BULS wins Tidy Towns Award

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One of BULS ongoing biodiversity and Landcare activities received a major award recently in the 2015 Tidy Towns presentations.

The revegetation of the Upper Spring Creek, upstream of Lake Sambell Caravan Park, led by Elke Jasper, was the state winner of the Caring for the Environment category. 

Latest news on the Upper Spring Creek Project

English broom has become more evident in parts of Upper Spring Creek this year. Project Manager, Elke Jasper has initiated a biological control program, in conjunction with Gayle South, Landcare Officer for Ovens Landcare Network. Gayle has released some of the Brrom Gall Mite into the infestation of broom along Spring Creek. If you are walking in the area, perhaps you could look out for sign of mite activity on the pest weed. Here are some details about the control agent:

Biological control of English Broom

English broom, Cystisus scoparius (also known as Broom and Scotch broom) is a leguminous shrub, originating from Western Europe. It is a common weed near human settlement and disturbed areas. There have been many insects recorded associated with English broom however, the broom gall mite, Aceria genistae  (also from Western Europe)  feed and develop exclusively on English broom and is unlikely to interbreed with local strains of mites. Broom gall mite belongs to a large family of microscopic plant eating mites known as the Eriophyidae.  These mites feed by inserting their mouthparts into plant cells to extract sap.

Galls form as a result of their feeding and are the best way to detect their presence. Over winter the mite colonies reside inside the base of stem buds. During Spring feeding, mites cause the buds to develop into deformed lumps, 5–30 mm across. Many overlapping generations of mites live and feed in the galls over Spring and Summer, and this is the best time to look. In late Summer and Autumn ( the best time to harvest the galls) the galls start to wither and, the mites taking this cue migrate to a new stem bud for the Winter. The galls form over successive years stunting growth, flowering and can cause plant death.