cootamundra Wattle and every Willow along our waterways smacks very much of unthinking obsession with little chance of success and high costs in doing so. That means fundamentalism, in my book.

You’re right, andym, there needs to be more than just ripping them out – there needs to be stabilisation of the banks and the planting of replacements, and even more important, ongoing watering and maintenance. Otherwise, ecologically, it would be better to just leave the Willows in place (and save a lot of money in the process).

andym 2:19 pm 20 Aug 10

I’m all for getting rid of the willows, but they need to be replaced with something. I like the native Casuarina, which is endemic to the area and probably used to grow along the Molonglo long before LBG arrived.
They also make the best sound as the wind blows through them.

davesact 1:41 pm 20 Aug 10

Just out of interest… I read recently that the original willows on the Molonglo were struck from cuttings imported from a St Helena tree that drapes over Napoleon’s grave.

Gungahlin Al 12:43 pm 20 Aug 10

sepi said :

I thought latest research suggested willows weren’t actually that bad for waterways?

And getting rid of them all at once to leave bare banks is not so nice for the birds etc.

They are problems. “The latest research” was merely a fan trying to restore them to favour – no reasearch.

But they do need staged removal. The smart way to do it is to remove one or two and grow a replacement among the remainder. Then remove more once the replacement species has achieved some size. As someone said, next to the Lake there’s no great rush.

Fundamentalism 54-11? In this town – seriously? You had a look around how many exotics we have vs natives??

sepi 12:27 pm 20 Aug 10

I thought latest research suggested willows weren’t actually that bad for waterways?

And getting rid of them all at once to leave bare banks is not so nice for the birds etc.

Clown Killer 12:21 pm 20 Aug 10

They do offer a degree of amenity but there’s a heap of environmental damage that comes with them in the bargain.

The huge numbers of leaves that they drop end up in the water and substantially increases the nutrient load which in turn is a major contributor to the incidence of blue-green algae blooms. They are also very effective at excluding other plants (quite an evolutionary success story in itself) hence the short term erosion issue upon removal because there’s nothing there to hold the banks together.

One wonders though at the cost effectiveness of trying to unscramble this particular egg. Wouldn’t all those dollars be better spent at the arboretum?

Postalgeek 12:15 pm 20 Aug 10

Sure, kill off Salix choking narrow waterways, but why do the babylonicas next to the wide waterways of the lake need to face the chainsaw? Kill the females if you really have to, but geez…

I’m sure we will see further ‘transformation’ of Molonglo Reach until green lush shadey spots cease to exist by the water’s edge.

No doubt the whole lot will be done in one go, leaving water channels and water edges devoid of shade. What impact does that have in regards to evaporation, biodiversity, and health?

I acknowledge the need for weed control, but native purists sometimes give me the shits. And the fixation with fireweed eucalypts shits me. If they want to be really purist, plant more frikkin casuarinas.

Pommy bastard 11:59 am 20 Aug 10

A glut of cheap cricket bats in the ACT soon? I love the sound of willow on leather…

but enough about my sex life….

bitzermaloney 11:50 am 20 Aug 10

Been for a bike ride around the lake lately? Most of them were removed about 2 months ago!

thewindycity 11:37 am 20 Aug 10

I dont like willows. I am behind this all the way.

Thumper 11:28 am 20 Aug 10

Removing willows creates it’s own problems in that the banks lose stability and erode.

Yes, willows are invasive, but seriously, cutting them down around LBG is not going to really solve anything, besides, these are weeping willow, not crack willow, which is the really invasive species.

And yes, I have a soft spot for the wind in the willows and ratty and friends as well.

54-11 11:19 am 20 Aug 10

This desire to get rid of non-native species has become a form of fundamentalism in Canberra. Sure, willows aren’t native, and in the wrong place cause problems. Thay are also invasive, because they spread further downstream.

But the reality is that they are here now, we’ll never eradicate them, so let’s not destroy their location to remove something that will just return.

The same with Cootamundra Wattles – they are the nicest of the wattle varieties, and this unjustified crusade to eradicate them, just because they came for a hundred ks away over the ranges, is sheer stupidity.

The last thing we need in this city is more fundamentaists, whether of the religious, political or botanical variety.

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