The next free event is just around the corner in Nature Conservation Margaret River Region’s exciting new initiative aimed at inspiring locals to cherish and care for the Margaret River.

The Friends of Wooditjup Bilya (Margaret River) program features a guided excursion with an expert followed by a community busy bee where volunteers tackle important revegetation or regeneration work along the river, held on the first Thursday of every month from 9.30am-12.30pm.

The third event is on Thursday, December 7 and it will feature a woody weeds workshop with Nature Conservation’s biodiversity officer Mike Griffiths followed by hands on woody weed control along the Wooditjup Bilya foreshore.

“Woody weeds have been introduced as ornamental garden plants, for fruit production or other agricultural use and have escaped from gardens and farms and are invading creeklines, forests, woodlands and coastal areas,” says Friends of Wooditjup Bilya coordinator Lauren Scanlon.

“Many of these plants are fast growing, hardy and highly adaptable. They have highly successful reproductive and seed dispersal mechanisms, including abundant seed production, seeds that remain viable for many years, and fruit and seeds that are attractive to birds and mammals. Many also have the ability to spread by vegetative means, such as rhizomes, bulbs and corms. They often have few predators or diseases to keep them under control in their new habitat.”

Lauren said woody weeds have a hug impact on our remnant vegetation by outcompeting native plants for space, water and nutrients, changing and simplifying vegetation communities, and reducing their habitat value for native animals. Invasive environmental weeds are one of the most serious threats to biodiversity in the Margaret River region. “But there is hope,” Lauren says. “The Friends of the Wooditjup Bilya are working to develop skills in identifying and controlling woody weeds to stop the spread.”

Biodiversity officer Mike Griffiths said recent surveys along the river show woody weeds are a far greater threat than realised, but awareness is the biggest hope. “The more local people who can identify them, the more hope there is to control them and safeguard this beautiful and fragile environment,” he says. “Get familiar with the woody weeds impacting the Margaret River and gain confidence in how to identify and control them.”

In this hands-on and practical session, participants will learn about the impact of woody weeds, how to identify them, and the best control strategies. It will include a mix of talking, walking and practical demonstration in the foreshore reserve. “Then, there’s a chance to get your hands dirty and put some of your new-found knowledge to the test, by hand pulling woody weeds which threaten to invade the Wooditjup Bilya. Be part of the restoration,” says Lauren.

Meet at the start of the Horseford River Track, about 100m from the Doyle Place/ Kevill West intersection. Tickets are free but places are limited to register HERE or follow the links at www.natureconservation.org.au

The Friends of Wooditjup Bilya program is funded by the Shire of Augusta Margaret River through the Environmental Management Fund and this woody weeds workshop is funded by WA Government’s State Natural Resource Management Program.