We have been working with Basalt 2 Bay (B2B) Landcare Network to tackle Silver Poplar in The Green Line, a 37 km long section of the former Koroit to Hamilton Railway line, running form Koroit to Minhamite, that now forms a valuable habitat corridor for native plants and wildlife. B2B Facilitator Lisette Mill shares her experience of engaging volunteers through CVA on this project.
Silver Poplar (Populus alba) is a thicket forming tree that was once planted along waterways in Victoria to prevent erosion.
It grows into dense multi-stemmed masses that out shade almost every other plant, and provide little food or nesting habitat for native species. They contribute to riparian monocultures that are very expensive to treat by herbicide or excavation.
Because of the upright, tall stems close together in riparian areas, getting the treatment up into the canopy is hard and expensive using sprays. Because the sites where Silver Poplar is growing are also often sensitive to any herbicide drift or soil disturbance, hand treating by stem injection and cut/paint is the best option.
The Basalt to Bay Landcare Network (B2B) has a linear reserve project called The Green Line. It’s 110 ha of former railway line between Koroit and Minhamite in south west Victoria, encompassing multiple threatened ecological communities along its 37km length.
B2B started working with Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) to address the ecological threats posed by invasive species like Silver Poplar and to connect local volunteers to The Green Line. CVA provides a service that links B2B with skills and volunteers, and links volunteers with transport to site, training, and repeat learning outcomes. CVA also helps local volunteers find local places for their skills that can benefit both community and environment. CVA enables B2B to hire a Work Health and Safety briefed team of volunteers that can reliably tackle a thicket of Silver Poplars – treating each stem and ensuring the herbicide doesn’t impact adjoining farms or habitats.
Lisette said “Managing volunteer teams is not my talent. But many people want to volunteer to help our network do the work of protecting and enhancing the local environment. – CVA soaks that interest up and makes it structured and equipped, saving me time, money, and stress. I also know that the sites we direct to have weed control in will be picked over with a fine tooth comb of multiple eyes and hands and I can save budget by getting the work done once and well”.
The Green Line is an ongoing partnership with CVA now in its 4th year.
To see what was achieved by CVA teams on Silver Poplars on The Green Line Project, check out these before and after images and find out more on the B2B website.
Before: A healthy, green and dense thick of Silver Poplar, choking out native plants and habitat
After: Poplars have died back following herbicide treatment. Native plants can begin to re-colonise the area
For more information:
Lisette Mill at Basalt to Bay Landcare Network Inc: basalttob[email protected]
CVA south west Victoria: [email protected]