What’s all the fuss about rushes and sedges? Well, they are champions when it comes to water quality improvement. Their soil binding qualities and the way they clump together helps to slow down water flow and this helps to trap sediment. ‘’Big deal’’ you might say, but did you ever consider that this might help improve the health of our Estuary?
Rushes and Sedges are the common names given to a grass-like family of plants such as Juncaceae, Restionacae and Cyperaceae. This clever group of plants occur in a wide range of habitats including estuarine and inland areas. These grasses, unlike many other species have shallow surface roots that bind to the soil, helping to reduce the impacts of erosion on the health of our beautiful rivers and estuary.
Their super powers don’t end there though! When planted densely along drains and foreshore and the buffer areas of rivers, streams and wetlands, sedges and rushes act as extremely efficient filtration systems. They improve water quality by grabbing and accumulating significant amounts of nutrients in their rhizomes (underground stems) that would otherwise discharge into the waterways.
So keep your eyes peeled when you’re out and about exploring our rivers and wetlands for these champion plants. Not only do they look amazing and contribute to biodiversity and habitat for our little critters, they are doing wonders for our estuary too.
Local Farmers and private landholders can do their bit to help improve estuary health by fencing and revegetating drains waterways on their properties. Planting rushes and sedges is an easy way for land holders to achieve good outcomes for both their farms and our waterways. PHCC has funding and support available to help farmers and landholders plan and achieve these outcomes.
This program is a part of Healthy Estuaries WA – a State Government Royalties for Regions program that aims to improve the health of our South West estuaries.