The Cape Life team recently completed a large scale revegetation project along denuded banks and flood plains of the Warren River, approximately 15km south east of Pemberton. The Warren Catchments Council (WCC) contracted Cape Life to plant provenance seedlings in areas that were previously infested with Rubus anglocandicans (common blackberry). The blackberry has been completely wiped out in sections along the river system, most likely due to a combination of factors including the release of a biological control (rust fungi), the presence of a newly discovered pathogen (Phytopthera billorbang), and herbivore and insect damage.
The Federally funded project is partnered by CSIRO and DPaW and also involves researchers from Murdoch University. The overall project is expected to be completed in 2017 and will result in a total of 600 000 provenance seedlings planted across riparian zones. For more information on the project visit http://www.warrencc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Restoring-riparian-icons.pdf .
The planting was carried out over a four week period of intensive planting with a core team of our experienced planters using Pottiputtkis and kidney buckets. The loamy and alluvial soils and mostly clear understory allowed for perfect planting conditions and the winter rains have been conducive to seedling establishment. A two man delivery ensured there were always trays of seedlings onsite. The number of seedlings, remote location, lack of mobile reception and limited access made the logistics of getting the plants to site considerable and some innovative machinery and techniques were used, such as a quad bike fitted out with a custom made seedling trailer and a flying-fox rigged up across the river to carry plants to areas with no vehicle access.
Cape Life would like to acknowledge and commend the team at the Warren Catchments Council in particular Lee Fontanini for their professionalism, dedication and commitment towards this nationally significant project.
See also the testimonial provided by project manager Lee Fontanini from the Warren Catchments Council.