Trees for the Pumpkin Patch’ Habitat Action Grant
THE Trees for the Pumpkin Patch Habitat Action Grant is nearing completion with the planting of native tree species along the riparian zone of the project site on the eastern bank of the Macquarie River by members of the Bundi Fishing Club recently.
The project was funded by The Recreational Fishing Freshwater Trust under the DPI Habitat Action Program. The native species, once established, will improve the seed bank of native plants in the section of the Macquarie River above Burrendong Dam allowing natural dispersion to compliment the natural environment, reduce erosion on the river bank from the loss of riparian vegetation, reduce sediments entering the river thus improving water quality and potentially provide a food source and protection of high value native fish populations in the permanent refuge pool known locally as the Pumpkin Hole.
Around 40% of native fish diet is produced by native riparian vegetation ranging from insects falling into the river to aquatic insects and crustaceans feeding from leaves and limbs that enter the aquatic environment.
The project will also compliment annual native fish stockings in the Macquarie River by the Bundi Fishing Club, with money donated by club members and recreational anglers buying Murray cod and golden perch via the DPI $ for $ fish stocking program to conserve and improve native fish populations in the river. The project will help to buffer the effects of the Macquarie River to Orange Pipeline on high value native fish stocks in the stretch of the Macquarie River.
Invasive classified weeds, tree of heaven, were cut down and stumps poisoned using best practice methods to eliminate re-growth with follow up treatment to control new shoots from roots, cut timbers were reduced in size to allow collection and placed in heaps which were burnt when timber dried and conditions allowed. Site preparations included repairing feral pig damage and ripping ground to allow for moisture penetration along planting lines.
Trees were planted after holes were pre-watered and fertilizer and water crystals added to aid growth, small guards to provide protection from wind were installed, mulch added, plants watered in and stiff stay wire guards secured to steel posts were placed around each plant to prevent predation from goats, feral pigs and native species.
To date over 300 hours of in-kind contribution by members (calculated @ $30/hr in the application), plus the purchase of equipment, supply of machinery, fuel and mulch has been donated toward the project by members of the Bundi Fishing Club to reach the current milestones.
The Grant Funding of $10872.00 has been allocated to the purchase of steel posts and rolls of stiff-stay mesh to protect plants and the purchase of plants.
Additional planting to complete the project will be undertaken when conditions improve.