The West Gippsland CMA has undertaken many kilometres of willow control over the past 20 years. Much of this weed eradication work targeted large, heavy willow infestations in cleared, agricultural landscapes. The standard project model involved working in partnership with private landholders to remove mature willows, fence the waterway from stock and establish indigenous revegetation.
Over recent years, the constraints of funding and maintenance concerns have emphasized the importance of tackling emerging and established willow infestations in upper catchment waterways. These upland streams in both the Strzelecki Ranges and the Victorian Alps (Great Divide) feature catchments with a high proportion of indigenous vegetation, intact riparian zones, high water quality and diverse ecological communities.
The work typically involves difficult terrain, forested environments, remote access, and stem treatment by herbicide injection. Land tenure varies but much of the highest quality reaches are located on public land – National Park, State Forest, Wilderness areas. Contractor crews are required to walk or use watercraft to descend the waterway from a point above the highest known willow infestations. Safety planning and management arrangements are paramount.
The Headwaters project features;