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Spiny Rush Managment

October 2018

Sonia Bazzacco Land Services Officer - Wetlands biodiversity projects

South East Local Land Services have been successful in obtaining a grant from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program – Smart Farms Small Grants, to work on managing and increasing awareness of the impacts of the weed spiny rush (Juncus acutis) in the Eurobodalla.

Juncus acutis - spiny rush

Spiny rush tends to be a rich dark green in colour and has elongated cylindrical leaves that terminate in very sharp tips – similar to a sharp, heavy gauge needle.

Although this weed is declared noxious in many areas of Australia most coastal landholders in the South East are unaware of the existence of the weed and its threat to grazing land. Once established it grows as a monoculture and displaces all pasture species.

Because of its sharp spines, stock do not eat spiny rush, giving it a competitive advantage over other native and introduced pasture plants. Spiny rush can form impenetrable stands in grazing areas and around water sources, reducing the feed and water available to stock.

Many properties in the Eurobodalla contain significant remnants of the nationally listed Coastal Saltmarsh Endangered Ecological Community (EEC) and Swamp Oak Forest EEC.

The increasing threat of invasion by the largely unknown wetland weed spiny rush (Juncus acutis) is a key threatening process to both these areas productivity and their biological integrity.

It is considered of high threat not only to the pasture it outcompetes and the two EECs it occurs in but also to the biological function of these areas as two research projects have found due to the morphological differences between the rush it displaces, its look alike, sea rush (Juncus kraussii), spiny rush has significant effects on associated wetland fauna. It therefore impacts both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Juncus krausii - sea rush

The timing for working on this weed is extremely important as it is currently at a manageable level in the Eurobodalla and almost non- existent in the bordering Bega Valley Shire.

Local Land Services will partner with Eurobodalla Shire Council to map the extent of the weed whilst managing it. The project also aims to build the knowledge and capacity of land managers and the community to best manage this weed in the Eurobodalla and Bega Shire.

Koori Crews from Both Batemans Bay and Mogo Local Aboriginal Land Council will be employed to work on managing spiny rush populations.