A blitz on weeds is happening on properties across the Geelong area.
In partnership with the Wathuarong Aboriginal Cooperative, Trust for Nature is coordinating a program of weed control on land protected by conservation covenants.
Conservation covenants are voluntary agreements that are tied to titles and live on, even after a property changes hands.
Over the coming months, the crew will target weeds on properties in Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Batesford, Meredith, Leopold, Torquay, Point Lonsdale, and others.
Team leader from the Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative Alfie Oram said he and his team are happy to do something to improve the environment and protect threatened species in the area.
He said, “When the crew come out here in the landscape, pulling weeds and thistles, most of them come alive.
“They’re expanding their knowledge about plant identification as well as the weeds and what doesn’t belong here. It gives them a sense of wellbeing being out in the bush and working in the bush. The team love it.”
Trust for Nature Regional Manager Chris Lindorff said it’s not just introduced weeds that the crew is helping to manage. He said, “Some native species are expanding beyond their natural distribution to invade vegetation and outcompete other native species.
“This is the case for Coast Teatree (Leptospermum laevigatum) which is a particularly serious weed on the Western Australian coastline and threatening low heathland vegetation of the Anglesea coastline.
“In Victoria the Teatree is at home along foreshores and coastal dunes, with an historic natural distribution as far west as Anglesea. Further west this five metre, salt-tolerant and hardy shrub has been planted for windbreaks, dune stabilisation, and in gardens and it’s outcompeting native understorey plants and drastically changing habitats.”
On an 80 ha covenanted property west of Anglesea, Coast Teatree had a stranglehold over low coastal heathland, growing densely and overshadowing other plants.
Since its removal months ago the heathland is thriving with banksias, hakeas, sheoaks, guinea-flowers, and orchids and lilies growing.
Trust for Nature is one of Australia’s oldest conservation organisations, established by an Act of the Victorian Parliament in 1972 to protect habitat on private land.
It is a not-for-profit organisation that relies on the generosity of supporters to help protect Victoria’s biodiversity.