Grant application

Blackwood and Barry’s Reef Landcare Group (BBRLG) is seeking $10,000 from Port Phillip and Western Port Catchment Management Authority for holly eradication in Back Creek.

It has been many years since holly was assaulted in this significant riparian landscape.  In some areas, the holly has become impenetrable, with thousands of new trees shooting right now.

The soil is current soft enough to allow these shoot to be hand pulled – an ideal community-based activity which does not expose untrained people to chemicals.  If the grant is successful, it is suggested that a series of community working bees be organised for this time, next year to allow this to happen.  It is suggested that these young shoots and trees be bundled together with bio-degradable string and suspended in the forest to decompose safely.  It is suggested that $5,000 worth of community time and effort will be contributed to this exercise.

The vision is to removed thousands of shooting holly trees – to leave only the more established trees (which are unable to be removed by this method).  It is suggested that a contractor be employed with the $10,000 grant money to poison as many as the remaining trees as possible.  It is suggested that the bases of these trees be drilled and filled with chemical to kill these trees in situ.  It is suggested that this method will be be most cost-effective.  The dead trees will decompose safely in the forest devoid of anymore fruit/seed.

The vision is to treat both banks of the creek along the Whipstick Walking Loop Track.  This would be approximately 1 km.

BBRLG is aware that, even if the group was successful is removing all of the holly from Back Creek, without treating sources of infestation within the town, the problem will only recur.

There are many examples of holly trees being cultivated as ornamental species in gardens within the town.  Each year, these trees feeds thousands of berries (seeds) to the district’s bird which, of course, end up in the Back Creek area (a shaded and cool favourite bird habitat).

Holly is not a prescribed weed so there is not a lot BBRLG can do about holly growing within the township in people’s gardens.

The group intends to change this situation via a multi-level public education campaign.  It intends to spend $5,000 in cash and in-kind to produce educational materials, articles, videos and posters.  It also intends to host another “forum” where this issue (and others) will be discussed.

These educational activities will take place before the 2017 spring holly assault. The forum and the pre-working bee promotion and publicity will ensure a strong turnout.

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