River clean-up an informative outing

ABOUT 60 people donned gloves, hats, ample amounts of insect spray and picked up a garbage bag yesterday at Pilchers Reserve to celebrate the 10th Dubbo Macquarie River Bushcare and the launch of Protect Repair Connect.

Lewis Burns performed the welcome to country and Dubbo mayor Mathew Dickerson officially launched the initiative.

Birthday cake and a barbecue were enjoyed by those attending the day.

Stalls were set up at the top of the riverbank enabling community members to learn to identify weeds along the waterway, fish identification, a fishing demonstration and an interactive session with keepers from Taronga Western Plains Zoo who brought along some small animals.

Throughout the three-hour event the riverbanks were scoured by participants, with paper, cans and plastic bags regularly found.

The Wood and Galante families formed a team and picked up rubbish together down at the river's edge.

Darcy and Hamish Wood had strong ideas about why people should take their rubbish with them when visiting the river.

"The rubbish washes into the river and if the fish eat it they'll die," Darcy said.

"I think it smells bad," Hamish added.

Dubbo Macquarie River Bushcare member Alison Collaros and Danielle Littlewood from the Catchment Management Authority were searching for rubbish higher up the riverbank. Ms Collaros said the group would be back for another working bee to conserve the riverbank.

"Picking up rubbish is the main activity today," she said.

"Certainly we will come back later at the right time to do some weeding."

Weeding is a large focus of Protect Repair Connect.

Dubbo Macquarie River Bushcare founding member Libby McIntyre collected a wide array of weeds in 15 minutes for the weed identification stall.

The tiger pear, bed straw, box thorn, wild tobacco and willow trees were pointed out by Ms McIntyre as particularly nasty introduced species, which are impacting on the Macquarie River environment.

"The more weeds that are removed the more native plants will grow back," she said.

Protect Repair Connect is a Dubbo Macquarie River Bushcare initiative that focuses on engaging and educating the community about caring for the local important water system.

Dubbo City Council, Inland Waterways Rejuvenation Association, Taronga Western Plains Zoo and the Department of Primary Industries are all supporting the $250,000 initiative funded by the NSW Environmental Trust.

megan.taylor@ruralpress.com

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