Improving safety and access on river walking tracks
Published: 28 Aug 2020 11:27am
Vegetation management works to improve public access and safety along walking tracks along the Murrumbidgee River will start early next month.
Wagga Wagga City Council contractors will remove a cluster of invasive willow trees adjacent to the levee bank along Cadell Place in the city’s CBD.
The works will start on 7 September and are expected to take five days, weather permitting, with traffic control implemented along Cadell Place while a crane is utilised to remove the trees.
Manager Parks and Strategic Operations Henry Pavitt said the clean-up of willow trees would have environmental and aesthetic benefits along this section of river, and also stop potential damage to Council floodgates in the area.
There is also concern for the structural integrity of the trees and the need to ensure the safety of the public from the likelihood of the trees falling in an area now being more utilised for recreation.
Mr Pavitt said the removal of the trees is part of a 20-year vegetation management strategy for the river bank environment.
“A number of these invasive weeds were removed many years ago and replaced with eucalypt trees which are natural to the environment,” Mr Pavitt said.
“The plan involved leaving some of the willows until the gums were large enough to stabilise the river bank. We have now reached the stage where the gum trees are mature and stand alone in adding to the natural environment.”
Mr Pavitt said the roots of the willows would remain embedded in the bank for extra support to combat erosion during those times when water levels rise.
“Willow trees are an invasive weed and can be removed with the support of the Department of Primary Industries,” Mr Pavitt said.
“Council has managed this vegetation removal over a number of years and the outcome will be better overall for the river environment in the long-term.
“The willow trees are also impeding access along bush tracks closer to the water’s edge, and two flood gates are being overgrown with further risk of damaging Council infrastructure.
“Pedestrians and cyclists using the shared pathway which runs along the top of the new levee bank will also enjoy a better riverine environment experience along the pathway behind Cadell Place.”
Mr Pavitt said the beautification of the river environment at the northern end of Fitzmaurice Street also coincides with the recent completion of the Hampden Bridge Legacy Project which provides a community space along the pathway.
Read more about willow trees and their impact on waterways here.