Ricegrass be gone

Circular Head Landcare Group president Jeremy Ward and members Sue Jennings, Eddy Schuuring and Jenny Brazier with UPC Renewables chief executive officer Anton Rohner. The renewable energy developer will contribute $20,000 to this year’s ricegrass eradication program in Duck River. Picture: Ashleigh Force. 

Eradication. The Circular Head Landcare Group has received a helping hand from UPC Renewables in its fight against ricegrass in Duck River. 

Ricegrass is an evasive species which clogs up waterways, preventing access and impacts the breeding grounds of bottom feeding fish such as flounder and flathead.

It invades the mudflats which support shorebirds and allows silt to build up under infrastructure such as oyster racks, changing the nutrient levels in the river on which the oyster industry depends.

The local landcare group undertakes eradication and control methods each year during the summer months to prevent the spread of the species. 

This year, the $26,000 project is jointly funded by Circular Head Landcare Group and Cradle Coast NRM with a $20,000 contribution from UPC Renewables. 

Anton Rohner, chief executive officer at UPC Renewables Australia, said the company takes its environmental responsibilities seriously and is committed to the control of invasive weeds such as ricegrass. The renewable energy developer is currently investigating the potential for proposed wind farm sites at Robbins Island and Jim’s Plain.  

“However, rather than focus on areas just associated with the wind farm site, we want to contribute to the greater effort of eradicating ricegrass from the Duck River estuary,” he said.

“We believe that in helping fund the Landcare program we can achieve a win for the community, a win for the environment and a win for the wind farm development.

Sue Jennings, who coordinates the local program, said the contribution will go towards the eradication and control of ricegrass meadows in Duck River

“During our program there are always difficulties with access, tides and weather, but a common problem for us is funding,” she said.

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