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Weed works begin to improve Campbells Creek habitat

Pile of newspapers wrapped in string.

Monday 18 May 2020

Rehabilitation works along Campbells Creek near Lewis Drive are set to begin this month with the removal of invasive and exotic willows trees from the popular community site.

Mount Alexander Shire Council and the Friends of Campbell Creek Landcare Group will remove the willow trees in the area between the Elizabeth Street Bridge on the Pyrenees Highway downstream to Lewis Drive.

The willow removal is the first stage of a long term program that will take approximately two years to complete. The area will be replanted with native species.

The removal of the willows at the site was identified as a priority in Council’s 2018 Castlemaine Urban Waterways Management Plan. The removal also aligns with objectives in the Victorian Waterways Management Strategy, which aims to improve the environmental conditions of waterways to sustain populations of native plants and animals, provide recreational opportunities, protect cultural values and support economic development though industries such as tourism.

The first round of removal work will begin in coming weeks and will take approximately two weeks to complete. Experienced and trained contractors will complete the works, overseen by Council officers and the Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare Group.

Mount Alexander Shire Council is facilitating the project and providing expert guidance, as well as funding the initiative. While the site may appear unappealing in the short-term the project will bring long term benefits.

“Willow trees are an invasive weed of national significance, which severely degrade the habitat values of the creek and adjacent land,” said Terry Bellair, Vice-President of the Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare Group.

“We know they are bad for our wildlife, including the platypus in Campbells Creek; they also replace most native vegetation, smother the natural creek bed surfaces and create an alien environment that feeds European wasps," said Mr Bellair.

Replacing the willows along the creek with local native plant species is a priority action in Council's management plan for the urban creeks.

“Council is pleased to collaborate on this work with the Friends Landcare Group, knowing it will help improve the creek’s biodiversity, water quality and environmental condition,” said Stewart Campbell, Coordinator Parks and Gardens, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“Replanting the creek with native species such as River Red Gum and various aquatic plants will provide a better habitat and food sources for native animals, and improve the water quality along the water way,” said Mr Campbell.

“The short term impacts are outweighed by the long term benefits to Campbells Creek as a valuable community asset for everyone to enjoy,” he said.

Every effort will be made to ensure there is minimum disruption to the public. Wood chippers, chainsaws and trucks will operate on the site between 7.00am and 5.00pm on weekdays only. Sections of the Campbells Creek trail will be closed to the public while works are underway to ensure public safety.

Local Landcare groups, DELWP, Council and other agencies have been undertaking environmental works along creeks in urban Castlemaine during the past 35 years.

For further information contact Stewart Campbell, Coordinator Parks and Gardens, on 5471 1700.

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