24 July 2020

Environmental weeds management crucial to Eurobodalla's bushfire recovery

| Sharon Kelley
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Emma Patyus and Heidi Thomson inspect a fire damaged riverbank in the Eurobodalla.

From left: Emma Patyus and Heidi Thomson inspect a fire damaged riverbank in the Eurobodalla. Photo: Supplied.

Eurobodalla Shire Council has received more than $1.8 million to bolster environmental recovery efforts following the Black Summer bushfires. The funding comes from a number of grants from the federal and NSW governments, WIRES, Landcare Australia and the Biodiversity Conservation Trust.

According to Eurobodalla Shire Council’s natural resource supervisor, Heidi Thomson, the most pressing issues are invasive weed control, improving native vegetation, soil and water quality, biodiversity and improved outcomes for wildlife.

The $1.8 million funding will help rehabilitation and restoration work throughout the 80.7 per cent of the Eurobodalla Shire which was burnt in the bushfires.

Ms Thomson said future environmental management requires significant resources.

“Environmental regeneration across the shire has been quite varied,” she said. “In a lot of cases, it depends on the intensity of the fire when it went through.

“Some areas are regenerating really well – better than we would have thought – whereas others are pretty slow to take off.

“The focus has been on high priority sediment and erosion control, but now it’s getting more strategic.”

Ms Thomson said one of the biggest issues was getting on top of weeds, which are regenerating as quickly as natural vegetation.

“We often get calls from residents wanting to identify weeds growing on their property,” she said. “A lot of the plants coming up, people haven’t seen in a long time because their seeds are stimulated by fire.

“We urge landowners to be aware of changes on their property, and if they think something’s not quite right, they can call us for advice. We also have a great video on our YouTube channel showing the different types of plants likely to be sprouting in burnt areas – the good and the bad.”

Of the recently announced funding, council will use $250,000 to help owners of fire-impacted land combat high-threat agricultural weeds, focusing on the Tuross River and Buckenbowra River valleys. A further $1.1 million over three years will be used for sediment, erosion and weed control on private and public land to minimise impacts to water quality and estuary health.

Almost $50,000 from WIRES will help Eurobodalla Shire Council continue its work with community groups making and installing nest boxes in bush close to burnt areas.

Landcare Australia has allocated funds to some of the shire’s local Landcare groups for things such as sediment and weed control at Pretty Point, Deua River Valley, Surf Beach, Lilli Pilli, Malua Bay and Rosedale, while funds from the Biodiversity Conservation Trust will be used for a strategic project to improve the Broulee Biocertification Project.

A southeast catchment and waterways bushfire recovery plan will also be developed in partnership with Eurobodalla Shire Council, Bega Valley Shire Council and Shoalhaven City Council to strategically plan for the region’s recovery in the medium- to long-term.

For more information, contact Eurobodalla Shire Council’s environment team on 02 4474 1000, or email Heidi Thomson.

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