In 2015 Bellarine Bayside together with Barwon Coast, Parks Victoria, Bellarine Landcare and Bellarine Catchment Network secured funding for a Green Army team to work on the Bellarine Peninsula in various aspects of conservation and environmental management. The Green Army is a Federal Government incentive allowing young people the opportunity to gain experience and training in conservation land management.
Over the past six months the Bellarine Green Army Team, supported by Conservation Volunteers Australia, have been assisting Bellarine Bayside with several projects including integrated weed management to manage bridal creeper in several areas along our foreshore, planting native species and assisting our local Friends of Pt Richards Group in their effort to restore the natural beauty and habitat of Pt Richards Flora and Fauna Reserve.
Bridal creeper (Asparagus asparagoides), a native to South Africa, is listed as a weed of national significance and is considered one of the most detrimental weeds in Australia due to it’s highly invasive nature and environmental impact. Bridal creeper has colonised significant sections of our coastline and has the ability to extend up to three metres to envelop shrubs and other mid-story plants. Bridal creeper can also spread underground via dense tuberous roots, eventually out-competing native plants and inhibiting their establishment and growth.
The Green Army team have been instrumental in tackling bridal creeper on the Bellarine Peninsula with both Bellarine Bayside and Parks Victoria. Bridal creeper fungus is an effective biocontrol measure imported from South Africa and the Green Army team assisted in the collection of bridal creeper infected with the fungus which was then ‘batched’ to produce a solution of fungal spores. This solution was then sprayed across numerous sites on the Bellarine Peninsula for Bellarine Bayside, Parks Victoria and Barwon Coast Committee of Management.
This year’s Green Army team completed their program in November and graduated with a trip on the old steam trains at Drysdale.
We congratulate all the team on their efforts and wish them well in their future environmental endeavours.