A recent flora and weed survey at the Bega River showed flood damage mitigation is directly tied to the success of revegetation efforts.
However, for the volunteer community group conducting that revegetation, it's a constant race against time, especially given the consecutive La Nina events and multiple floods in the past two years.
The Bega River and Wetlands Landcare group (BRAWL) has been undertaking rehabilitation works at the Bega River and Spenco Lagoon since 2006 through erosion stabilisation measures and revegetation with native plants.
It was through a recent report commissioned by the group that their efforts' impact on flood damage mitigation along the river banks was clarified.
"Once plants are above one metre height, they tend to be able to survive floods and pooling better than younger plants," BRAWL community coordinator Erin Moon said.
"Some new plantings are physically damaged by floods, but most loss is due to prolonged inundation.
"It's a constant race to get the plants established before the next flood comes," Ms Moon said.
"We've also found switching to cardboard tree-guards from plastic corflute has added to the workload, as they don't survive floods well and often collapse in on plants, or are torn away completely."
Ms Moon said recent conditions had seen rapid plant growth and BRAWL's plantings over the last year have had their highest survival rates.
BRAWL currently has a three-year Restoration and Rehabilitation grant through the NSW Government Environmental Trust to plant 1600 native seedlings across 1.5ha of newly rehabilitated area and 2.4ha of existing management sites, and for habitat enhancement projects such as nest boxes for microbats.
Almost 200 community members and 400 school students have volunteered at the Bega River sites with the group over the last 16 years.
"Despite setbacks from floods and other challenges, overall the rehabilitation at the Bega River and Spenco Lagoon is already a success story and it will keep improving," Ms Moon said.
"BRAWL has received much community and agency support over the years and the group remains determined to improve the biodiversity and health of the Bega River."
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