Cumbungi busting

In 2014 we established an ongoing partnership lead by Southern Beaches Landcare Coastcare volunteers to work with Sorell Council, Parks & Wildlife, Conservation Volunteers Australia, students and teachers to remove the invasive cumbungi at the wetlands.

In 2014-15 the community efforts to remove the cumbungi were supported with a Sorell Council Community Grant that helped purchase resources for the school libraries, equipment (gumboots, snips) and plants to shade out regrowth.

The Sorell Times published an article by Grade 6 student Ethan Reed in their November 2014 edition:

Cumbungi Busting at Okines Beach

By Ethan Reed

On Friday 26th September I was part of an extraordinary team who tackled the cumbungi infesting the wetlands area at Okines beach next to Dodges Ferry Primary School. Community volunteers worked alongside school students and a Conservation Volunteers Australia team. Parks and Wildlife officer Angelique Keil, Gwen Egg of Southern Beaches Landcare/Coastcare and Sorell Council NRM Facilitator Paul Gray organised the work as part of the school’s Outdoor Classroom project.

“Working together we removed and bagged the remaining seed heads, pulled and stacked standing cumbungi and cut the sprouting rhizomes as far as possible below the water to inhibit regrowth – over the whole wetland! “ said Gwen.

“We heard at least 3 species of frogs and observed many clever spiders walking on water. Unfortunately we also disturbed a native hen with a nest and a clutch of 6 eggs, so we left some standing cumbungi to protect her nest.”

During the working bee my friend Jack and I dredged out the old handrail from the boardwalk built as part of the wetlands restoration project in 2000 led by teacher Ang Buckley that then became the idea for school’s first Wakakirri performance Then there were frogs in 2010.

Cumbungi, known as bullrush (Typha latifolia), is an invasive introduced weed, but looks very similar to two native species also called cumbungi.

“We hope that follow up in coming months and years will make our efforts worthwhile with new interest in the Okines environment and wetlands championed by the Outdoor Classroom Project,” said Gwen.

Gwen Egg of Southern Beaches Landcare Coastcare with Parks & Wildlife officer Angelique Keil removing cumbungi bullrushes next to Okines Beach at Dodges Ferry. [Photo: M.Reed]

Gwen Egg of Southern Beaches Landcare Coastcare with Parks & Wildlife officer Angelique Keil at a school-community working bee to remove cumbungi bullrushes next to Okines Beach at Dodges Ferry. [Photo: M.Reed]