Weeds to go in Russells Creek clean-up

WEEDS and trees clogging Russells Creek for years will be soon cleared as part of the $3 million north Warrnambool flood mitigation project.

After years of complaints by some nearby residents about the vegetation and reluctance by water managers to act, the city council yesterday announced a clean-up would start next month in the section between Mortlake Road and Garden Street.

It is part of a major project, expected to take about five months, designed to reduce flooding risks for more than 750 properties and more than 100 buildings.

A study in 2010 by Glenelg Hopkins Management Authority identified the north Warrnambool properties which would be affected by a large, one-in-a-100-year storm.

State and federal governments provided funding to help the council undertake necessary remedial work.

Council’s manager for infrastructure developments and projects, Justin Hinch, said selected trees, both native and introduced species, would be removed from the creek section along with dense weeds.

“Careful removal of trees will allow us to re-contour the floodplain in critical areas,”  Mr Hinch said.

“We will be creating a gentle slope towards the creek which in parts has a very flat floodplain that has potential to flood. Work will also  include removal of dense areas of exotic reeds and cumbungi within the creek channel which contribute to localised flooding.”

Sections of the Garden Street pedestrian path may be restricted while the work is carried out.

Mayor Michael Neoh said the removal of  some of the vegetation would allow flood water to drain away quicker.

In June 2011 the catchment management authority responded to complaints about reeds and grass clogging the creek by saying flooding had more to do with rain intensity than native vegetation in waterways. 

 “Research has shown this vegetation has minimal impact in minor floods and can help reduce flood peaks and lessen downstream danger in major floods,” the authority said.

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