In the later half of August 2020, the Jobs for Carbon and Land Care teams, comprising 22 members, took up the challenge of eradicating Stink Beans in the Kamma River in Bonniedale. They met up with Donovan Kotze, who was representing the Gouritz Ecological Corridors Project and who helped map the area of infestation. He took the teams to the site where the Stink Beans occur.
The Gouritz Corridors team had done upfront consultation with the landowners in the area and they were therefore willingly involved parties to the alien clearing.
The clearing teams used chainsaws to do the job more efficiently. They cleared the mountains of these plants under difficult conditions, working through cold and wet weather with snow hovering on the mountains. Time lost due to rain on day 2 was put to valuable use, where the teams did motivational exercises, undertook training on how to operate a chainsaw safely and spent time on Health and Safety training.
On Thursday it was decided to split the teams in two. The one team continued with the cutting and cleaning process at one site. The other team only cut down as much as possible of the trees, but left them where they had been cut and applied herbicide to them. The reason for this was to prevent the trees from flowering and throwing seeds.
The work these teams have done in these wetlands will benefit both the wetland ecology and the downstream river ecosystems, and this means that all the landowners on site (public and private) and downstream will benefit from this work.
These Kamma wetlands are of high biodiversity value and are regionally significant conservation assets. They play a key role in maintaining the downstream river ecology in this dryland system and help conserve special fish species.
This work was a good illustration of collaboration across GCBR projects, making it part of a more integrated programme approach.
Our thanks go to Land Care and Jobs for Carbon for deploying teams at short notice and who made resources available to deal with this urgent problem. Well done to them for rallying to the task!
Photos/ videos courtesy of André Britz