LBG Willow Management Plan

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Lake Burley Griffin Willow Management Plan


Executive Summary

In 1997, Environment ACT together with the Willows Working Group of the Environment Advisory Committee and the Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment Coordinating Committee proposed a Willow Management Strategy for the Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment. The purpose of this strategy was to recommend policy for the management of willows in the ACT. It was based on an assessment of the role of willows in the landscape, the suitability of certain species and the appropriateness of proposed eradication methods.

In late 2004, the Molonglo Catchment Group in conjunction with Environment ACT (EACT), Canberra Urban Parks and Places (CUPP), ACT Forests and the National Capital Authority (NCA) began discussions about willow management in the Molonglo Catchment. Through negotiations with stakeholders, funding was secured to undertake a willow management plan for Lake Burley Griffin. Greening Australia ACT and SE NSW in partnership with River and Rural Management Services were contracted to put together the Lake Burley Griffin Willow Management Plan (‘the Plan’).

Developing the Plan involved five phases:

  1. Community consultation – meetings and forums for land managers, stakeholders and the general public.
  2. A desktop review – putting together maps, procuring existing information relevant to the formation of the plan, looking at legal requirements.
  3. Field surveys of willows – on-ground surveying, mapping, identification and management issues. The area was separated into the main body of the Lake and two sections of the Molonglo River.
  4. Production of the draft willow management plan - collating the results of the first 3 phases.
  5. Communication of draft plan to multiple audiences - completion of the plan based on feedback from this process.

The management plan covers:

  • Lake Burley Griffin from Scrivener Dam wall to the Molonglo River; and
  • Molonglo River from the Lake upstream to the NSW border.

The Plan will provide guidance to the Molonglo Catchment Group, land managers and stakeholders on how management of willows can best be undertaken in a strategic way, consistent with the Upper Murrumbidgee Willow Management Strategy. Recommended actions draw upon current research and an on-ground survey. The recommendations also take into account cost, land management responsibilities, natural and cultural resources and the public interest.

Management Objectives

  • To undertake strategic willow control to conserve ecologically significant and diverse ecosystems and habitat within Lake Burley Griffin, the Molonglo River and surrounding areas (including areas downstream of the Lake).
  • To involve all relevant stakeholders in the development and implementation of the Plan, and to ensure user needs are not unduly compromised through management actions. Particular attention will be paid to public safety, recognising that Lake Burley Griffin is used by the community in multiple ways.
  • To undertake regular monitoring and evaluation to ensure management actions are appropriate and up to date.
  • To ensure management actions are cost effective.
  • To ensure management actions are consistent with regional, state and national resource management strategies and legislation.
  • To explore appropriate educational, training, and research opportunities.

In addition to specific survey information collected on willows, the Plan provides information on the following:

  • Willows and their management in a national and regional context, willow control and sawfly larvae.
  • Description of the Plan area including Lake uses, and water quality management
  • The National Capital Plan – Environment and Heritage.
  • Legislation and approvals for willow control in the ACT.
  • Weeds of National Significance.

Willow Survey and Mapping

Individual willows or, in the case of dense infestations, groups of willows were surveyed by boat and on foot using hand held computers and a Global Positioning System (GPS). Information recorded included: species, location, density, dominant species, dominant sex and a range of morphological data.

This information was transferred to Geographical Information System (GIS) and a series of maps were produced.

There were 9 distinct willow species found to occur.

  • Crack Willow (Salix fragilis)
  • Basket Willow (S. rubens)
  • Black Willow (S. nigra)
  • Purple Osier (S. purpurea)
  • Golden Upright Willow (S. alba var. vitellina)
  • Tortured Willow (S. matsudana)
  • Weeping Willow (S. babylonica)
  • White Willow (S. alba)
  • Golden Weeping Willow (S. x chrysocoma)

Unknown hybrids were also recorded.

Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa) was recorded by special request from the National Capital Authority.

Priorities for Willow Control

Willows were prioritised for control based on environmental threat, cost effectiveness and practicality. Using this as a basis (see specifically recommendations 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10) in conjunction with the maps that show specific locations of the various willow species, a strategic program can be put in place.

Maps have also been produced to give an indication of the nature of willow control in any given location. This in turn gives an idea of cost and other management issues to assist with planning. Maps are best viewed on GIS where map overlays can be switched on and off easily. GIS data files are available by request from the Molonglo Catchment Group.

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