News / Education / Community / 17th August 2023
Momentum flows for river restoration
Native biodiversity is returning as the Castlereagh River Restoration project continues. The project will see an improvement to water quality and community engagement on the river bank.
Continual efforts supporting native ecology and community accessibility, highlight the Castlereagh River Restoration project as a steady success.
Funded by the Murray- Darling Healthy River grant, a team has been put together to restore two kilometres of the Castlereagh River.
Organised by arborist and native enthusiast, Sam Bragg, the team consists of like-minded men, Peter Bragg, Peter Humphriss and Alex Nottle.
The funding is focused on removing introduced species and weeds along the river, improving water quality, conserving Indigenous sites and providing more accessibility to the river.
Already, the changes have resulted in the community interacting more with the river, with a variety of fish sighted by the public.
Tree-planting days have seen successful community engagement and more days are planned for spring.
These sites are monitored for any follow-up work, to continue to provide good health to the river system.
As more work is done to plant trees and remove introduced species, less weeds will evolve.
“Weeds do not grow within a native environment and the Pilliga is an example,” Mr Bragg said.
Further tree-planting days will involve the wider community and specific days for schools will help educate students on their local environment.
Mr Bragg noted the importance of bringing a healthy, native ecology to the river system.
“We are at the top of the Murray-Darling catchment; if there is poor water quality at the top, then it travels down the river system,” he said.
At the moment, woody weeds need to be cleared in order to plant native trees.
The native fauna will unburden the river of anaerobic leaves from introduced, deciduous trees; which is killing the good bacteria in the water.
Team member, Peter Humphriss said stabilising the river environment with natives will create positive microbial life in the water.
Water is a source of life for all living things, meaning the project will bring a diverse range of native wildlife, helping to restore native biodiversity.
While some members of the public have expressed concern about the erosion of the river banks due to the removal of trees and weeds, Mr Bragg and Mr Humphriss assure that the native plants will hold the river bank in place, while removing the chance of invasive weeds choking the environment and affecting water quality.
“If you have healthy rivers, you have a healthy community,” Mr Humphriss said.
The project aims to focus on community accessibility to the river, with plans for more pathways to be built.
Mr Bragg is also offering to educate the community on harmful weeds through posts named ‘Weed of the Week’, found online.
“It starts a conversation on landcare and reduces the chance of seeds from these weeds being carried into the river,” he said.
The project is funded until the end of March 2024.