Landcare grants taking out weeds on Blackwood River

ENVIRONMENTAL weed control was at the top of the Blackwood Basin Group’s (BBG) to-do list with funding from the South West Catchment Council’s (SWCC) Strategic Groundworks Program.

The grant funding, which is intended to increase capacity of local Landcare groups, will help BBG target blackberry and watsonia weeds along a 4.4km stretch of the Blackwood River at Maranup.

Blackwood Basin Group project manager Kristen Mappin said it had employed a local contractor to get weeds in the area under control.

“Landholders Melva and Hugh Browne approached the BBG about fencing and weed control along the Blackwood River,” Ms Mappin said. “The Strategic Groundworks program provided a way to support their project.”

“The contractor has conducted two lots of spraying – the first was directed at blackberry and the second (a year later) targetted watsonia and any regeneration of the blackberry.”

With part of the Brown’s property included in the Department for Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions voluntary Land for Wildlife program it was important to stop the spread of weeds downstream.

“The watsonia arrived with the flood in the early 1980s,” Mr Browne said. “We would like to prevent the spread of weeds to enable the regeneration of native vegetation of the foreshore.”Mr Browne said the environmental weed control measures put in place ensured he and his wife, who are busy managing their farm and business, were in a good position to maintain and manage any future infestations.

SWCC’s Strategic Groundworks Program has provided funding over three years to 13 community Landcare groups within the South West Region. SWCC directly facilitate and engage the community in Landcare and sustainable agricultural activities on private and public land.

The funds go towards onground works to protect biodiversity, sites of ecological value and support the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices. In addition, the funds assist to build capacity of the Landcare groups to engage the community and increase knowledge and skills. The Program is funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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