Early this year the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce (VBT) provided funding support to the Northern Yarra Blackberry Action Group’s Woodnook Project. The project will combine the use of a relocatable fence, goats and chemicals to control blackberry along a section of Dixons Creek.
The VBT has already provided funding for the purchase of fencing materials and Melbourne Water will fund the hire of goats and chemical control contractors. The Northern Yarra Blackberry Action Group will provide the volunteer labour and project management expertise.
This section of Dixons Creek has access issues including potential hazards which are hidden due to the amount of exotic vegetation. It is hoped the goats will reduce the biomass and allow chemical control contractors safe access to control the regrowth. This area is characterised by sensitive vegetation, including tree ferns and at least one rare species of plant, Eucalyptus fulgens. On the 12 September, 50 hours of volunteer labour successfully installed 400 metres of fencing, which was followed by the delivery of goats.
The Northern Yarra Blackberry Action Group will monitor the goats over a two-month period to ensure areas are not over grazed. Goats will be removed, and regrowth will be chemically treated in autumn. This process will be repeated over the next 4 to 5 years as the fence is moved downstream.
To compliment the project, the Northern Yarra Blackberry Action Group’s project officer will engage with landholders adjacent to the project area, to ensure blackberry control is undertaken.