By Maureen Cooper, Wooragee Landcare
I enjoyed the article by Alan Hewett (https://ecoportal.net.au/seasonal-herbaceous-wetlands) and, though most of my wetlands are manmade (two dams and one pond which was created when a dam was started but not finished) I am now seeing the return of native water plants because of the absence of herbivores in these areas. I now have nardoo and swamp isotome which is rare in areas where cattle or sheep are allowed to access the wetlands.
The dam close to the house is well covered with floating pond weed, water azolla and duck weed and the edges are home to creeping persicaria (creeping knotweed), saltwater couch (Paspalum vaginatum), common spike rush, and common rush. So far I have had no luck with cumbungie or common reed. I have planted root sections and distributed seed but they have died off each year during the frosts. As they grow on neighbouring properties I will keep trying as these are important habitat for birds. Most of my water plants have come in with the ducks so I may have to wait until they do the work for me.
The eucalypts and shrubs are growing well around the dams and I will soon have a much better ecosystem for native fauna. When I bought the property both dams were completely bare both in and out of the water. All the small trees along the creek had been broken and chewed by cattle and it has taken three years to see them attain their beautiful forms. The spring was almost totally devoid of rushes and sedges; now the sedges and rushes have returned and I have planted Eucalyptus cadens or Warby swamp gum around the perimeter.
With the removal of the weeping willows I now have thriving swamp gums and bottle brush in the seasonally wet area behind the closest dam. However I have to remain vigilant because the willows keep popping up from an underground root system. My greatest wish is to get rid of the feral grasses and replace them with native grasses which grow here. I have not had much success with seed but have just managed to have three tufts of weeping grass which were self-seeded from the big tuft that I planted there two years ago. The alpine grass tufts in the same garden are seeding so it is looking very promising.
I get such a lift from watching my property improve.