Exotic species such as willows were historically planted along waterways for erosion control and aesthetic purposes. The spread of these species over time has degraded riparian land (riparian land is land that runs along rivers, creeks and wetlands). Willows have now invaded thousands of kilometres of riparian environments in south eastern Australia.

Rubicon River in Thornton, showing the river widening out behind the willows

Above photo: Rubicon River, Thornton, showing the river widening out behind the willows. Photo courtesy Goulburn Broken CMA.

Consequently, over the last 20 years or so, catchment management authorities (CMAs) have been removing willows along many Victorian waterways.

These willow management programs have sometimes caused concern with the public, particularly landholders and recreational fishers, who have a strong interest in the health of our waterways. Concerns have been raised about the location and extent of willow control, the management techniques used, the timing of revegetation efforts after willow control and the limited consultation with the public about willow control projects.

Willow blockage on the Ovens River near Bright causing obstructions for recreational activities like kayaking

Above photo: Willow blockage on the Ovens River near Bright causing obstructions for recreational activities like kayaking.
Photo courtesy North East CMA.

A brochure has been developed to acknowledge those concerns, improve communication and raise awareness of the 'why, what and how' about willow management in Victoria. It was prepared in consultation with CMAs, Fisheries Victoria (Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources), VRFish (Victorian Recreational Fishing Peak Body) and the Australian Trout Foundation.

Managing Willows in Victoria (PDF, 1.7 MB)
Managing Willows in Victoria (RTF, 300.5 KB)

More information about willows and their management can be found on the Weeds of National Significance website.

More information on the types, classification and management of weeds in Victoria

Page last updated: 04/06/19