Questions raised at the Little Bubbler

Reeds (Phragmites) in the vent of the Little Bubbler. Sparse at this stage but…..?
Reeds (Phragmites) in the vent of the Little Bubbler. Sparse at this stage but…..?

The Little Bubbler is a relatively modest spring near Blanche Cup and the Bubbler in Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park. The spring’s vegetation has been monitored by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources since the mid 1980s. For most of this time, the vegetation at the spring vent and along much of the tail has comprised an almost pure stand of bore-drain sedge, Cyperus laevigatus.

However, during the last two or three years, the common reed, Phragmites, has become established at the spring vent. Phragmites is indigenous to many mound springs, but often has a tendency to grow vigorously to the exclusion of other spring vegetation. This has been noted at several springs fenced by the Department in the 1980s (e.g. Big Perry, the Fountain, Twelve Mile) and at Finniss Springs following destocking.

It is possible that Phragmites was introduced to the Little Bubbler on the shoes of researchers or monitoring personnel and therefore may not be a truly natural introduction. Although Phragmites is not yet proliferating at this spring, it may have the potential to do so.

The question therefore arises: should FOMS be suggesting to DENR that active steps be taken to remove Phragmites from the Little Bubbler? Some of us think the answer to this question is “yes” but any comments from FOMS members on this would be welcome.

Another point of interest about the Little Bubbler is the propensity for its tail to change direction from time to time. The left-hand fork in the tail in the above photograph is a recent “break-out”. The new tails tend to be colonised by species such as Cyperus quite rapidly.