The Common Reed, Phragmites australis, is a cosmopolitan species, with its major occurrence in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia (Haslam 1973). It forms large monospecific stands in wetlands, and along lake and river margins, and dominates large areas on major river deltas (Hocking et alI983). It is widespread in temperate Eastern Australia, being replaced by Phragmites karka in Queensland north of Mackay. Since settlement, the distribution of P. australis in Australia has undoubtedly been reduced in many areas by grazing and drainage. Phragmites has been widely recognised as an important species for riparian habitat and bank stabilisation in Great Britain and Europe (Lewis and Williams 1984), (Bittrnann 1953). It is also commonly used to trap silt and nutrients (Brown 1994). Investigations on the River Murray near Albury-Wodonga have shown that it can play a similar role on temperate Australian rivers. The following guidelines for the use of Phragmites have been based on experience on the River Murray between Lake Hume and Lake Mulwala over a period of six years. Phragmites has been successfully grown and established on bare river banks along this section of the Murray River in trial plantings, and growth rates and bank stability are being monitored. The planted sites will continue to be monitored, and the guidelines may be amended as further experience and results are obtained.
MDFRC funding agency: Australian Water Research Advisory Council between 1987 and 1990, and by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission through the Natural Resources Management Strategy between 1991 and 1994
MDFRC client: Australian Water Research Advisory Council