Coochiemudlo Island Wetland Weed Control project

Coochiemudlo Island Wetland Weed Control project

The Coochiemudlo Island Wetland Weed Control project tackled weeds in the Coochiemudlo Island Melaleuca Wetland.

Volunteers and scientists removing weeds on Choochiemudlo IslandImproving the integrity of the Maleluca Wetland.

The site was managed by Redland City Council and has recorded 170 native plants including the threatened Lesser Swamp Orchid and the Wallum sedge frog.

Weeds were removed to improve the habitat for native flora and fauna. Weeds were targeted at key locations across the wetland, which enabled native vegetation to re-establish in its place and improved the integrity of the Melaleuca Wetland ecosystem.

The project focused on:

  • Reducing weed threats and restoring habitat in and around the 19-hectare Melaleuca freshwater wetland.
  • Removing weeds using chemical-free techniques to allow for the re-establishment of native vegetation.
  • Targeting weeds such as Singapore daisy, cocos palms, fishbone fern, asparagus fern, cassia, pepper, and umbrella trees.

The project was part of the Ramsar Wetland 5-year Program, which included several initiatives aimed at wetlands restoration. Restoring wetlands was essential because they provide clean water, protect shores, reduce the impact of floods, and improve water quality.

 

The project reduced weed threats and restored habitat in and around the 19-hectare Melaleuca freshwater wetland.

 

What we did

Small maleluca plant in the sandReducing weeds in the wetland to help remove the threat to native floral and faunal species

The Coochiemudlo Island Wetland Weed Control project employed innovative chemical-free weeding techniques and controlled weeds in hot spot locations within the 19ha Melaleuca Wetland on Coochiemudlo Island.

The project involved:

  • Utilizing innovative chemical-free weeding techniques, including saturated steam and hand removal methods, to remove a range of weeds from the wetlands.
  • Using those techniques to prevent herbicides from harming wildlife, such as the threatened wallum sedge frog, and to prevent chemicals from seeping through the sandy soils into the groundwater and ocean.
  • Working closely with the Coochiemudlo Island Coastcare Group, who helped remove weeds from the wetland and committed to maintaining the site past the project completion date to improve restoration outcomes in the longer term.

 

Measuring success

  • Weed control aimed to achieve at least a 90% reduction rate from 2019 baseline levels by 2023, averaged across the hot-spot locations identified and agreed upon via negotiations between Coochiemudlo Island Coastcare, Healthy Land & Water, and the Redland City Council.
  • This work improved the integrity and resilience of the Melaleuca Wetland by reducing the threat of weeds and allowing native vegetation to naturally regenerate.
  • The program aimed to plant over 100 square meters of macrophytes in total, which would grow and expand to new areas of the river over time.

 

Why this project is important

The Coochiemudlo Island Melaleuca Wetland within the Moreton Bay Ramsar site has high cultural and ecological values as it is home to over 170 native plant species, including the endangered Lesser Swamp Orchid (Phaius australis), and it provides habitat for many birds and animals including the threatened Wallum sedge frog.

Weeds are one of the main threats to this wetland, in particular, Singapore Daisy is threatening a small population of the endangered Lesser Swamp Orchid (Phaius australis). Other weeds such as asparagus fern, cassia, pepper tree, and umbrella tree are also starting to spread through the wetland.

The weed pressure was exacerbated following a storm surge from ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald in 2013, which wiped out over a kilometre of shoreline, exposing the Coochiemudlo Island Melaleuca Wetland, uprooting trees, destroying infrastructure, and threatening the Island’s economy.

Restoring wetlands is important because they provide clean water, protect our shores, reduce the impacts of floods, and improve water quality. Melaleuca wetland ecosystems have been diminished in South East Queensland as a result of land clearing and coastal development pressures.

Melaleuca Wetlands have been diminished in South East Queensland due to coastal development pressures, hence the preservation of this wetland is important, not only for the ecosystem services it provides to Ramsar but also as a remnant of this vegetation type.

 

Project snapshot

Project name:  Coochiemudlo Island Wetland Weed Control Project
Project manager:  Chelsea Kluske, Healthy Land & Water
Catchment:  South East Queensland
Timing: 2020 – 2023
Budget: $65,000
Partnerships:  This weed control project, delivered in partnership with Coochiemudlo Island Coastcare and Redland City Council and forms part of the broader Ramsar Wetlands Restoration Program funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
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What's next

There is huge potential to build on the successful work. Future funding will be required to build on current project successes and maintain the areas.

 

Project collaborators

This weed control project was delivered in partnership with Coochiemudlo Island Coastcare and Redland City Council and forms part of the broader Ramsar Wetlands Restoration Program funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Australian Government NLP