2009-02-03 Murray River Mapping and Treating Willows between Grassy Flat & Higgins Nobb

Between the 1st and 6th of February 2009 Willow Warriors with Duke of Edinburgh candidates from Macmasters Beach Surf Life Saving Club, three other volunteers and two river guides, mapped and treated  the following willows on both sides of the borders along the Murray river between Tom Groggin and Maguires Bridge.

On the 3rd February we paddled the 12km from Grassy Flat to a creek junction northeast of Higgins Nobb, treating 1 Golden Crack hybrid willow and 2 small poplars. The river narrows into a gorge with steep rock banks and very few gravel runs or camp sites. Due to lack of spots for seed to lay on moist soild or gravel this is not typical willow country. We paddled all the rapids with one rapid being paddled just by the guides and Jeff due to an undercut rock at the bottom of the rapid. The water at this level was not pushy and so the rapids could be negotiated with only two capsizes and low risk of boats wrapping and not being recoverable. We also only found one reasonable camp site with a gravel bed and hammock trees on river right and a small flat raised bank on river left and this was at 16:00 at 0596476 5969165, where an unnamed creek joins the river from the Victorian side in the shadow of Higgins Nobb so we camped there for the night. In higher water the gravel bed would probably be covered but you could still camp on the flat on river left. Jono, Caillan and Lana spent some time levelling a spot to put their li-los and fly which they unlevelled the next morning to make it look natural again. Lana opted to use the inflatables instead of her sleeping mat which probably made the intial clearing unnessary. Jeff and Tom also spent some time with secateurs cutting away the blackberry to make hammock trees accessible and pruned a dead wattle in case it fell on one of the hammocks whilst Yant had to chase his tent up the hill after a wind gust carried it away when moving it away from an ants nest. The raft guides just slept in the inflatables hauled up onto the rocks and had a serving of black berries whilst the other set up their camps.

Participants: Jeff Cottrell, Tom Nielsen, Graham johnston, Lana Towgood, Caillan Sainsbury, Ryan Butler (Guide) & Stuart Spencer (Guide)

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