Image: PHCC’s Hotham Williams NRM Co-ordinator Mel Durack surveying weeds at Tunbridge Gully
A collaborative community project has secured $79,865 over three (3) years to improve the health of Tunbridge Gully and the Hotham River in Boddington. The funding will enable the removal of invasive weeds, which threaten the biodiversity and ecology of Tunbridge Gully and the Hotham River, with an aim to return the mussels to Tunbridge Gully.
The joint project between South 32, the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Friends of the Reserves Boddington (Inc.) and Shire of Boddington, will restore water quality and a thriving ecosystem in Tunbridge Gully, which is infested with the aggressive weed species Juncus acutus.
With approximately 80 per cent of the project area now overrun with the weeds and the impact growing as they move downstream into the Hotham River and its associated pools and wetlands, action is required, said PHCC Chairman Andy Gulliver.
“These weeds have the potential to impact at a landscape scale, as they continue their travel downstream along the Murray River and into the Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar Listed Wetlands. Their density can make areas impenetrable, reducing recreational use and replacing native vegetation, which in turn removes food, shelter and shade for native species,” he said.
South 32 Vice President Operations, Worsley Mine and Materials, Alysia Tringrove said that the company was pleased to fund a project to improve the health of the Gully and the Hotham River.
“South32 is proud to be part of this initiative that will contribute to restoring Tunbridge Gully and the Hotham River’s health and vitality,” Alysia said.
Alysia said it was exciting to be part of a project that was restoring an important heritage area for local Noongar people.
Local Noongar Elder Greg Thorne explained to project partners the cultural, environmental and social meaning of the Gully and its historic use as a source of food by the local Noongar community, including fresh water mussels and berries.
“Greg brought in a mussel and shared the story of local community members eating the freshwater mussels as they travelled toward the Hotham River This local story symbolises the importance of protecting freshwater ecosystems for the health and well-being of communities, fish and wildlife, both in the river itself and along its banks,” Alysia said.
The Shire of Boddington has welcomed the collaborative project approach and is providing funding and in-kind support. The project will enable Boddington’s community, land managers and the Noongar community to work together under the guidance of the PHCC to undertake weed surveying and mapping, before removing invasive weeds and replacing them with native seedlings.
“The Gully, which runs into the Hotham River and through the town of Boddington is an important part of the town’s landscape and is highly valued by its community for the environmental, cultural, recreational and economic assets it supports,” said CEO Chris Littlemore.
“This project will have significant outcomes for our community. In addition to the on-ground works the program will increase education and training opportunities to the broader community for long term site management. It will also enable us to deliver field days and events involving local schools and community, improve aesthetics and increase recreation opportunities for our community and visitors’” he said.
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Media Contact: Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800
We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present