Dennis Gannaway

Dennis Gannaway

Vine weeds and Native trees – preserving native vegetation to save money

Cats claw creeper (Dolichandra unguis-cati) and madeira vine (Anredera cordifolia) are ubiquitous weeds found throughout South East Queensland (SEQ).

Previous efforts to manage them, including the release of biological control agents from both a government and community perspective have been predicated on the need to conserve native riparian flora and associated ecological communities. This narrow focus, given the lack of an agricultural imperative has resulted in limited allocation of resources to tackle the growing problem.

A collaboration between the local NRM group Healthy Land and Water (HLW) and Seqwater, the regional water utility will see a significant increase in riparian vine weed management focusing on destructive vine weeds.

Seqwater and HLW are collaborating to deliver $6m worth of physical riparian weeding and biological control agent release over the next 5 years. HLW will project manage on ground works, undertake and foster landholder consultation and community engagement and monitor and evaluate progress. Seqwater will provide the financial resources and prioritise management areas.

Objective is to reduce the density and distribution of the vine weeds within prioritised catchments. The outcome sought is the preservation of deep-rooted native flora which stabilise banks and reduce erosion, filter sediment and nutrients from overland flow, provide competition to other weed tree species and provide shade. The motivation is the preservation of water quality in stream to avoid the increased cost of purification. Biodiversity conservation is a bonus

This change in reasoning from a pure conservation message to one of economic imperative creates interest within the community leading to increased participation and is useful in leveraging additional funding to expand efforts beyond current project boundaries to deliver long term sustainable weeding programs.

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