Sunday, 16 September 2018 08:17

Aquatic Plants for Healthy Dam Habitats

Participants get their hands wet and dirty planting at the Gunning Golf Course Participants get their hands wet and dirty planting at the Gunning Golf Course

Wild windy weather did not hamper enthusiasm at the Aquatic Plant Workshop on 11th August. Janet Heffernan, committee member of Gunning District Landcare, led the workshop and inspired participants with her ‘get-in-there-and-have-a-go’ approach to planting and protecting aquatic plants. The day was aimed at equipping people with the skills and confidence to improve the biodiversity and habitat values of their dams (which also results in improved water quality for stock and domestic use).

The day started at the Gunning Golf Course where several people donned waders and ventured into one of the dams to get their hands wet and dirty planting in the mud. Others were busy with pliers and wire netting, making up cages to protect the new plants from the destructive habits of water birds. Following a delicious sausage sizzle provided by the Lions Club of Gunning, we drove to Janet’s property to see the impressive work that she has been doing on her dams. There was a high level of interest throughout the day, and as one participant said at the end: “I can't wait to get stuck into my own project now!!”

With a mix of submerged, emergent and ephemeral plants, healthy dams can become important refuges for local native fish, frogs and other wildlife. The Southern Pygmy Perch is one species that will benefit from Gunning District Landcare’s ‘refuge dam’ project; funds have been provided to a number of landholders to establish appropriate aquatic and terrestrial plants, and fence off from stock where necessary. These dams will then be able to host populations of the threatened fish if needed.  

A big thanks to Janet Heffernan, the Gunning Golf Course, the Lions Club of Gunning, and all the wonderful participants on the day!