A Green Army team has been hard at work to tidy up Lake Eppalock in the lead-up to Easter Weekend – one of the busiest of the year for visitors to the lake.
The team, funded by the Australian Government and hosted by the North Central Catchment Management Authority in partnership with Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW), has been visiting the lake four days a week since February. Participants are covering large areas of perimeter lands to carry out rubbish removal, weed control, signage improvement and fencing, as well as replanting native vegetation to improve habitat and water quality.
The team is also helping with bollard repair and replacement, brush-cutting and providing assistance to neighbouring Green Army teams at Maldon or Cairn Curran. At Maldon, it’s been all hands on deck to remove a large amount of cactus.
“Our work is carried out mostly around the public recreation areas,” team supervisor Martin Hyland said. “It’s great to be able to clean up these areas while also providing meaningful work for young people.
“I’ve been involved with environmental work for 20 years now,” he said. “In coming months this team will assist with revegetation around the lake, including 5000 plants.
“This will be at a site adjacent to Sunset Drive which is a grey-crowned babbler zone,” Mr Hyland said.
The grey-crowned babbler is considered a vulnerable bird species and is the largest of four Australian babblers. The primary cause of its decline is thought to be widespread clearing of its preferred box woodland habitat, through a range of factors such as increased predators like feral cats and foxes, fire protection works and animal grazing.
Deakin University environmental science student Kate Seymour is one of the Lake Eppalock Green Army participants and said she was enjoying the opportunity.
“This work has been great because it’s a foot in the door towards what I want to do and it’s related to what I’m learning about.”
Fellow Green Army participant Shannon Beer said he saw the role advertised online and decided to apply.
“It’s about 30 hours a week. I love the outdoors. The work involves mostly lakeside removal of unwanted plants and things. The work is never-ending.
“We recently filled up about a dozen bags of rubbish from a small area which is amazing when you think about the environmental impact it could have caused,” Mr Beer said.
GMW Recreation and Land Operations Officer Chris Braden said it’s been fantastic to have the Green Army team on hand to assist with important clean-up work around the lake.
“We do as much as we can as part of our usual caretaking of the lake but it makes a huge difference to have extra pairs of hands. We provide the team with guidance on what work needs to be carried out.
“The tasks can be mixed so that it doesn’t get too repetitive. Martin and the team are doing a great job and I sincerely thank them for their efforts,” Mr Braden said.
Like many regional parks and bush reserves, GMW has a policy of ‘carry-in, carry-out’ when it comes to litter management at Lake Eppalock.
GMW asks visitors to do the right thing by the environment and fellow recreational users and this is supported by signage at designated recreational areas around the lake. In addition, contractors working on behalf of GMW and operations staff conduct regular patrols and programs which include litter removal.
Penalties apply for illegal dumping of rubbish and disregard of the environment.
About the Green Army
The Green Army is an Australian Government initiative that helps connect young Australians aged 17-24 with meaningful work through environmental and conservation projects.
It is a six month program which includes restoring native vegetation, heritage restoration, protecting animal habitats and regenerating wetlands in urban, rural and remote areas.
More information is available online at http://www.environment.gov.au/land/green-army