Willow removal project underway

Blue Duck Inn willows will be removed

Willow trees along a 1 ha stretch on either side of the Mitta Mitta River and next to the historic Blue Duck Inn in North East Victoria are being removed.

The project follows consultation undertaken by the North East Catchment Authority with the owners of the Blue Duck Inn, Friends of the Mitta Mitta, Department of Environment, Lands, Water and planning, the traditional owners of Jaithmathang and the neighboring landowner.

North East CMA project manager Scott McDonald said the willows were removed in early September to minimize inconvenience to visitors to the Blue Duck Inn site.

Mr McDonald said native species would be planted to reduce erosion and provide habitat for wildlife, including fish, while allowing access to the river.

“The willows were poisoned before removal to ensure that no living fragments flowed downstream during the works,” Mr McDonald said.

“The strategic removal of willows will not impact the grassy border on the river frontage at the Blue Duck Inn.

“The willow stumps will be poisoned and left in the ground for bank stability and the machine operator will use a finishing rack attachment to leave the site clean.”

The president of the Friends of Mitta Mitta, Jeffe Aronson, said the Blue Duck Inn’s river frontage is a great place to have a meal or a drink on the patio, or just play in the river.

“Over the years the native trees have been overtaken by invasive willows, which are choking out the native vegetation along the downstream shore,” Aronson said.

“While seeing the stumps and bare banks can be a challenge in the short term, the CMA is committed to revegetating this site with native trees like the beautiful and shady Omeo gum, blackwoods, black sallees and more, all leaving stumps of dead willows in place to stabilize the bank until the natives grew up.

Mr McDonald said the willow removal work would be completed before spring when the summer grass emerged. This would ensure the site had a good layer of grass before the summer months.

He said weeding would be done within 12 months of the willows being removed to ensure the site is not re-infested with weeds.

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