Essential mitigation works to stabilise the western bank of Barkers Creek have been completed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

DELWP Senior Environmental Planner, Damian Sharrock, said the 100-metre rock wall was constructed at the end of February and revegetation works were carried out in March and April.

“Five thousand native plants have been planted by Djandak (Dja Dja Wurrung Enterprises Pty Ltd) along the creek stretching the length of the wall.

“Extra plantings were also added to fill in vegetation that was planted in February and March 2017, immediately downstream of Walker Street Bridge.  

“All of the new plants are locally indigenous, non-invasive species and will avoid tree growth in the waterway that led to the erosion issues in the past.

“We have predominantly planted rushes, sedges and grasses which provide habitat for water birds and other animals as well as providing structure and stability for the creek bed and banks.  

“Some trees, sheoaks, blackwoods and lightwoods have been planted along the eastern bank.  

“In addition to this already extensive revitalisation work, more plantings have been scheduled for next spring.

“Storm damaged trees immediately downstream of the rock wall have also been safely removed.

“Weed control works have occurred periodically throughout the last six months with hand weeding around new plantings and more planned in the next month or two.

“These essential mitigation works were needed when flooding and high-water flows in November 2016down Barkers Creek, directly downstream of Walker Street bridge in Castlemaine, caused significant erosion of the west bank of the creek, making the upper bank unstable.

“The project began at the end of December 2016 and included:

  • removing more than 80 exotic trees along 250 metres of Barkers Creek,
  • planting 3,000 new native plants immediately downstream of the Walker Street Bridge, constructing a rock wall 100 metres downstream of the Walker Street Bridge and
  • planting 5,000 new native plants along the creek stretching the length of the new rock wall.

“These works have already been successful in keeping the bank stable and water running in the channel.

“Water quality has also improved with no sediment loads. Turtles ducks, and other water birds are also thriving in the creek.”