Additional measures are being put in place to prevent a repeat occurrence of possible fireweed disturbance in the Clifton Creek area.
Apologising for a mistake made last week where a section of Deptford Road potentially containing fireweed was compromised by a road maintenance contractor, East Gippsland Shire Council has thanked the local community for its weed suppression efforts and vigilance around the control of fireweed.
Council’s General Manager Assets and Environment Fiona Weigall said the contractor was working on the shoulder of the road (edge of the seal to the drainline) and removed gravel pavement material.
“In a meeting on 10 November (the day after the works) with Clifton Creek Landcare Group, the Landcare group advised us that it couldn’t be certain if any fireweed had been disturbed during the works,” Ms Weigall said.
“In agreement with the Landcare group, the material was returned to the fireweed site on 10 November. A portion of the material also went to a local works depot and is being treated and will remain there.”
Ms Weigall said the contractor was then given permission to continue with the remainder of the road maintenance activities at this site.
“The contractor was directed that all spoil from the shoulder and drainline cleaning process be lost on site and the Landcare group would continue to monitor it for any further growth,” Ms Weigall said.
“This process was also agreed to for future road maintenance activities by Clifton Creek Landcare Group.”
All plant and equipment were treated as per the environmental plan including full wash down on site and spraying all over with bleach. Details were entered into the contractor’s environmental management process register.
Ms Weigall said that following this unfortunate event and to mitigate any further instance, Council is setting up a warning (pulsating red alert) in its work order issuing system for when a work order is to be generated for a section of road where noxious weeds are known to exist.
“In addition, the contractor will be required to add detail about biosecurity measures undertaken for the particular weed species. It is considered these mechanisms will prevent any repeat occurrence.”
More funding for noxious weed management has been identified by Council as one of the key areas for advocacy effort, with East Gippsland Shire Council receiving only $70,000 of state funding to manage roadside weeds across almost 3000 kilometres of roadside per annum. This funding doesn’t go anywhere need the funding required to manage invasive and noxious species such as fireweed.