Putta Bucca and River Rehabilitation Projects
Over the past 7 years Council has been transforming the site of the Putta Bucca Wetlands from and old quarry and dumping ground into the a public reserve that is both environmentally sustainable and a great recreational facility. Works have included rubbish removal; construction of entrance, carpark and a number of walkways; construction of two bird hides; landscaping and signage; benching of the quarry on southern and northern sides; creation of picnic areas; weed control including willow removal; and revegetation.
Also Council has been undertaking similar regeneration projects along the Cudgegong River and along Lawson Creek from Ulan Road to Putta Bucca. The regeneration of these urban waterways has involved mostly weed control and revegetation.
These regeneration projects have been primarily grant funded by
- Central West Catchment Management Authority
- Environmental Trust
- NSW Fisheries
- Tourism NSW
The Putta Bucca Wetlands Reserve Plan of Management can be downloaded here (PDF 5Mb).
Why remove the willows?
Willows are now regarded as one of Australia’s most serious riparian and wetland weeds and in 1999 were listed as one of Australia’s 20 weeds of National Significance. Although willows were originally planted along the waterways to combat bank instability, such stability tended to be only temporary. Willows can grow continually in wet sediment and this along with fallen debris and matted roots that trap silt provides for the continual prolific spread of the species. This growth pattern causes blockages and changes not only to the flow of the stream but also to the course of a waterway with the associated erosion and flooding problems.
Willows guzzle water at a much greater rate than native species and have been known to completely dry out small creeks and swamps. It has been estimated that replacement with native species would potentially save 3-4 megalitres per hectare per year.
Furthermore willows drop massive amounts of leaves which when they break down results in an influx of nutrients that alters the temperature and oxygen content of the water. Willow also provide poor habitat and food source to native animals and the dense shade restrict other native plants from growing.
Waterways (rivers and streams) make up only a small portion of the Australian landscape, but their overall value to the economy, the environment and the social fabric of Australia is immense. Healthy clean rivers are important to the community because they:
- Support a rich array of plants and animals, many of which are threatened or endangered
- Are essential watering, feeding and breeding grounds for terrestrial animals
- Are important in the movement and cycling of sediment, water and nutrients through the landscape and in water purification
- Provide clean , safe drinking water
- Provide water for irrigation and for industry
- Are significant sites for recreation (eg fishing & boating)
- Are focal points for regional tourism
- Have strong cultural and historical associations particularly for Indigenous Australians