Vol­lies dig in to help wa­ter­way

Albany Extra - - NEWS - SARAH MAKSE

A group of 30 vol­un­teers of all ages planted about 5500 seedlings on a Den­mark farm at the week­end in a bid to boost the health of the Wil­son In­let.

Led by the Wil­son In­let Catch­ment Com­mit­tee, vol­un­teers took to a farm in Scots­dale for a com­mu­nity plant­ing day to re-veg­e­tate the “on farm” wa­ter­way.

Com­mit­tee of­fi­cer Shaun Ossinger said the day was a “re­sound­ing suc­cess” due to the hard work of the pas­sion­ate vol­un­teers.

“The great thing about re-veg­e­ta­tion is there are jobs that any age can do,” he said. “Our youngest vol­lie was two years old.”

The com­mit­tee works with farm­ers and the com­mu­nity to re­duce nu­tri­ents run­ning into the Wil­son In­let and pro­tect the lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment.

“All seedlings are cul­ti­vated from lo­cally col­lected seed and grown by our friends at the Habi­tat Tree Farm,” he said.

“Species are se­lected to mimic the sur­round­ing rem­nant veg­e­ta­tion and their abil­ity to min­imise ero­sion and strip nu­tri­ents be­fore they en­ter the wa­ter­ways.”

The work is part of the WA Gov­ern­ment’s Re­gional Estuaries Ini­tia­tive in part­ner­ship with the Depart­ment of Wa­ter and En­vi­ron­men­tal Reg­u­la­tion.

The Wil­son In­let was se­lected in 2016 as one of six estuaries in the South West to be tar­geted un­der the $22 mil­lion Re­gional Estuaries Ini­tia­tive. As part of the pro­gram the com­mit­tee is de­liv­er­ing sev­eral nu­tri­ent man­age­ment ini­tia­tives in­clud­ing fenc­ing and re-veg­e­ta­tion pro­grams.

Last month, the Wil­son In­let was also named as one of three Great South­ern in­lets to re­ceive a por­tion of $7 mil­lion over four years as part of the Healthy Estuaries WA pro­gram.

“We fo­cus on re-veg­e­tat­ing wa­ter­ways on graz­ing prop­er­ties be­cause mod­el­ling shows that the ma­jor­ity of ex­cess nu­tri­ents that en­ter the in­let come from these farms,” Mr Ossinger said.

The group is set to host sev­eral win­ter plant­ing days. For de­tails visit www.wicc.org.au.

Pic­tures: Shaun Ossinger

Beatrix Allen, 7, and Eleanor Allen, 4, use a Pot­tiputki to plant seedlings.

Vol­un­teers Brad and Jill Knee­bone. BE­LOW: A young vol­un­teer gets some plant­ing ad­vice.

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