Friends of the Colo Friends of the Colo

Who are we?
Friends of the Colo is a community-based conservation group formed in 2000, to help eradicate black willows along the Colo River and its tributaries in Wollemi National Park, in a program called 'Willows out of Wollemi'. Primary control inside the Wollemi National Park was completed by 2003 and control of black willows across the entire Colo catchment by 2006.

The success of the programs can be attributed to the contribution of hundreds of volunteers, a close partnership with National Parks and Wildlife Service staff across the Blue Mountains region and ongoing funding from the NSW Environmental Trust . The group has also spawned two other adventure conservation groups SPRATS and Willow Warriors. SPRATS is an adventure conservation group that is controlling and monitoring sea spurge along the south West coast of Tasmania in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Willow Warriors are mapping willows by taxa across south east NSW, poisoning isolated or small infestations of willows found in national parks, and assisting with a control program to eradicate willows that spread by seed.

What do we do?
The Colo Catchment program now focuses on mapping other weeds along the Colo River in Wollemi National Park and the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. These include Crack Willows invading from upstream, Tree of Heaven, Lantana, Gleditsia, cape ivy, pampas grass and moth vine, and controlling the smaller remote weed sites in a program called Colo Colossus.

All activities take place in remote areas, and volunteers must show they have the skills to prepare and undertake these activities, and a willingness to work in difficult locations. In exchange for their labour, volunteers walk a remote section of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, with park rangers or experienced bushwalkers who have years of local knowledge about the region.

To register for these activities and other volunteering opportunities with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service go to the VIP web site

Colo Collossus

Colo Collossus involves overnight and multiday walks and packraft trips into the Wollemi National Park along the Colo River to look for and treat remote weed infestations

for more information

Colo Catchment Invasive Willow Control

The willows out of wollemi project started in 2000 and initially was controlling black willows in the Wollemi National Park and mapping seed sources outside the National Park. The inital 3 year program was managed by NPWS staff and the Friends of the Colo with funding of $84,000 from the NSW environmental trust and the primary control inside the park was completed in 2003. In the final year of the grant the groups also mapped other weed sites in the remote areas of the National Park. Friends of the Colo then expanded the project to map and control black willows in the colo catchment (primarily on public and private land along the river and adjoining wetlands betwen Upper Colo and the Hawkesbury River), whilst they continued to monitoring the river inside the National Park with a bi-annual sweep of the catchment for black willows growing into vew. They also stated treating some of the other weeds sites mapped in 2003. A second grant of $38,000 was received from the NSW Environemental Trust to support this second phase. By 2006 most of the primary black willow control was completed in the colo catchment although the volunteers continute to find black willows growing into viw to this day. Friends of the Colo received a thrird grant from the NSW Environemental trust for $28,000 to continue the treatment and monitoring of all weeds in the remote areas of the Wollemi National Park and by 2011 and the completion of theis grant the remote weed sites are now just being monitored for new seedlings germinating and weeds growing into view. During this period the group also treated crack willows in the Wolgan valley to prevent them from spreading down into the Wollmei NP.

Willow Warriors was originally formed from members of Friends of the Colo and they used the skills and equipment acquired in the Willows out of Wollemi program to map and treat black willows in other catchments across South East NSW. WWillow Warriors volunteers contirnue to assist with the Willows out of Wollemi project by participating in monitoring trips inside the Wollemi National Park and also from upper colo to the Hawkesbury river and adjacent wetland.

Here is a summary of the invasive willow taxa treated in the colo catchment over the years.

Here is the final report for the first Environmental Trust Grant.

Here is the final report for the second Environmental Trust Grant.

Here is the final report for the third Environmental Trust Grant.


Areas and lines in Red mean the target weed (primarily Black Willows) exisit and has not been treated.

Areas and lines in Yellow mean the target weed (primarily Black Willows) were treated on the last activeity and monitoring should continue in a 2 year cycle to ensure they died and to look for other black willows growing into view.

Areas and lines in green mean the target weed (primarily Black Willows) were not found onthe last trip and so monitoring can be in a five year cycle.

Areas and lines in purple mean the section of river has not been paddled by us and it is unlikely the target weed (primarily Black Willows) will be found in that section.

Areas and lines in Orange mean the section of river has another type on invasive willow (probably a crack hybrid) and is highly invasive and should be monitored. It also indicated a river where crack willows have been treated on the last trip on a section of river leading into an area of high conservation value and so it should be monitored.


View Willows Out of Wollemi in a larger map

Read more: Colo Catchment Invasive Willow Control

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