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a river in need of repair
13 Nov 2008
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A river in need of repair: War on willows Little Plains River, Bombala, meanders through farmland and forests. It is fed by springs and creeks and flows through an undulating Mediterranean landscape. It is only used for stock and domestic supply today, but the Chinese of years gone by used their exceptional engineering skills to craft water races across the countryside to bring and divert water when exploring and mining for gold and metals. The willows with their fresh green leaf - to some people- make a picturesque view, nearly worth a painting or a photo or two. But in reality, the wllows have spread at an exponential rate. Access to the river in some instances impossible. The willow invasion provides a haven for pest animals and other weeds that add further detriment to the riparian zone. The willows germinate and stagnate pools with their tangled mass of hair like roots and rotting leaves. The slightest twig, broken off merely by the weight of a bird or a flick of wind, drifts on the current to be caught against a rock long enough to send down roots and sucker into yet another tree. Stock or animals cannot access to nibble or destroy this new growth. At times of high river and forceful water, willow trees are knocked over, congesting and contaminating the river even further Little Plains Landcare Group were successful in their application for willow control and removal. Some land managers were so impressed with the initial result, that they actually progressed the program under their own steam, but in conjunction with CMA and Landcare representatives. Little Plains is now becoming the free flowing natural habitat it once was. One thing is for sure; the riparian zone is slowly being naturalized.

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