Spartina control continues

West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority is working with Parks Victoria to control Spartina with targeted spraying in Corner Inlet, Shallow Inlet and Anderson Inlet in May.

Also known as Rice Grass or Cordgrass, Spartina was introduced in the 1920s and has since become aggressively invasive, competing with indigenous plants, degrading waterbird and fish habitats and restricting waterways.

Funded through the State Government Regional Waterway program and the Australian Government National Landcare Program, the Spartina control operation will involve targeted spraying using a helicopter.

“A helicopter with snorkel attachment will be used to target intertidal Spartina in Corner, Anderson and Shallow inlets,” said Martin Fuller, WGCMA’s Chief Executive Officer.

“This program has been in operation for several years now due to a strong partnership between Parks Victoria and us which ensures land, estuary and coastal public lands are treated for Spartina.

“Spartina infestation is a major threat to coastal environments,” continued Mr Fuller.

“It smothers critical feeding and breeding habitats that support birds, fish and other aquatic species, and chokes intertidal mudflats, changing how water is used in them.

“It also competes with indigenous plant species, blanketing previously diverse habitats.”

Controlling Spartina helps improve natural estuary habitat for important fish populations, allows vital plant species such as saltmarsh, mangrove and seagrass to re-establish and improves the feeding and breeding sites for local birds and internationally significant migratory species.

The Spartina control program complements the work WGCMA is doing with landholders to fence and revegetate coastal areas, to control erosion and protect saltmarsh.

This reduces levels of sediment and nutrients into Corner, Shallow and Anderson inlets, helping to maintain an ecologically healthy habitat.

Helicopter spraying Spartina
The Spartina control program helps improve natural estuary habitat for important fish populations.
Helicopter spraying Spartina.
Helicopter with snorkel attachment spraying Spartina in Corner, Anderson and Shallow inlets