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Supporting the recovery of our creek bank vegetation

Photo by Tweed Landcare's Gary Bagnall

Photo by Tweed Landcare's Gary Bagnall

The recent flood event has certainly left a trail of destruction in its wake and has been traumatic for many. Many mechanisms to support recovery are being circulated widely. One area of loss that has not yet achieved due attention is the impact to so many riparian restoration projects. For some, this has set years of hard work and determination back to square one with young plants being washed out along with, in some cases, entire sections of the river bank. In their current newsletter Richmond Landcare Inc. have published some great suggestions of how to assist recovery of damage riparian plantings 

 

  • Wait for water to recede and soils to drain - you don't want to do further root or soil damage by sloshing about on an unstable bank (or risk your own neck)
  • Remove any large debris holding down trees, caught in branches, or collected around stems. Keep as much of this on your site as you can, for the flood waters will have taken your organic matter form the soil surface and this debris will help to start restoring biological functions and OM recycling
  • Carefully stand up bent trees if appropriate, and consider staking or propping them up until their roots re-establish. There are several schools of thought as to whether you should stand up flattened trees. Some species will adjust to their new angle "as nature intended", and re-shoot or coppice (e.g. Sandpaper Figs). Other species may not cope so well lying down, and while the soil is soft can be carefully staked and gradually 'lifted' using slings to a more vertical angle. The ability of a flattened tree to re-adjust will largely depend on the degree of damage, soil loss and local conditions. The best approach is to 'give it a go' on your site and take note of what works for next time! 
  • Trim any broken branches or snapped stems
  • If possible hose off the worst of the silt to maximize photosynthesis
  • Re-plant washed out lomandra root balls, and give their leaves a trim to help reduce water loss during re-establishment
  • Check the site regularly for new weed incursions courtesy of the flood

Remember to take it easy and work carefully in flood affected areas. The water could have brought all manner of refuse and effected the stability of the soil on your site. If you are at all unsure about your safety, always seek advice from professionals. (Thanks to Richmond Landcare Inc. for these above rehabilitation suggestions!)

If you have a landcare site in the Kyogle or Richmond Valley shire areas that was adversely affected by the floods BRRVLN would like to hear from you. At this stage there is no window of recovery assistance is known for such impacts but this may arise and BRRVLN would like to be ready to support Landcarer's and their sites in their recovery should this become available. Please contact BRRVLN Landcare Coordinator on 66323722 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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