Grass-roots community organisation that aims to improve the natural condition of the Derwent catchment

Restoring land after a flood

Seeking advice from Council land management officers is a good idea in the aftermath of a flood. Tasks to consider right away:

  • Check for weeds and remove them early.
  • Revegetate bare ground with native grasses and shrubs.
  • Restore the riverbank by growing deep-rooted native trees.
  • Fence off river from stock to allow for recovery.

Never use heavy machinery in a waterway without a permit!

Straight after a flood there could be considerable debris and flood damage on your land.

  • Wait until water levels are safe.
  • Work out if you can clear the debris yourself or with your neighbours.
  • If the debris is too large, contact the flood recovery service – your local council will know the details.
  • If you go ahead, protect yourself – there may be sharp objects and dead animals in the water. People have contracted illnesses and been injured during clean up.
  • Move woody debris off the riverbank to an area it can be safely burned. Fire on riverbanks can cause erosion.
  • If you have access to heavy machinery, seek advice before using it to clear debris from the river and riverbanks.
  • Don’t pull willows out by the roots.
  • Don’t remove any living native vegetation.
  • If the riverbank has collapsed or there are piles of rock or soil from bank collapse upstream you will need expert advice.


Revegetation is an important task that will help you to stabilise riverbanks after a flood. Over time, native plants will provide a buffer of deep-rooted vegetation which will create a healthier and more resilient riverbank. Using native plant revegetation, you can:

  • provide competition to help out-compete weeds
  • stabilise riverbanks and reduce sediment runoff
  • create a buffer to filter agricultural nutrients or chemicals entering waterways.
Revegetating a riverbank


All sections of the river with restoration works should be fenced off. If this isn’t possible, exclude stock for six months where pasture grass has been sown, or three to five years where native trees and shrubs have been planted. Use mesh tree guards and stakes to prevent native animals from browsing your plantings.


Environmental and declared weeds will rapidly invade bare soil, so monitor and control regularly to stop the problem getting out of hand. Where you can, hand pull or dig the weed out. Cut/paste is also a good method: cut the main stem as close to the ground as practical and paste the stump with glyphosate (e.g. Roundup). If these methods are not possible, spray with broad spectrum broadleaf herbicide (e.g. Triclopyr) during active growing times (spring/summer), unless it is blackberry, which is best sprayed in late autumn when it is past fruiting but before the leaves drop.

It is vital to spray away from the river to avoid herbicide entering the water. It is important to remove any weed fragments from the river edge as some species can resprout from stems.

Heavy machinery and infrastructure

Seek advice from you council natural resource management officer. If you need heavy machinery to remove debris or for any in-stream works you will need a development application or works permit.

Flood plains are prone to occasional flooding so try and plan your infrastructure for minimal risk. Ensure stability of structures to withstand possible flooding.

If you would like any technical advice about revegetation/weed control or further information on how to increase health and resilience in your surrounding waterways, please contact the Derwent Catchment Project or 6286 3211.

Next – revegetating after a flood

Derwent Catchment Project

PO Box 22 Hamilton TAS 7140  |  Phone (03) 6286 3211  |