Bruce Radys from Oyster Harbour Catchment Group has been using an innovative machine to improve the efficiency, speed and reduce costs of revegetating in the Kalgan River catchment.
A special Commercial Native Vegetation Seeder (CommVeg) gives a reliable method of directly seeding the banks of waterways that is much cheaper than planting pre-established seedlings.
“We’ve used the CommVeg on two sites now with great success,” Bruce said.
“The beauty of this machine is that it vastly reduces the cost, work hours and improves the environmental outcomes of the revegetation.
“To revegetate a site with the CommVeg we only need to do two steps – spray the area to prevent weeds, then run the CommVeg over the area.
“The CommVeg holds a seed mix of 30 different native plants and as it runs over the ground it scalps, rips, mounds and seeds all in one pass.
“The large variety of seeds means we get a better diversity of plants, compared to planting seedlings where you might plant only a couple of species in a certain area.”
While the CommVeg isn’t suitable for all soil types, Bruce says its use in Oyster Harbour catchment is promising.
“It does have a couple of risks that have to be managed. The plants aren’t pre-established, so the seeds are more susceptible to being outcompeted by weeds. You also need to make sure there is enough water in the soil for seeds to germinate,” he said.
“With careful planning it’s pretty easy to manage the risks. Our site that we seeded at the end of June has already germinated and we’ll see plenty more growth over the next month.”
With the reduced cost and time, more sites in the Oyster Harbour catchment can be revegetated. Along with fencing rivers, revegetating river banks forms an important part of the Regional Estuaries Initiative’s on-ground work. Plants provide a buffer zone to keep sediments and nutrients in the landscape and out of waterways and estuaries.