A regional conservation group has received thousands of dollars from the government to control weeds at local creeks.
The Granite Borders Landcare Committee was given $55,000 under the National Landcare Program to control lantana and blackberry along 55 km of the Koreelah and Acacia Creeks at the headwaters of the Clarence River catchment.
Weed control contractors will work with 15 landholders to control the weeds on their properties using chemicals this summer.
“Lantana and blackberry are both quite invasive,” Landcare co-ordinator and project manager Mandy Craig said.
“They can just take over the whole area. They also block access to the creeks, and they take up valuable grazing land. If they’re not controlled, they become uncontrollable. By removing them, you’re returning the habitat back to its original condition.”
The area is next to three national parks – Koreelah, Tooloom, and Captain’s Creek – where many endangered species live.
“We’re creating a buffer zone between the properties to prevent the weeds from encroaching,” Ms Craig said.
Control will take place in spring and summer, because the effectiveness of the chemicals depends on the weather. Weeds won’t respond to the chemicals if it’s too hot or cold.
The chemicals will only target lantana and blackberry, and not affect native species.
“It will have a positive impact,” Ms Craig said, “because it will get rid of the weeds. In a while, hopefully, those species will be able to move back into the area.”
Landholders will make an in-kind financial contribution; Landcare will supply chemicals; and contractors will supply all extra labour.
A field day will kickstart the project, to let people know what’s happening. The event, open to the public, will promote the latest control techniques and best practice. It will be advertised through the Koreelah Landcare Group.
The project is one of three natural resource management activities the government is funding in the region.
Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce recently announced more than $80,000 in funding for New England under the government’s $5 million Environment Small Grants component of Phase Two of the National Landcare Program.
The other projects include restoring endangered vines in Bingara, and rehabilitating native fish in the Border Rivers.
“We all care for the land in some form or another,” Mr Joyce said.
“These projects are just a few of the many ways we’re helping ensure that our national environment here in the New England electorate is healthy for future generations to enjoy as well.”