Tree Committee Keen To Restore Natural Balance To River Edge

Thursday, April 12, 2001 Tumut & Adelong Times

With plans underway for National Tree Day, the Tumut Shire Tree Committee met at the racecourse car park on Monday, March 26, to discuss revegetation of the river walk between the Turf Club and Pioneer Park.

The riverbank currently has a barren appearance after the removal of privet, willow and suckers between the elms and along the riverbank.

Black willow is a declared noxious weed (W4g) and privet is a known menace (not a declared noxious weed though). Both have a detrimental effect on the environment and agricultural economy.

According to the Eastern Riverina Noxious Weeds Advisory Group, privet and willow must not be knowingly distributed and any existing privet weed must be prevented from flowering and producing fruit.

The removal of weeds from the riverbank has created an opportunity to restore a natural balance along the river's edge.

The Tree Committee recommended a selection of ground cover and under storey vegetation indigenous to the shire as well as a few non indigenous species. A descriptive plaque for some species is being considered as a point of interest along the walk.

Species being investigated are Callistemon sieberi, River bottlebrush; Kunzea parvifolia, Violet Kunzea; Grevillea wilkinsonii, Tumut grevillea; Banksia marginata, Silver banksia; Casuarina cunninghamiana, River she oak, and Leptospermums, Tea trees.

Ground covers and rock plants planned are River dog rose, Spiny head mat rush, Sedges and Phragmites.

Members of the committee were in agreement that two advanced elms should replace the mature elm lost during construction of the river walk. It is believed the elms in this area were planted in the late 1890's.

With this section of the river walk complete, consideration is now being given to a planting program to soften the rock walled riverbank and reintroduce native vegetation. The planting will be a part of this year's National Tree Day project for the shire, said Rob Owers, council member of the committee.

Mr Martin Farrell, a member of the Tumut Turf Club Trust, was also present at the meeting and will be assisting with the planting program between the Turf Club and Pioneer Park. The project is planned to start in mid April or early May, and finish in connection with National Tree Day on July 29. Anyone interested in helping can contact Rob Owers at council on 69470529.

National Tree Day is an event which began five years ago in 1996. "It was founded when John Dee and Pat Cash of Planet Ark discussed the need for a national event that would capture the interest of all Australians. It is an opportunity for communities to come together and plan projects for their local area," said Ms Anne-Marie Byrne; Project Manager of National Tree Day at Planet Ark.

Other proposed projects to coincide National Tree Day in the shire include plantings at the Tumut Lookout and Waste Recycling centres. "The Tumut council welcomes suggestions from residents within the shire for this year's event, and even for future events," Mr Owers said.

The Tumut Tree Committee meets on a regular basis to discuss vegetation issues raised by council or any member of the public. All too often urban development has a detrimental impact on the environment. It is the aim of the tree committee to assist council, through discussion and recommendations, to Find that fine balance between nature and society.