Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare — Battling waterside weeds

Weeds are a constant battle in the Bohle Wetlands, choking out natives and polluting waterway ecosystems, but more than 15 years of community volunteer effort is keeping them at bay.

Upstream of the Bruce Highway, at the end of Mesa Circuit between the Cosgrove Estate and the Bohle River is the ‘Bohle Wetlands’, a site that has seen the sweat and efforts of hundreds of local volunteers for almost two decades.

The wetlands are home to a host of wildlife, including rare freshwater crabs, and offers local residents a peaceful natural reserve.

The site is now seeing the care of Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare, among others, but has over the years received attention from Conservation Volunteers Australia, Scout groups, and TAFE groups. Parkside Group have contributed a footpath and seating.

Work in the area is ongoing by Townsville City Council, and Landcare are running monthly volunteer days to continue weeding and caring for new plantings to ensure they survive and thrive.

“It’s no good removing weeds if your new native plants aren’t going to survive,” says Landcare Project Officer, Andrew Conway. “The natives need to thrive to keep weeds down. We have to stay constantly on top of spaces like the Bohle Wetlands until the native vegetation can really take hold.”

“Conservation Volunteers Australia did extensive work in this area,” says Scott Fry, formerly with that group, now Team Leader Waterways, Wetlands & Coasts at NQ Dry Tropics. “It’s had a lot of hands on it: planting native trees, opening-up the waterway and controlling weeds. The site has a lot of natural value — people bird watch here and we’ve seen crocs pop up a number of times.”

Over time Cranbrook State School, Weir State School, Heatley State School, and other Reef Guardian Schools have contributed to the wetland. More recently, St Benedict’s Catholic School has also been involved in a Junior Landcare program.

The Port of Townsville has supported Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare with funding for more than 1500 plants at their Townsville community sites, including 100 plants for Junior Landcare on the Bohle River.

Cross-pollinating Bohle Wetlands knowledge: CDTLI’s Andrew Conway, Ausfield Services’ Sharon Marks (formerly CDTLI), and NQ Dry Tropics’ Scott Fry (formerly CVA) share notes on the many projects that have invested energy over years into the Bohle Wetlands.

The volunteer and community efforts of the many groups who have supported the Bohle Wetlands over time have been applauded by Townsville City Council. Council says its most recent Reef Assist project is leveraging the depth of knowledge and learning that has resulted.

Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare is a community group dedicated to conservation and restoration of native vegetation around Townsville. They are a partner of the Dry Tropics Partnership for Healthy Waters, a collaboration of more than 20 organisations keeping watch over local waters.

Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare runs a native plant nursery and several community revegetation sites across the Townsville region, including Mundy Creek in the Bohle basin. Upcoming volunteer events are listed in a monthly newsletter and on their Facebook page.

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