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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Volunteers weed for bushfire recovery

A group of local volunteers joined forces with ACT Parks in Namadgi National Park over the weekend, working to help restore the land following the Orroral Valley bushfires last summer.  

The group of 20 visited the Glendale picnic area on Sunday 15 November, tasked with removing invasive weeds that have dominated the area since the devastating fires.

The initiative was the third of eight ACT bushfire recovery efforts funded by the Landcare Australia Bushfire Recovery Grant Program and WIRES.

“This type of work, the weed control, is very important in helping the natural regeneration of the land,” Landcare ACT CEO Karissa Preuss said. 

“The ACT Government are taking an approach of natural restoration following the bushfires but there is quite a lot of work to do and addressing the invasive weeds is a big part of that.”

Parts of Namadgi remain closed to the public, after the fires burnt through over 80% of the park. 

The initiative works in partnership with the ACT Government and the Southern ACT Catchment Group.

Meghan Bergamin was one of the 20 volunteers to roll up her sleeves over the weekend, after spending a lot of her time in the national park before the fires hit.

“I moved to Canberra early last year and spent all of my weekends in 2019 out bushwalking in Namadgi and Tidbinbilla,” she said.

“It was pretty heartbreaking when the fires came through over the summer, and I wanted to do something to help them recover.

“It’s different from one point of the hill to another so one side might be burnt stumps but a lot of regrowth, while the other side is barren, black trees and no regrowth.”

Recent rainfall has accelerated the growth of Verbascum weeds. Photo: Landcare ACT.

ACT Parks and Conservation Service area manager Brett McNamara said it would take patience and persistence to restore the land.

“It’s a slow recovery and I try to get people to appreciate nature works in a different timescale. You don’t bounce back from a summer like 2020 in a matter of seven months,” he said.  

“You can argue 17 years post the 2003 bushfires the land was still in recovery mode. Nature is continuously evolving so you don’t get to a point to when you think ‘yep, you are back to normal’.”

To be involved in Landcare’s next recovery effort, visit the online register.

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