Environment

New walking trail and revegetation plans unveiled for Hope Valley Reservoir after devastating pest infestation

Following a severe Giant Pine Scale infestation, the Hope Valley Reservoir Reserve is set for a major revegetation effort with native plants and a new public walking trail.

The SA Government has unveiled plans to revitalise the Hope Valley Reservoir Reserve after an infestation of Giant Pine Scale (GPS) resulted in the removal of approximately 500 pine trees. Clare Scriven MLC, Minister for Primary Industries, Nick Champion MP, Minister for Housing and Urban Development, and Olivia Savvas MP, Member for Newland, have announced a comprehensive revegetation strategy for the area.

The affected trees at the reserve have already been cut down and mulched, with the mulch being treated with disinfectant and stockpiled at the site to curb further spread of GPS. This disease poses significant threats to forestry, as it dehydrates pine trees, leading to dieback of branches and eventual tree death. Steps are being taken to ensure the disease does not pose a risk to local communities or the water quality in the reservoir.

As part of the rehabilitation efforts, the government plans to replace the pine trees with native vegetation, aligning with SA Water’s broader land management strategy.

The project will not just focus on revegetation but will also enhance community amenities. Despite the location’s current restriction from public access due to safety concerns, plans include the development of a new walking trail. This initiative will proceed following a mandatory 12-month quarantine period. Construction of the trail and planting activities are scheduled to commence between mid and late 2025. The specifics of this trail will soon be open for public consultation and will be funded under the Open Space Grant Program.

Clare Scriven said “It is vital that we protect important South Australian Industries such as sustainable forestry, which unfortunately can be badly affected by Giant Pine Scale.
 
“I look forward to seeing the revegetation of the area with trees that are not susceptible to GPS in the future.”

Olivia Savvas addressed the local community’s disappointment over the destruction caused by GPS but reassured residents of the government’s commitment to restoring the area. “I am pleased to reassure our community that our government will be replanting at the reserve when appropriate to do so,” said Savvas. She also mentioned that she had sought community feedback and advocated for an extension of the walking trail to be incorporated in the restoration project.

The GPS threat has already wreaked havoc in Victoria, impacting thousands of pine trees and posing a major threat to the region’s AUD 1.4 billion forest industry.

PIRSA officials continue thorough inspections of both private and public pine trees in the surrounding areas to prevent further spread.

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