5th December, 2010. The 2010 program got off to a good start on Sat 4th December.

Nearly 40 families, representing over 70 people, registered their interest in being part of the blackberry management program for 2010. Several who couldn't attend have expressed interest, and this number is certain to grow. It was hoped that we could commence work on that day, but a couple of important considerations have caused a delay. The first was the ext remely wet spring and early summer, with more rain predicted for the weekend. Also, we were asked by DSE to hold off, as the Macquarie Perch are breeding, and there were concerns that the extensive runoff of rain water, coupled with the spraying, might cause them trouble. Therefore, the start of spraying has had to be postponed for a couple of weeks. The late announcement of the delay caused some problems, as some Team Leaders couldn't be contacted in time to spread the word, but the mood at the registration was upbeat and positive. Many Flowerdalians can see the importance of getting on top of any weeds that appear in the valley, and there is strong interest in developing community -wide approaches to the weed problem. Many people who attended also registe red their interest in becoming members of the Flowerdale Environment Work Engine, and this group will be meeting shortly. It is intended that this Weed Management Program will become an annual Flowerdale event, and a long -term strategy be developed, with DSE, DPI, GBCMA, GMW, Parks Victoria and Murrindindi Shire Council. Peter Auty, Weed Management Coordinator for Flowerdale Community House, will be meeting with representatives of some of these organisations in the next few weeks to start developing such a relationship. Once the Environment Work Engine has met, and Peter has met with the government department representatives, a plan and timeline for the 2010 project will be developed, and chemical, PPE and equipment will be distributed to Team Leaders for use in their areas. The 2010 project is being supported financially by the DPI's Adopt -a-Stream program, and the thanks of the community are extended to that project, and its coordinator, Duncan Hill. If you are interested in joining the weed managemen t project, please contact Peter Auty, on 0422 867 949, peterj.auty@gmail.com. Peter will pass your contact details to your nearest Team Leader. Update 15 th December Flowerdale representatives met with DSE staff today, to start building a partnership for future weed control work. The DSE has requested that any work near streams not begin until the Macquarie Perch breeding season is over, possible mid-February 2011. The GBCMA is also looking at advising Flowerdale on the best chemicals for the work we want to do, and we will be getting their advice soon. Weed Management Team Leaders will be getting an update from Peter as soon as he has this information.

"Some of those who registered for the Flowerdale 2010 Weed Management Program"