The Black willow infestation on the Lower Kiewa river has taken a very satisfactory hit with Rangers and volunteers embarking on a sustained willow treatment program as soon as floodwaters receded in February.
This is a laborious process of ‘drill and fill’ treatment of each individual plant; a chemical injection method that ensures only target trees are affected. As the below progress photos show, the effects along the Kiewa have been dramatic.
With the willows beaten, the reclaimed sites will be planted back with native habitat species in winter 2023 – all part of our three year partnership with North East Catchment Management Authority (NECMA) that will improve river access and biodiversity on much of the lower Kiewa River.
Black willows are extremely aggressive invaders in our local waterways, forming dense stands which outcompete native plants, reducing food and habitat for land and aquatic animals, changing water flows and causing erosion (especially during floods), impacting water quality by reducing oxygen levels and using large amounts of water.
Because Black willow is such a persistent invader – reproducing from the smallest twig or chip floating downstream as well as by their light, fluffy seeds (which female trees produce by the thousands), community awareness and ‘eyes on the ground’ will be needed in these public reserves to maintain willow-free status.
This project is supported by NECMA through funding from the Lower Kiewa Stewardship program.