The goodest girl for the weed-whacking job

Melbourne Water is thrilled to give a glowing report card to Raasay, its friendly four-legged employee.

Melbourne Water is thrilled to give a glowing report card to Raasay, its friendly four-legged employee and goodest girl.

The clever border collie is vital as an expert in sniffing out wild weeds. She is part of Melbourne Water’s Waterways and Catchment Operations Team.

The pesky weed in question is Sporobolus anglicus, an invasive grass that grows in tidal estuaries. They collect sediment, choke creeks and destroy natural mudflat habitats. The weed is difficult for humans to detect because it looks similar to some native species and grows in difficult-to-reach tidal mudflats.

Like any Melbourne Water staff member, Raasay sat down with her manager Adrian Vinnell for her 2022 Performance Review after completing three jobs in September.

2022 Performance Review

Name: Raasay (goodest girl)

Length of employment: 18 months.

Remuneration: Treats, games and pats.

Job description: Utilises specially trained senses to locate the weed Sporobolus anglicus to help eliminate it from the Westernport Catchment.

Highlights: Assist Melbourne Water in locating weed growth that aerial or human inspections may have missed.

Challenges: Works in challenging conditions among muddy swamp lands. (Also, personal hygiene and fur shedding).

Personal development: Handler Tracy Lyten from Skylos Ecology has provided ongoing training, with regular exposure to samples of Sporobolus anglicus to hone Raasay’s senses. Raasay has also learnt to travel safely in a canoe and can now detect weeds while on the water, pointing to them with her nose. This increases the ground crew’s capacity to cover a larger area and target more weeds.

Employee comments: *Wags tail.

Manager comments: Raasay is an asset to Melbourne Water. She is intelligent, enthusiastic, efficient and well-liked. She regularly goes above and beyond the requirements of her role. In particular, the goodest girl enhances safety for her colleagues who do not need to venture as close to the waterways while scouring for weeds due to her prowess in the conditions.

Melbourne Water manages all parts of the water cycle, from providing clean drinking water to treating sewage, managing flooding and keeping all 25,000km of Melbourne’s rivers, creeks and catchments healthy. The health of our waterways and land is essential to our native wildlife and our way of life today, tomorrow and for generations to come.

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