Willows go up in smoke

 Delegate willow pile burn.

Delegate willow pile burn.

DELEGATE Rural Fire Service (RFS) members were a key force in undertaking a major willow pile burn recently. 

The stockpile of dead willows was established in late 2013 during the removal of a heavy willow infestation along the Delegate River.

The burn operation was a collaborative effort between Delegate RFS, South East Local Land Services (LLS) and Snowy River Interstate Landcare Committee (SRILC).

South East LLS project officer, Leon Miners, said the operation will reduce the risk of fire in the future and was an important step in restoring river health.

“The willow control works are part of an extensive top-down willow and blackberry control program which is dedicated to rehabilitating the Delegate, Little Plains and Bombala Rivers, with funding from Water for Rivers,” Mr Miners said.

“Approximately 100 kilometres of the Delegate, Coolumbooka and Little Plains Rivers have been treated for willow infestations over the past two years.

“Rehabilitation of the Delegate pile burn site is now underway with fencing and revegetation works. 

“The replacement of willows with native species is an important step in improving local biodiversity, stream stability and the aquatic habitat of the waterway.”

SRILC chairman, Robert Belcher, said Landcare is grateful for the support provided by Delegate RFS.

“The skill and effort of RFS members was crucial in completing the burn safely,” Mr Belcher said.

“The involvement of dedicated local people made a big difference and we are appreciative of the assistance provided by Captain Mark Reed and his team.”

During the next financial year the project will focus on the Bombala and Coolumbooka Rivers which have some heavy willow infestations.

SRILC and South East LLS will soon contact Bombala and Coolumbooka landholders to register their interest in participating in the willow treatment program and other native vegetation protection and revegetation activities.

For further information on this project please contact Leon Miners, South East LLS Cooma on 6452 1455.

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