Tag Archives: willows

Braidwood Willow Destruction: an open letter to South East Local Land Services

The following is another letter written in response to the recent willow destruction activity on Monkittee Creek, just outside of Braidwood. This one was penned by Annie Duke and was sent as an open letter to the South East Local Land Services office.

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To whom it may concern,

I must express my outrage and deep disappointment at the recent government funded and sanctioned environmental vandalism on Monkittee Creek, below the bridge on Little River Rd.

As a Braidwood Urban Landcare Group (BULG) member actively engaged in a non-destructive revegetation project along other parts of Braidwood’s urban waterways, I am truly stunned by this destructive willow removal. It amazes me to think how much public money has been wasted on this venture, while I and others invest hundreds of hours of under-resourced volunteer time planting and tending trees, building biodiversity and landscape resilience, without the expensive and destructive approach employed by South East Local Land Services (SELLS).

I feel great sympathy for residents who must pass by and witness this tragedy each day. As a down-stream resident I am deeply concerned about the inevitable impacts to be expected from these works with the next heavy rains and for years to come. All vegetation has been removed and the bare dirt that remains will last long into the future – especially given the current hot, dry weather retarding any recovery, even of grasses. Establishing new vegetation will be a long term venture and will require a great deal more money and resources and a long period of follow up watering to ensure any success. The lost habitat will not even begin to be replaced for at least 15 – 20 years and even longer for any useful hollows to develop. I have personally and repeatedly observed a vast range of wildlife happily using the willow-lined creeks throughout Braidwood as a home. I grieve for those creatures who inhabited this location.

I am baffled that an agency supposedly concerned with “sustainable water and vegetation management, healthy soils and biodiverse ecosystems” (from the SELLS website) has intentionally enacted so much damage to an existing and viable waterway ecosystem for no environmental gain whatever. This site, right on the edge of our town, is now a highly visible demonstration of all the wrong “how to’s”: how to degrade a landscape, how to create creek erosion and how to destroy habitat and reduce biodiversity. Perhaps I should also add the following; how to misguide landholders, and how to justify the use of expensive machines. Continue reading

Creek Destruction rears its Ugly Head in Braidwood– Peter Marshall’s letter to the Editor

South East Local Land Services officers recently began cutting down and piling up riparian willow trees from a section of Monkittee Creek, on private land, just outside of Braidwood township.

This is exactly the kind of behaviour that Flood Creek Non-Nativist Landcare Group was formed to protest. This second wave of environmental vandalism currently gripping our government agencies is no different to the deforestation incentives of the 1800’s. In the very near future it will be looked upon with intense shame and regret by anyone with an environmental conscience. I’ll provide a bit more background and context on this particular project in the near future. For now, here are three hasty photos to give some perspective of the destruction site, and a copy of Peter Marshall’s excellent letter from the Braidwood Times this week. More to follow on this.

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Little River Road approaching Monkittee Creek bridge. Only the upstream willows (to the left) remaining.

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Immediately upstream of the bridge. A riparian willow corridor, surrounding a stabilised and shaded series of pools.

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Immediately downstream of the bridge. The previous riparian corridor habitat now lying in piles waiting to be incinerated.

Dear Editor,

Was it Einstein who said that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result? On that measure LLS has become completely unhinged out on the Little River Road. Continue reading

Non-destructive revegetation at Flood Creek

Our non-destructive revegetation trial is now under way at Flood Creek. Many thanks are due to the Green Army team that came and helped, consisting of: Alex, Dylan, Tiarnah, Nicole and Chloe. Thanks Guys! The team was provided by Skillset under the auspices of the Federal Government’s Green Army programme and was locally hosted by the Upper Shoalhaven Landcare Council.

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Nicole, Tiarnah, Dylan, Chloe and Alex at the end of the second day’s planting.

We planted a mix of casuarinas and teatree alongside a section of Flood Creek on the Braidwood Common. These were interspersed in some areas with snowgums, yellowbox, blackwood, red-stem wattle and callistemon. All up, around 800 native trees and shrubs went in. Further plantings will follow over time.

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of non-destructive revegetation, I’ll give a brief outline of the theory. The main point is that we didn’t begin this planting work by destroying any of the existing riparian habitat. Although this section of Flood Creek is currently stabilised by non-natives (mainly willows and hawthorns), we don’t see removing these plants as necessary or desirable in order to increase biodiversity and habitat value.

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A new native tree, augmenting the existing habitat and biodiversity at Flood Creek

Several native animal species already utilise the riparian corridor along Flood Creek (including swamp wallaby, wombats and platypus). Destruction of the existing vegetation would obviously cause massive ecological disturbance and probably make this area uninhabitable for decades. Moreover, removal of mature riparian trees accelerates peak flows, increasing the likelihood of downstream flooding and raising the risk of local erosion, as occurs time after time following willow destruction activities–sometimes misnamed “revegetation”. Many Australians are opposed to this form of environmental destruction, but the removal industry remains profitable due to outdated environmental funding programmes.

Continue reading

Open letter to Dr Tim Flannery

Ever since he watched the ABC TV series ‘Two Men in a Tinny’, in which celebrated scientist and author Dr Tim Flannery and comedian John Doyle advocated for nation-wide willow eradication, Peter Marshall has been trying persistently to contact  Dr Flannery to canvass an alternative approach.

Recently, Peter was delighted to receive a reply from Dr Flannery along with a request for further information. Dr Flannery said he’d be interested to learn about Peter’s work and asked if the willows are ever removed after they’ve done their job holding banks together.

Peter CC’d me into his reply and invited me to respond with an outline of what Non-Nativist Landcare is about and what we’re hoping to achieve. After some encouragement, I’m posting my response here for others to consider. We’re yet to receive further correspondence from Dr Flannery who is undoubtedly a very busy individual, but we live in hope he has read what we sent, and will consider it.

What follows is a simple cut and paste of my email, sent to Dr Flannery and Peter Marshall. I know it’s lengthy and might be a bit heavy, but I wasn’t going to waste time on small talk.



Thanks for your kind introduction Peter. Sorry to be so slow to respond, I have had a number of pressing tasks to complete recently.

Dr Flannery, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to write to you. Peter has asked that I outline our thinking and operations (quite a task). I will try to keep what I have to say relatively brief, though this will be difficult.

My educational background is a Bachelor’s degree in ‘Ecological Agriculture’ from CSU. I have since completed a B.Sci(Hons) year looking at natural repair processes within incised swampy meadows. I’m currently pursuing further study at ANU in biological anthropology.​ ​In approaching agriculture from an ecological perspective​ we learn to take a functional approach to agroecosystems and to ourselves (as humans) and our place in this biosphere. It’s odd, but for many people, the word ‘ecological’ simply means ‘natural’; ​so ​agriculture and humans are ​believed to exist somehow​ ​outside of, or beyond, ecological processes. This is clearly not the reality of our situation ​here ​on Earth, as you have expertly documented​​ (several times). Continue reading

Peter Andrews at Flood Creek

Mr Peter Andrews (OAM), founder of Natural Sequence Farming, recently visited Flood Creek. He was extremely impressed by the diversity of the vegetation growing there. Maintaining a diversity of plant species, especially including so-called ‘weeds’, has been a major part of Peter’s message over the years. Plant diversity inevitably builds a landscape, increasing fertility and restoring hydrology. It was great to compare notes with Peter at Flood Creek and find him as impressed by the diversity of our little patch as we are.

As anyone familiar with resilience thinking would know, diverse systems tend to be more resilient systems, with capacity to absorb shocks and yet maintain ecosystemic function. In fact, the number-one principle of resilience, as presented in this handy summary, is to ‘maintain diversity and redundancy’. It is a pity that the ecologically-illiterate among us often believe maintaining diversity in some areas requires demolishing it in others, and that ‘biodiversity’ can only perform worthwhile ecological functions if it’s native biodiversity. Continue reading