Project discovers urban run-off is a major weed-feed culprit

Eric Mahony & Mark Greenhill

Stormwater runoff from urban areas has been found to be one of the major weed-spreaders across the eastern escarpment of the lower Blue Mountains.

Nutrient and sediment rich run-off water is encouraging the spread of highly invasive weeds into bushland reserves, according to a project team tackling regional weed control across Mount Riverview through to Blaxland.

The findings support a future plan to install biofiltration systems in local reserves to limit the impacts of stormwater that encourages weed growth.

The team, a partnership between Local Land Services and Blue Mountains City Council, has tackled 90ha of weed control across 27 project areas in council-owned and managed reserves.

Reserves in the project included Explorers Reserve, Coxs Reserve, Knapsack Reserve, Skarrat Park, Bluff Reserve, Brookdale Reserve, Mt Sion, and Lapstone Reserve.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services Land Services Officer Linda Dedovic said the two-year project also focused on improving habitat in bushland areas that were less likely to be affected by bushfires.

“These areas can provide critical refuge habitat for our local wildlife during and after fires,” Ms Dedovic said.

“Habitats for endangered animals, such as the Powerful Owl and Koalas, were also boosted by curbing weed spread.”

Weeds tackled included Blackberry, Lantana, African Olive, Green Cestrum, Asparagus Fern and Privet, as well as vines such as Balloon Vine, Japanese Honeysuckle, and Cats Claw Creeper.

Blue Mountains City Council Program Leader, Natural Areas, Eric Mahony, said: “Many of the weeds are found adjacent to the urban fringe, entering the reserves from local streets and stormwater drains. This project has helped to prevent further spread of weeds into more pristine areas of these reserves that form an important wildlife corridor that runs the length of the eastern edge of the Blue Mountains.”

Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill said: ‘This is a great example of Blue Mountains City Council and our Bushcare Groups working in partnership with Local Land Services, protecting the unique and rare forests of the Lower Blue Mountains. These forests play a critical role in nature conservation, as well as important refuge habitat for our wildlife during after fires”.

For more information on Council’s environmental and natural area management programs, including Bushcare, go to:

Photo: Eric Mahony & Mark Greenhill

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