Hills collaboration wins in more ways than one

​Adelaide Hills Council has collaborated with Alexandrina and Mount Barker District Councils, as well as regular supplier Goolwa Quarries, to eliminate the soil pathogen Phytophthora in an award winning project.

The project, recognised recently for Excellence in Project Innovation by the South Australian Division of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia, successfully identified and managed the quarantine of this damaging fungus to prevent its spread into the environment.

Phytophthora is a soil borne fungus which proliferates and spreads in water. It
causes a disease known as ‘Phytophthora Dieback’ and depending on the species
of Phytophthora it causes the decline or death to a diverse range of native, exotic,
forestry and horticultural plants.

In 2018 Mount Barker District Council noticed an unusual decline of an old River Red Gum at Nairne Oval, which led to the discovery of Phytophtora present in the surrounding soil. Investigations confirmed that quarry material imported to the site may have been the source of the fungus, and the supplier of that contaminated material was working with all three hills councils.

The quarry operator was informed of the contamination and worked closely with Council officers to create a management plan for quarantining Phytophtora at the site, and managing further quarried material in a way that is safe for our vibrant biodiversity.

The Excellence in Project Innovation Award won for this work recognises innovation that creates significant advancement and improvement within the industry. It was presented at a ceremony in November 2020.

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