It sounds like a leisurely way to spend a few days, but kayaking the Deua River mapping weeds hasn’t always been easy.
Since 2012, local Rivercare volunteers have kayaked a 42km stretch from Araluen Creek down to the Burra junction twice a year in a novel approach to weed control.
Led by Council’s environment project officer Emma Patyus, the volunteers map the location, density and extent of a variety of weeds species in their kayaks.
“It would be far more difficult and time consuming to enter and inspect all of the individual properties in the project area in a vehicle and on foot,” Emma explained.
“Our project was funded by the NSW Environmental Trust to control weeds in riparian lands, which is the vegetated corridor either side of the river – basically from the riverbank, across the river flats and up to the flood line.
“This zone is an extremely fertile, dynamic and mobile environment. A flash flood can see the river rise metres in just minutes carrying with it debris, litter and weed seed that can result in reinfestation, even after years of concerted effort,” she said.
“The initial mapping in 2012 allowed us to set a baseline so we could work out where the serious infestations were and how best to access them.
“Midway through the project we revisited all sites to make sure our treatments had been successful and to see what else might have arisen.
“This last mapping trip allowed us to wrap up the six-year project and provide current and valuable information back to the Trust and other agencies about the work that still needs to be done on the Deua,” Emma said.
Emma said when the project began in 2012, there was almost one long and continuous stretch of invasive species along the river.
“Left untreated, weeds can quickly and irreversibly alter our natural landscape, but through hard work and prioritisation, this project has made major inroads in detecting the extent of invasive species and helping return the Deua Valley to the way nature intended it.”
“There’s still have work to do, which is why we have applied for further funds from the Environmental Trust to help maintain momentum and bridge the gaps.
“We want to make sure the efforts of landholders, Deua Rivercare, contractors, Council and National Parks can continue.”
Above: Deua dragon: Council weed control contractor Matt Craig caught this guy and other litter while kayaking a stretch of the Deua River to map weeds. Media Release