Four legged gardeners caring for Koomba Park
Tuesday 23 August, 2022
A surprising group of four legged friends are helping to care for Country as part of a weed control trial at Koomba Park on Wurundjeri Country.
Parks Victoria, the Friends of Dandenong Valley Parklands, and First Friends of Dandenong Creek are working in partnership to remove invasive weeds from Koomba Park in Dandenong Valley Parklands by employing up to 16 goats.
A herd of goats are currently at Koomba Park removing invasive weeds
The herd of goats have been put into the park with a mighty task - to eat invasive weeds including Wandering Trad, Wild Rose, and Kikuyu.
“These goats have made a wonderful addition to our team. By allowing them to graze, we can remove the invasive weeds without the use of machinery or chemicals” explains Area Chief Ranger Brendan Sullivan.
Arriving at Koomba Park last month, the herd will graze and remove the weeds until the land is adequately re-vegetated.
“They have made an amazing impact in just two weeks. Once they start to eat towards the roots of each weed, we will be able revegetate the area with native plants” says Parks Victoria Area Chief Ranger, Brendan Sullivan.
Before and after: In just two weeks, the trial has seen goats remove significant amounts of Kikuyu and other weeds.
In the coming weeks, volunteers from Friends of Dandenong Valley Parklands and First Friends of Dandenong Creek will begin planting Indigenous grasses to revegetate the landscape with support from Parks Victoria rangers.
"When the initial weeds have been cleared by the goats, the Friends of Dandenong Valley Parklands and the First Friends of Dandenong Creek will begin the planting of thousands of native grasses, sedges and reeds grown in the Friends of Dandenong Valley nursery to create an indigenous grassland" explains David Lumb, President of Friends of Dandenong Valley Parklands.
“The goats will periodically return to the site to suppress weed growth and allow the indigenous plants to grow. Fortunately, goats prefer introduced weeds and tend to leave the native grasses alone.”
Invasive weeds are a serious threat to biodiversity in Victoria. Not only do they compete with and crowd out native plants for space, nutrients, and sunlight, they prevent them providing essential habitat for native animals.
“Koomba Park is part of the wildlife corridor of Dandenong Creek, and is home to an array of indigenous flora and fauna. This is a fantastic initiative, and we hope to see this being supported in other areas moving forward” says president, Anthony Bigelow from First Friends of Dandenong Creek.
Parks Victoria ranger Kristine standing next to the goats following their introduction to Koomba Park
“Following the results of the trial, we hope the learnings from this pilot may see goats trialled in other suitable locations. We are incredibly grateful to the volunteers from Friends of Dandenong Valley Parklands for leading this project and to First Friends of Dandenong Creek for their support” says Parks Victoria, Area Chief Ranger, Brendan Sullivan.
Melbourne Water said the project has been a rewarding collaboration which will generate positive outcomes for Dandenong Creek, which is part of the 25,000kms of waterways they manage.
“This innovative approach minimises herbicide use and offers an alternative option for weed control,” Manager Waterway Catchment Services South East, John Woodland said.
This project was funded through Friends of Dandenong Valley Parklands thanks to a grant from Melbourne Water.
To find out more about volunteering at Dandenong Valley Parklands, visit https://www.parkconnect.vic.gov.au/