Residents along the Avon River are being asked to join in a war on weeds choking their local waterways. Natural resource management group Wheatbelt NRM has surveyed and mapped a 150-kilometre stretch of the river for Tamarisk and Bridal creeper. Both species, which choke out native vegetation, are listed as Weeds of National Significance. To help continue the war on weeds, Wheatbelt NRM has organised a free, half-day workshop in York. The event will feature ABC TV’s Josh Byrne who will talk about how to prevent environmental weeds escaping from people’s gardens. Josh Byrne will also include advice on gardening in the Avon region. Wheatbelt NRM’s project officer Greg Warburton said Tamarisk originated from the Middle East and was introduced to Australia as a garden plant and salt tolerant re-vegetation species. “This weed is also found upstream of bridges where it was planted to protect pylons during flooding,” Greg Warburton said. Bridal creeper was introduced from southern Africa as an ornamental plant. The workshop will help people identify Weeds of National Significance and how to control them. “A frightening fact about Bridal creeper is it has 90 per cent of its biomass underground consisting of a massive tuber system, which helps it to survive droughts,” Greg Warburton said. “Controlling these weeds requires lots of physical work, with back pack spraying and chain sawing.” Already a team employed by Wheatbelt NRM has spent months walking hundreds of kilometres of the Avon Valley from Beverley to West Toodyay plotting infestations. Pockets of Tamarisk and Bridal creeper have become so thick the native vegetation cannot survive. The Weed Wars and The Great Escape workshop will take place on Saturday, 27th April at the York Town Hall starting at 10am. The event is free but registration is essential. For more information call Wheatbelt NRM on 9670 3100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Media contact: Greg Warburton, Wheatbelt NRM, 9670 3100 or 0499 499 119.