Work continues to treat Spartina

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

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. 

Work in Corner Inlet is funded through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and work in Anderson and Shallow inlets is funded by the Victorian State Government. 

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. 

“We’ve been doing this work for several years now and as a result we’re staying on top of the spread of Spartina. Our strong partnership with Parks Victoria ensures land, estuary and coastal public lands are treated for Spartina. 

“Spartina infestation is a major threat to coastal environments.”  

Spartina 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. 

Mr Fuller explained that 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. 

“This Spartina control program complements the work we’re doing with farmers and landowners in coastal areas to fence and revegetate, control erosion and protect saltmarsh,” continued Mr Fuller. 

“This reduces the amount of sediment and nutrients to our inlets, helping to maintain healthy habitat for fish and other marine species.” 

This project is supported by West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the Victorian State Government.