Somerset Regional Council Mayor Graeme Lehmann and natural resource management officer Trevor Page watch Heritage Tree Care arborists Jason Pattie (left) and Ryan Garwood.
Somerset Regional Council Mayor Graeme Lehmann and natural resource management officer Trevor Page watch Heritage Tree Care arborists Jason Pattie (left) and Ryan Garwood. Contributed

Climbers on top of debris

DEBRIS trapped high among the treetops along the Brisbane River is being removed by professional tree climbers.

The rubbish has been stuck in the trees for the past year after being left there by the 2011 flood.

The climbers have been hired by Somerset Regional Council.

Somerset natural resource management officer Trevor Page said he had had to come up with an environmentally sensitive way to remove the rubbish stuck in trees along the region's waterways.

"We have excavators and people collecting the man-made flood debris along the river banks, but we needed an innovative solution to the aerial rubbish," he said.

"Because of the steep slopes, complicated access and vegetation along the river, we knew we couldn't simply use cherry pickers to remove it."

The arborists are using ropes, harnesses and small tools to climb the trees and free the rubbish.

Mr Page said it was interesting to watch them at work.

"They quickly and efficiently scale the trees using only their own power," he said.

"I'd love to be able to do it but frankly I don't like heights."

Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said he was pleased to see the rubbish being removed.

"There was a lot of small debris washed down the river like plastic and hessian bags and agricultural tape," he said.

"That's unsightly and it's great to finally be getting rid of it. We also know of some larger items and more unusual items that present a safety hazard for anyone walking under the trees, such as water tanks, diesel tanks and pallets."

The arborists will be tackling the river in areas near roads, reserves and bridges and later will move into more remote areas along the river.

The project to clean up the region's tree line was funded by the State Government and co-ordinated by council.