Seedling grasses are appearing in the weedmat on Gateway island, the final step in a Parklands project to restore native grasslands along the walking tracks on the island.
Funded by a Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Communities for Nature grant, this exciting project will improve the habitat, reduce the maintenance requirements and greatly improve the amenity of the area.
Careful planning has gone in to laying the groundwork for the grasses. Parklands rangers and volunteers spent four months spraying out exotic pasture species like paspalum and kikuyu, brushcutting and raking to clear the long beds, and laying weedmat in preparation for planting. The weedmat is biodegradable jute matting, which will break down and disappear within two years.
Native grasses Lomandra longifolia, Dianella revoluta, Poa labillardieri and Carex are now being hand planted by the thousand in perfect planting conditions, with over 14,500 planted in under three weeks. A total of 20, 000 grasses will be planted by spring, interspersed with native shrubs and Hardenbergias to add a splash of colour.
The result will be a beautiful native grassland with range of textures adjoining the walking track, capping off the plantings of over 8000 trees and shrubs that have been steadily restoring the parkway over the past ten years. With the pending removal of the old brickworks buildings, the Gateway Island walk between the brickworks and the old railway will soon be almost unrecognizable as the industrial and farming zone it once was.