In 2005 PLEG gained a PP& WCMA (Port Philip & Western Port Catchment Management Authority) Grant for Werribee River Volcanic Gorge Restoration. Western Water has contributed to this fund, enabling a major assault on weeds to occur. This section of the Volcanic gorge has been made available for restoration by the generosity of Woodhouse Holdings. Restoration works commenced on a section of the river known as the Poa Flat area, below the Western Water Treatment Plant.
Seed collection was undertaken and the large infestations of Patersons curse, boxthorn and spiny rush were controlled. A rabbit proof fence was constructed on the floodplain to allow regeneration of the under story native grasses, this was particularly successful with weeping grass and aided by planting of poa grasses.
On the plains grassland section of the river, on top of the escarpment a temporary rabbit proof fence was erected to allow native grasses to regenerate, and for kangaroo grass seed to germinate. Rabbit Control work is ongoing.
In 2006 PLEG gained another CMA Grant, to continue the work. Part of this was spent at the adjacent section of the river known as Thistle Flat and elsewhere upstream. A massive weed control effort was undertaken focusing on artichoke thistle and very large boxthorns.
Another rabbit proof enclosure was erected on the floodplain to enable native grass and ground cover regeneration and additional planting. Clematis has been planted on the escarpment and rabbit control work is ongoing.
Upstream, at Exford, 300 weeping grasses and clematis were planted on the Exford Escarpment, and the remainder of this highly visible escarpment shelf will be planted with kangaroo grass, and sown with harvested seed. Hop Bushes from seed collected last year will be planted in autumn 2007
In 2006 an Envirofund grant provided for weed control and Salt bush restoration works:
- Injecting pepper trees and more boxthorn removal
- Artichoke thistle removal
- Serrated Tussock control
- broad leaf weed control &
- intensive weed control work has been done on some of the high quality kangaroo grass/wildflower areas on top of the escarpment.
- Rabbit proof fencing is still to be erected.
- Complementary plantings of native vegetation.
Indigenous Restoration and Revegetation Guide for the Werribee River Valley
Katrina Blake 2004
This guide is used to determine plant selection for the various ecological niches found in the volcanic gorge.