Piesse Brook flows through State forest, private property and Kalamunda National Park before joining Helena River upstream of the lower pumpback reservoir of the Helena River. The Friends of Piesse Brook initially took on the management and restoration of 4 km of creekline and over time this lengthened to become 8.2 km which traverses through private property, DEC and Shire reserves.
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The Objective of Friends of Piesse Brook
The original goal for the Friends of Piesse Brook was to return the Brook and its surrounding bushland to what it had been prior to European disturbance. The Friends’ anticipated restoration works would reach the confluence of Piesse Brook and Helena River by 2007. However, once work had begun they realised they also needed to work on the Brook’s tributaries and this goal was perhaps a little too ambitious for the timeframe.
When the group was formed in 2000, the creekline was heavily infested with Watsonia (Watsonia meriana var bulbillifera), Giant Reed (Arundo donax) and Blackberry (Rubus ulmifolius). Additionally there was also Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana), Cotton Bush (Gomphocarpus fruticosus) and numerous other grassy, woody and herbaceous weeds. From 2001 the group aimed to eradicate weeds from 500 m of creekline per year, including weeds growing up to 200m on each side of the creekline.
The Friends use a variety of control methods, appropriate to the weed being targeted and the scale of the outbreak. In most cases a weed control contractor conducts an initial spray, and the group follows up with the ongoing maintenance. Over time the group has acquired a watering trailer and a tools trailer, with a large array of equipment necessary for restoration works.
Now and Into the Future
Friends of Piesse Brook have done a great deal of restoration work along the brook over more than a decade. Their weeding and revegetation activities have restored natural bushland along what was originally an area overrun with invasive and persistent weeds. In recent years the group have noticed the site is self-regenerating, from native seed stored in the soil and from the established native plants.
The group have also recently installed a series of interpretive signs which provides an informative environmental and cultural heritage trail along the Brook. This project has allowed the Friends to share their knowledge of the environmental and cultural values of the area they love, with the broader community who spend time there.
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The Friends continue to hold monthly busy bees in the National Park section to maintain the work that has been done. Currently they are 1 km from the confluence with the Helena River which is proving difficult, as this particular section is not easily accessible and is overrun with Watsonia and Blackberry. Controlling weeds in this section requires herbicides to be brought in knapsacks, rather than in a ute-mounted tank.
If you would like to contact with the Friends of Piesse Brook please contact the Shire Eastern Hills Catchment Management Officer, on 08 9257 9999.
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