THE North East CMA has commenced a project that will help address safety and environmental issues along the Mitta Mitta River adjacent to the Mitta Caravan Park.
North East CMA project officer Michael Broughton said the project would involve removing old willow trees from the bank and preventing further spread of willows, removing blockages, and revegetating the banks with native species.
“The work is primarily being undertaken to address channel capacity constraints associated with willows, but will also have the benefit of helping to make the river next to the caravan park a safer place for families to enjoy,” Mr Broughton said.
“It will improve access to the river and help eliminate potential snags beneath the water’s surface.”
He said the project also had significant environmental benefits.
“Willows contribute to bank erosion by collapsing into rivers when they get old and diverting river flows towards the banks. They also change water temperature and reduce oxygen through shading and leaf drop. This reduces water quality and negatively impacts on native fish.”
He said revegetation with native plant species was considered a critical component of the river works program.
“Planting wattle, bottlebrush and tea tree shrubs helps to stabilise banks because they establish a dense root system very quickly and are good at resisting high flows. They will also provide a food source for birds.”
Mitta Caravan Park manager Bob O’Brien said prior to the willows being planted along the river many years ago, there was a grassy verge for people to sit and picnic on next to the water.
“It was all nice and grassed and we intend to get it back to what it was,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Removing the dying willows will be a great improvement. It will be good for the park, and good for the patrons. I’m worried about people being near the willows along the river. The branches are brittle and if a kid got their foot caught in the roots while the river was in high flow, they could be in a lot of trouble.”
The project is part of the Mitta Channel Capacity river works program funded by the Murray Darling Basin Authority, Goulburn Murray Water and the Victorian Government's Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.