The vineyard is bisected by a large wetland covering about 20 acres but like many waterways in Australia this wetland has become clogged by species of willows. Willows can be aggressive weeds and spread via seeds and branch and root sections which propagate easily in continuously wet or moist soil. Gradually the willows displace native species, reduce water flows and change the ecology of the area.   For more information on why willows are considered weeds of national  importance click here. The first slide above shows a small pocket of remnant native vegetation dominated by tea trees and coral ferns. This is roughly what we hope the whole area will look like 30 or 40 years from now after the worst areas are cleared and replanted. The second slide shows the wetland looking east or downhill. The majority of what is in shot are willow species with only the occasional tea tree visible in the distance. The third slide shows a deeper section of the wetland where the water is too deep for the willows. This area is home to many birds species (see the species gallery for what we have identified so far) and we would expect this area to become larger once the willows have been removed as less water is lost to the willows. The fourth slide shows the dam or soak that is at the western end of the wetland. This area is also home to many birds, frogs, turtles and snakes. We are currently talking with the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority about ways to improve this wetland and hopefully our next post late in 2011 will confirm what action will be taken. Cheers for now, Mark