An endangered plant species has been found on the Lower Snowy River. Bolwarra or Eupomatia laurina is sometimes known as Copper Laurel or Native Guava because of the smell and taste of the fruit.
Contractors undertaking weed maintenance works for the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) came across a young Bolwarra, which is listed as an endangered species in Victoria under the Flora & Fauna Guarantee Act.
This is a significant find because apart from being endangered, only one particular beetle species germinates this plant. Seedlings take four to six years to fruit, and the plant has a restricted home range along the east coast of Australia, starting south at Nowa Nowa in Victoria through to the Cape York Peninsula.
The Snowy River has experienced considerable environmental changes over the last 100 years. Significant among these was the reduction in flows resulting from the operation of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme and the demise of large stretches of riparian vegetation resulting from extensive agricultural development in parts of the catchment.
The Snowy River Rehabilitation program (the program) commenced in 2002 as part of the larger Snowy Water Initiative that was committed to by the Victorian, New South Wales, and Commonwealth Governments.
The program included warm temperate rainforest restoration works on the Lower Snowy, which are now 15 to 20 years old. Bolwarra were planted upstream during the program in the early 2000s and are now colonising the restoration sites downstream.
Amber Clarke, EGCMA’s Acting CEO, said. “The long-term commitment to improving the health of the Snowy River by the Victorian Government includes projects implemented by government agencies, community groups and landholders.
“With everyone working together over a long time, we have seen positive changes to the river, and to find this endangered species flourishing is very exciting,” said Amber
Snowy River work continues with funds from the Victorian Government’s $248 million investment into improving the health of waterways and catchments in regional Victoria.