The aims of this project are to:
Remove high threat invasive species from the Down's Estate Licensed Area at Down's Estate Seaford.
Use natural, non-chemical methods to eradicate weeds including
Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus L. agg.)
Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides)
African Boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum)
Kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) infestations.
Educate volunteers about these techniques and involve them in monitoring the effectiveness of these processes in removing and preventing re-emergence of these weeds.
Offer Community education of the process and results, to increase environmental benefits in the community, in alignment with Frankston City Council's Greening Frankston program.
Incorporate a revegetation area which contributes to the overall weed management strategy by reintroducing appropriate indigenous and native species on site.
These are the invasive weeds we are working to eradicate.
Bridal Creeper Tubers
Spiny Rush Seed Heads
The project in a nutshell:
This project took place during 2020 and 2021.
It involved a number of different groups and individuals including:
DECP committee and volunteers
DECP Ecosystem Regeneration Team which formed in the second half of 2020
PPWCMA (Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority)
Farm Management Training Work Crew
Holmesglen students and teacher Dr Joab Wilson
Contractor Abundant Gardens for major works
The initial plan to engage a specific contractor to do weed eradication works was not able to be carried out. We talked with local environmental consultant Gidja Walker for alternate providers who recommended Dr Joab Wilson at Holmesglen TAFE to explore collaborative possibilities. This resulted in a good working relationship between DECP and the Holmesglen teacher and his students.
While Covid restrictions permitted, there were many successful site visits by classes from the Conservation and Land Management course, for hands-on experience of weed identification and removal works. They devised management strategies and future revegetation plans for us. This collaboration between volunteers, teachers and students was very productive and greatly appreciated by the DECP community.
The students also investigated relevant topics culminating in an informative webinar to present detailed visual educational aids to DECP and all the students. Some longer reports were also produced on the weed management project at DECP. See some of the posters at the bottom of this page.
There is a great ongoing working relationship with this department at Holmesglen TAFE, with measurable mutual benefits. See photo below.
Port PHillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority
We were fortunate to be included in the PPWCMA project to assist local community environmental groups during Covid. Their work team created in-ground weed barriers as part of the works they did on site. They were an enthusiastic group of people, and gave the project much appreciated assistance.
DECP committee and volunteers
Due to Covid we needed to be flexible in our provision of community education on weed management topics. It was not possible to schedule the in-person events including our proposed Open Day. It was decided the most effective way to give the public access to our information and experience was via this website. These resources can be added to and modified by Best Practice and are available for the community's ongoing use.
The DECP committee managed the design and implementation of this project, volunteering well beyond the intended volunteer administration contribution of 50 hours. Committee members and DECP volunteers were very involved with all the crews and students on site in many ways; welcoming, organising work sessions, making cuppas and conversations, and finding solutions to the many challenges at the time. We were all invested in the success of this project as we recognised the importance of the weed eradication program as a first step to improving the natural environment at the Estate.
Frankston City Council
We liaised with Frankston City Council (FCC) regarding weed eradication and revegetation proposals and sought their advice and approval. We continue to colllaborate with FCC on the large area mowing onsite and beside the shared user path.
Abundant Gardens is a local garden and site maintenance business which provided the services using equipment such as slashers, large area mowing and also manual removal of large weeds.
A roadworks contractor assisted the project with Boxthorn removal on the road side of the fence.
Special thanks to DECP volunteers, especially John McKenzie, Patrick Bellchambers, Brendan Tairz, Rod Fedley and Ishmael Champion who were fundamental to the success of the project.
Our sincere appreciation and thanks to Joab Wilson and Holmesglen TAFE students for their valuable collaboration and contributions to the ongoing non-chemical weed education in our community.
Thank you Peta Murphy MP for your support and for the invitation to participate in the CEP. (Message of support from Peta to DECP September 2021)
The story in photos:
1. Holmesglen Conservation and Land Management students signing up for first weeds management workshop
2. Workshop #2: students consider weeds problems in market garden intended for organic production
3. Demonstration of weed method suited to organic Garden area - solarization and photosynthesis blackout
4 Workshop on snakes in weed habitat for Holmesglen students and DECP volunteers
5. Conservation and Land Management students learn assessment of remnant indigenous species amidst weeds species
6 Students review emergent blackberry problems in disused paddock
7. PPWCMA farm management trainees install weed barrier for market garden - practical workshop
8. Almost completed inground timber weed barrier to prevent kikuyu reinfestation into market garden
9. Session with teacher, students and DECP volunteers, looking southwards on site, before verandah addition to shed.
10. Friendly local magpie who visits when people are onsite, looking east to Old Wells Rd.
11. Looking west across the Down's Estate site
12. Boxthorn in cracked tank, now removed, looking north-west.
13 Looking from the southern boundary towards the tank with Boxthorn and shared user path.
14. Large Boxthorn in northern block
15. Cutting the Boxthorn with electric saw
16 Boxthorn on left and cuttings of Boxthorn ready for disposal
17. Cape Ivy growing over Boxthorn, south-east boundary of site.
18. Blackberry infestation in central area of site with buildings in background Dec 2020
19. Brendan slashing blackberries and kikuyu across the estate
20. Blackberry resurgence in June 2021 after first slashing in April 2021
21. Removing seed heads from Spiny Rush
21. Pruning seed heads off the Spiny Rush
23. Removing solarisation tarps and mulching before planting
24. Volunteers and students distributing wood-chip mulch before planting
25. Students planting at northern end of revegetation area
Educational posters created by Holmesglen TAFE students 2021
22. Some of the indigenous and native grasses, shrubs and trees to be planted
23. Students and volunteers removing the solarising tarps, and spreading mulch
24. Students and volunteers spreading wood-chip mulch. Looking south to the Shed.
25. Students planting indigenous and native plants into the mulch, looking north
26. Completed revegetation area with tree guards, looking north.
“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.”
- John James Audobon