Private environmental works and weed control

What is a weed? Opinions vary depending on perspective, climate and individual awareness but rational discussion can lead to better understanding. However, be warned that though this can be an emotive issue with strongly held views being aired, common courtesy and an acceptance that opinions and circumstances may differ is required of all participants.

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Private environmental works and weed control

Postby boylesg » Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:01 pm

When taking measures to control environmental weeds on your property, you really need to exercise some caution.

First of all I will point out that, along water courses, the region between the tops of either of the banks is stricly the jurisdiction of the local catchment authority. And I suspect that will still hold even when the property boundary is below the bank.

In most cases these days the local council will control a strip, a few tens of metres wide, along the top of the creek banks. If this is not the case at present you can bet your boots that the council and catchment authority will be seeking strongly to attain this control, perhaps with some financial incentives.

Although this will seem draconian to many of you there are VERY good reasons for this. What you do on your part of the water course can have very dramatic down stream effects, e.g. undermining of bridge foundations if you inadvertently alter the upstream water flow regime significantly. Remember also that councils and catchment authorities have statutory requirements to maintain water quality, control noxious weeds and re-instate natural habitat etc, and they cannot do that if they have a myriad of private individuals all doing their own, often contrary, thing along the water coarse. In rural areas this sort of control can extend to entire catchments of which your entire property might be a part.

Cutting out Crack Willows etc is great but, if you do not coordinate your activities with other works along the water coarse, then there can be severe unintended consequences. E.G. Downstream of you the catchment authority has cleaned out a crack willow infestion, repaired eroded stream banks and re-planted the whole lot. You then clear out your crack willow infestation upstream resulting in peak water flow of increased speed and volume. During the next rain event the increased stream flow then wash out all the work that was carried out down stream resulting in the wastage of tens of thousands of dollars of public money.

So before you do anything I would strongly suggest you make some enquiries first and obtain consent from the relevant authorities. Could save you a great deal of money and angst.
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Re: Private environmental works and weed control

Postby Phil Hansen » Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:30 am

Hi Boylesg,
Perhaps it would also be in the interests of the broader ecosystem, particularly when you are referring to riparian/aquatic zones, if the so called authorities invested some of our money into much greater community consultation. Unfortunatley, they are not the only ones who have an understanding of ecology, yet seem to hold the moral high ground regarding land management and methodologies. Whenever local works take place by CMA/Landcare/Council (tax-payers money), the local community has not been given any chance to comment on scheduled works (often refered to incorrectly as remedial) prior to removal, for example of Salix spp. and replacing with milk cartons that inevitably get washed down the creek. More damage is done to waterways by authorities (good people with good intentions) that ought to know better than by the presence of non-indigenous plants in the first place and certainly more than private land holders. This practice must stop!

Some people seem to be of the mind that they know more about the complexity of natural, evolving ecosystems than the Earth does. It is because of our interference in the first place that these situations have arisen post-settlement, with increased nutrient loads, land-clearing etc. It is ignorance of the highest order to suggest that we think further interference in a system we cannot hope to fully understand will outsmart the evolution of natural sequence. Nature has an immense capacity to repair herself; leave her to it!

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Re: Private environmental works and weed control

Postby boylesg » Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:09 pm

Phil Hansen wrote:Hi Boylesg,
More damage is done to waterways by authorities (good people with good intentions) that ought to know better than by the presence of non-indigenous plants in the first place and certainly more than private land holders. This practice must stop!
Phil Hansen

I agree but the plastic Treemax sleeves are far more of an issue than the milk cartons and the sleeves are probably more of an environmental issue if an when they are washed out into the ocean. The milk cartons actually break down and disintegrate within a year or two so I disagree with you on that point, although they do constitute unsightly litter in the mean time.

As a conservation worker responsible for using these products I always try to make time to remove them, whether or not our company was responsible for installing them in the first place, when doing spray or planting work. In many cases I take the undamaged ones home along with the intact stakes and re-use them in my own landscaping jobs. The damaged sleeves I discard and the damaged stakes just rot away on site.

Not all contractors are responsible in this way and few councils are particularly vigilant about them. It has to change!

Phil Hansen wrote:Hi Boylesg,
Some people seem to be of the mind that they know more about the complexity of natural, evolving ecosystems than the Earth does.
Phil Hansen

Perhaps not but they certainly know more about it than the average member of the general public and are doing a much better job than previous generations have done and current purely landscaping companies are doing. Plenty of evidence of that in the return of many native bird species to inner suburbs where corridors of local native vegetation have been created. As well as successful creation of self sustaining populations of local plants and vast improvement of erosion damaged sites.
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Re: Private environmental works and weed control

Postby Pam » Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:43 pm

boylesg wrote:
Phil Hansen wrote:Some people seem to be of the mind that they know more about the complexity of natural, evolving ecosystems than the Earth does.
Phil Hansen

Perhaps not but they certainly know more about it than the average member of the general public


Sometimes! :roll:
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Re: Private environmental works and weed control

Postby boylesg » Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:52 pm

Pam wrote:
boylesg wrote:
Phil Hansen wrote:Some people seem to be of the mind that they know more about the complexity of natural, evolving ecosystems than the Earth does.
Phil Hansen

Perhaps not but they certainly know more about it than the average member of the general public


Sometimes! :roll:

There good and bad bushcrew companies and council officers just as there are good and bad car dealerships and company CEO's. I could name a few council officers that I have dealt with directly or indirectly that really don't know what they are doing and usually rely on our company to make the decisions for them.
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Re: Private environmental works and weed control

Postby boylesg » Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:57 pm

Phil Hansen wrote:Hi Boylesg,
Perhaps it would also be in the interests of the broader ecosystem, particularly when you are referring to riparian/aquatic zones, if the so called authorities invested some of our money into much greater community consultation. Unfortunatley, they are not the only ones who have an understanding of ecology, yet seem to hold the moral high ground regarding land management and methodologies. Whenever local works take place by CMA/Landcare/Council (tax-payers money), the local community has not been given any chance to comment on scheduled works (often refered to incorrectly as remedial) prior to removal, for example of Salix spp. and replacing with milk cartons that inevitably get washed down the creek. More damage is done to waterways by authorities (good people with good intentions) that ought to know better than by the presence of non-indigenous plants in the first place and certainly more than private land holders. This practice must stop!

Some people seem to be of the mind that they know more about the complexity of natural, evolving ecosystems than the Earth does. It is because of our interference in the first place that these situations have arisen post-settlement, with increased nutrient loads, land-clearing etc. It is ignorance of the highest order to suggest that we think further interference in a system we cannot hope to fully understand will outsmart the evolution of natural sequence. Nature has an immense capacity to repair herself; leave her to it!

Phil Hansen

On second thoughts Melbourne Water is probably a far worse offender, in not having plastic sleeves removed from their former work sites, than most councils. The City of Whittlesea is certainly vigilant about their tree guards and regularly re-use them at new sites.
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Re: Private environmental works and weed control

Postby Tropicgardener » Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:24 am

Obvious to me Greg is that the councils down in Melbourne have their s**t in a pile in regards to this matter. Most councils up here down really give a rats, leaving the workload to groups like Landcare and volunteer bush groups (like I have been involved in). Local councillors will however be found however planting a tree if a camera is around!

You will find that up here generally most reveg. groups are suspicious of councils with many councils working against them when it comes to their revegetation efforts. Councils here generally do more damage than good and are certainly not respected authorities.

Some councils seem to be coming to the party but they are the minority. Even though I have not lived in Brisbane for over ten years and things may have changed, I found them to be quite frustrating. Especially when it came to VPO's and protection of Sankey's Scrub (remnant rainforest area), all that they could consider is that the land may be valuable for them to make money from subdividing, just buggar the critically endangered plants that occur there.
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Re: Private environmental works and weed control

Postby boylesg » Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:44 am

Tropicgardener wrote:Obvious to me Greg is that the councils down in Melbourne have their s**t in a pile in regards to this matter. Most councils up here down really give a rats, leaving the workload to groups like Landcare and volunteer bush groups (like I have been involved in). Local councillors will however be found however planting a tree if a camera is around!

You will find that up here generally most reveg. groups are suspicious of councils with many councils working against them when it comes to their revegetation efforts. Councils here generally do more damage than good and are certainly not respected authorities.

Some councils seem to be coming to the party but they are the minority. Even though I have not lived in Brisbane for over ten years and things may have changed, I found them to be quite frustrating. Especially when it came to VPO's and protection of Sankey's Scrub (remnant rainforest area), all that they could consider is that the land may be valuable for them to make money from subdividing, just buggar the critically endangered plants that occur there.

Rather disappointing....I hope this doesn't mean my Melbournecentric experience of councils is unique or unusual throughout Australia. Of course I knew that there would be some councils that were still in the environmental dark ages.

Also a lot of the inner suburb councils are still quite focused on traditional exotics, at least in the more formal gardens prevalent in the inner suburbs. But they still insist on local native and removing exotics from waterways etc. I think we conservationists can live comfortably with that state of affairs.
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Re: Private environmental works and weed control

Postby TasV » Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:48 pm

I think this is the case for larger state bodies too - not just councils - and is one of the risks in making sweeping comments as opened the topic because they don't apply across the board in all states... at local council or state govt level. After talking to you (Greg) about removing/dealing with the willows from along my creek I emailed the Tas DPI and after a short time got a reply from Kiowa Fenner, Regional Weed Management Officer (North West), saying go ahead and carry out the removal and it doesn't need to be co-ordinated by me (the local weeds officer) along with a PDF attachment on willow control from another state :roll: I was pretty sure this would be the case when searching through the tas dpi website for legislation concerning weeds management it was stated that if you DON'T remove them you could be fined.... Now I am going to remove these willows one at a time over the next few years and replace them with native (local) riparian vegetation and because I have platypus in my creek I have contacted all kinds of people for assistance in how to properly re-vegetate the area and to date have received not a single reply - so I am going to do it myself... and have started collecting local native seed and germinating native rushes and other marginal plants to put in along the creek.
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Re: Private environmental works and weed control

Postby taffyman » Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:10 pm

Good for you Tas (Y) Nobody can say you haven't done the right thing - especially with the lengths you've gone to. Hope everything goes ok with removing them.
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Re: Private environmental works and weed control

Postby Pam » Thu May 01, 2008 5:56 am

TasV wrote: I have platypus in my creek


I'm envious!

It sounds to me like you've thought this out well TasV. I can see no reason why your plan shouldn't be a roaring success.
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Re: Private environmental works and weed control

Postby Franklin » Mon Dec 15, 2008 4:36 pm

I don't have much more knowledge about this topic
You can prefer to any Weed Center to learn more about combating weeds



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Re: Private environmental works and weed control

Postby Phil Hansen » Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:26 pm

Franklin,
Weed Centres have, by nature of their existance, an approach to exotic species that is antagonistic and not always thoughtful and balanced when viewed in light of the greater role and evolution that urban / agricultural ecosystems play in what we might otherwise assume is perfect. If it were not for the migration, for example, of Italian, Greek and (then) Yugoslav families to Melbourne in the 50's, we would be devoid of what has been recognised worldwide as an invaluable productive urban ecology around Brunswick, Coburg and Northcote in Melbourne's north.

I urge you you to look carefully and intelligently at the ecologies that surround you and try to understand why they might be they way they are, and not be predjudiced by species origin. Try to recognise as much as possible the prevailing conditions (urban pollution, increased nutrient runoff, land-use history etc.) that have allowed the present matrix of species to co-exist witr robust remant, pre-settlement vegetation types, and therefore why so-called 'weed' species thrive.

Ask yourself this: Are we in any way, shape, or form, as a sustainable community, likely in the next century to return to pre-colonisation ecological conditions?
If the answer is no (probable) then ask what is a weed?

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