Wildlife Workshop

Native Mouse Antechinus stuartii Photo Jill Dark

Native Mouse Antechinus stuartii Photo Jill Dark

Last Saturday Peter Ridgeway shared his knowledge with ten Bushcare volunteers about retaining and accessing habitat on their Bushcare sites.

Some key points from the workshop include:

  • Shale vegetation types have less structural habitat than sandstone, due to land management practices and the composition of the grass and shrub layer and the lack of sandstone caves and boulders.
  • Lantana is good habitat for native bees and butterflies, so removal in stages whilst retaining the piles is best practice.
  • Dense privet is habitat for ringtail possums and a food source for silvereyes and protection for many species. So when removing privet, rafted small piles placed close together are better single large heaps that are then removed.
  • Hollows come in different sizes. The smallest ones can be mere slits in bark, used by any of the twenty plus species of microbats in the Mountains.
  • The size of a hollow must be snug for the animal using it to make a snug, cosy home.
  • Two thirds of all ground dwelling animals eat fungi so having cover on the ground that feeds fungi is very important.
  • The design of artificial boxes for possums, bats and bees was discussed, along with the situations for which they are appropriate.

It was a very informative morning. If anyone else is interested in attending simular training, please contact Erin at the Bushcare office: 4780 5623.

Expression of Interest to attend a Cultural Fire Workshop

Kanangra Boyd to Wyangala Link and Central Tablelands Local Land Service area

EXPRESSION OF INTEREST – Cultural Fire Workshop Cape York The Great Eastern Ranges Initiative- Kanangra Boyd to Wyangala Link Partnership (K2W), Upper Lachlan Landcare (ULL) and the Central Tablelands LLS are seeking expressions of interest from Indigenous community wanting to participate in a cultural fire workshop in the Awu-Laya country in Cape York Peninsula. The Fire Workshop is an annual event designed to bring people together from different locations and communities, to share and learn about Indigenous fire practices and their application to contemporary management. (details available here) It is expected that successful participants will come back to their own local communities and share experiences and knowledge and be part of cultural activities within the K2W, CTLLS and ULL region. At the fire workshop you walk with the fire, practically learning first hand with traditional owners and fire practitioners on country. To read country, the animals, the trees, the seasons, and the inherited cultural responsibility of looking after country for future generations. There will also be research and monitoring techniques displayed which has been developed and grown with the community Indigenous fire programs over time. These practices have also been developed and continue to address the contemporary problems like weeds, climate change and the ongoing practice of rural livelihoods in sustainable ways. Workshop dates: 13th June 2015 travel to Cairns (or 14th June dependent on flights) 15-17th June 2015 Fire Workshop 18h June 2015 travel back.

See Itinerary here; For those receiving funding under the K2W project there may be a option of staying on till 20th June for those wishing to attend the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival http://www.lauradancefestival.com/ Cost: The K2W Link, CTLLS and Upper Lachlan Landcare will cover registration fees and airfares. Food is included in the registration fees and camping. (Cost per person estimate $500 Indigenous community; $1000 non-Indigenous community (registration); $700 (air fare to from Sydney to Cairns return)). Please note if your expression of interest is successful and you accept you must commit to attending. If you do not attend, you will personally be required to cover the cost of cancelling the registration and air fare. Successful applicants will need to supply your own camping gear (swag and/or tent). Submit your expression of interest: Places are limited and not all EOIs will be successful. EOIs will be assessed against the responses provided for each of the criteria on page 2 and 3. If you are interested in participating, please address all of the following criteria on the form (link to EOI form) Closing date for Expressions of Interest: 10th May 2015 For more information please call Mary Bonet on 0459 352 892 or email [email protected] or call Larry Towney on 0438 489 930.

Download EOI application

Seniors Week Awards

Award recipients of Seniors Awards

Award recipients of Seniors Awards

Seniors Week Recognition Awards promote the key role that seniors play across all sectors of the community

Three Bushcare volunteers were recently presented with Seniors Week Recognition Awards. Andy and Marion Cairns from the Wilson Glen Bushcare Group at Woodford and Liz van Reyswoud from the Everglades Landcare/Bushcare Groups at Leura.

Andy and Marion from Wilsons Glen Bushcare Group

Andy and Marion

Andy and Marion were recognised for their continued efforts to improve habitat and conservation values in a site that has significant biodiversity values. They rarely miss a Bushcare session and Marion provides a full afternoon tea and home-baked cakes and slices.

Andy has led bushwalks for many years, firstly for National Parks and then the Blue Mountains Conservation Society. Marion is always quick to provide support with the walks. They are fit and active seniors, with a great love for nature and the great outdoors and are always there to help.

Liz from the Everglades Landcare Group

Elizabeth

Liz van Reyswoud has contributed her time and energy for many years in various capacities for a range of organisations.

Liz has worked at the National Trust Everglades property in various roles since 2003. Most notably, Liz was a founding member of the Everglades Landcare Group (Council) from 2007 and the Everglades Bushcare Group (National Trust) from 2011.

Liz was also involved with the Blue Mountains Conservation Society for some years and held the positions of Membership Secretary and Senior Vice President.

For some time, Liz has also contributed her energy to Meals On Wheels.

Liz is extremely active and dedicated to her various endeavours. The Manager of Everglades has a nickname for Liz – “The Shark”, because she never stops!

 

David King: Bushcare Legend 2015

David King was awarded BMCC Bushcare Legend of the Year by Deputy Mayor Chris van der Kley

David King was awarded BMCC Bushcare Legend of the Year 2015 by Deputy Mayor Chris van der Kley

To an ordinary person, the idea of founding five Bushcare groups, and keeping them sustained, year after year, with chocolate cakes and chai, through rain, hail and shine, while also juggling the demands of full time work and family, would seem like a crazy task.

But David King, son of Aunty Mary King, Gundungurra   Aboriginal elder, and member of The Gully Traditional Owners, is no ordinary person.

David is this year’s Bushcare Legend of the Year, an award presented by Council each year for outstanding achievements in the field of Bushcare.

The award is the highest level of recognition we can give anyone within the Bushcare Program. It recognises sustained efforts over many years.

David was nominated by the Bushcare staff because he is an inspirational leader and working companion. He has the sort of enthusiasm that makes everyone around him feel great. We truly don’t know where he gets his energy from.

Over the past 15 years, Mr King has enthused many local volunteers in the task of restoring and caring for the Country he holds dear.

He has established and nurtured several Bushcare and Landcare groups, including Gulunga Bushcare at Horseshoe Falls, Gibbergunyah Bushcare Group at Gloria Park, Hazelbrook, and Garang Landcare Group at Faulconbridge Lily Pond.

David is also the driving force behind the creation and success of Garguree Swampcare. With support from Council’s Environment Levy and multiple grants from the NSW Environmental Trust, Garguree Swampcare volunteers – under David King’s leadership – are restoring the degraded swamp systems within ‘The Gully’, an Aboriginal Place (adjacent to the Katoomba Sports & Aquatic Centre), managed in partnership between The Gully Traditional Owners and Council.

Thanks to years of hard work controlling weeds, planting and restoring creeklines and swamp areas, the Gully swamp systems are starting to come back to life. As the swamp recovers, the group is sharing the significance of The Gully and the cultural importance of swamps through cultural awareness workshops, walks and talks.

And as the country heals, personal connections are also thriving. Through Garguree Swampcare, people from across the Aboriginal, local and broader community have formed   personal, enduring relationships as they work together Caring for Country.

Now, Mr King is looking to inspire the custodians of the future. Most recently, he has started the Birriban Landcare group at Katoomba High School, where a whole new generation of young people are being captivated with this enthusiasm for caring for Country.

It has been a deeply personal journey for both David and his family, who are reconnecting to Country through restoring the lands that have been a part of their family for thousands of years.

Mayor Mark Greenhill said “Many people don’t realise it, but it’s often dedicated locals like these, working quietly and tirelessly in the background, that we can thank for healthy local creeks and bushland, including the birds and animals that depend on them.”

“Because year in, year out, they are helping to tackle weeds, replant native habitats, reduce stormwater pollution and restore creek lines across the City.”

“People like David King are true local legends – they’re helping to look after our local bushland, waterways and wildlife, so we can all enjoy them into the future,” said Mr Greenhill.

Council supports more than 500 community conservation volunteers across the City each year, through Council’s Environment Levy.

Jenny Hill, last year’s Bushcare Legend, presented Mr King with the Golden Trowel of Recognition at the Bushcare Picnic, held annually by Council to thank local community conservation volunteers. View the Garguree Swampcare story on youtube at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIDtzDeVx0w

 

Winning the Willow War

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 Removing willows will help to improve creek health at the headwaters of Leura Cascades

Council, the Leura Creek Landcare Group and the South Leura Catchment Group have teamed up with the Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA) and the Greater Sydney Local Land Services (GSLLS) to realise a vision to eradicate invasive willows from the South Leura catchment.

Council is matching $17,250 in grant funding from the SCA over three years with investment from Council’s Environment Levy, including the provision of technical advice, on-the-ground support, plants and tools. A $20,000 grant from the GSLLS for 2015 will add further resources to the effort.

Willow control is part of Council’s Noxious Weeds Program, which targets noxious (highly invasive, destructive) weeds across the City. This program  provides assistance for private landholders who proactively control willow on their property.

Pussy willow (Salix cinerea), was introduced in the early days of European settlement, and rapidly spread across the Blue Mountains, particularly between Mount Victoria and Hazelbrook.

Willows thrive in streams, swamps and moist forests, often becoming very dense, and their impact on waterways can be devastating – destroying habitats for fish and other animals; causing erosion and localised flooding; and depleting creek waters of oxygen, making it difficult for aquatic life. They can also spread very quickly, so early detection and control is critical.

Pussy willow seed can drift up to 100 kilometres by wind or water before taking hold at a new site – much like a bushfire can spot ahead of the main front.

The good news is that Council and the community are gradually winning the willow battle. Pussy willows are now under advanced control between Mt Victoria and Katoomba. With a systematic, comprehensive approach, it will be possible to win the willow war in the Blue Mountains.

Council is encouraging residents to report pussy willow sightings to Council’s Noxious Weeds team, on 4780 5000.

Other weeds currently being targeted by Council’s Noxious Weeds control program include Gorse, Broom, Boneseed, African Olive, Lantana and   Cabomba.

Find out more about weeds in your local area or Council’s Weed Management Strategy at:

www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/weedmanagement

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Community Conservation Program Review

                                                                                   by Linda Thomas (Community Weeds Officer)

WHAT IS THE CCP?

Council’s Community Conservation Programs includes Bushcare, Landcare, Trackcare, Community Water Monitoring (Streamwatch) and the Bush Backyards Scheme. The Swampcare program is treated as part of Bushcare / Landcare   activities.

Under the collective program area of the Community Conservation Program (CCP), these community networks take part in on-ground environmental management of natural and built assets throughout the City. All of these programs are about partnerships between Council and community.

Community volunteers make an enormous contribution to Council’s environmental management programs, with over 500 community members volunteering annually in Community Conservation programs.

In addition to the on-ground benefits realised from these volunteer conservation programs, they also generate community capital and goodwill, and a strong sense of connection with the City’s environment.

REVIEW OF THE CCP

As part of Council’s commitment to CCP a review was conducted to ensure that resources invested in these programs continue to be well directed, are responsive to community needs, and provide value for money.

The review, conducted from March to September 2013, provided an overview of the current CCP programs, the issues and challenges, and alternative strategies for the future. It included extensive community and staff stakeholder consultation.

All of the feedback received through the entire consultation process was used to inform the development of a final Community Conservation Program Plan which was adopted by Council at its meeting of 11 November 2014.

Thanks to all who participated in the consultation process.

The final CCP Plan responds to the changing community and organisational needs revealed in the review and outlines how Council will address these issues and challenges.

A copy of the final Community Conservation Program Plan 2014 and a summary of submissions received during the public exhibition and Council’s responses to submissions can be viewed in Council’s library and on the web here:

http://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/sustainableliving/environmentalinformation/bushcare/communityconservationprogram

 

On the web …

Wombats !

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Check out this is adorable story about wombat re-introductions into western Sydney…

http://newslocal.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

The Other Green Army

was screened in two parts on Tuesdays 8th and 15th April on Radio National’s “Earshot”, If you In case you missed it, you can download it from:                                                                                      http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/earshot/.

Our own Nick Franklin, Blue Mountains Bushcare volunteer and professional bush regenerator, tells the story of how the ‘eccentric’ Bradley sisters started bush regeneration – a movement that radicalised the battle against one of the greatest and oldest enemies of the Australian bush – invasive weeds.

Environment Levy Report

The new look Environment Levy Report (6 months July – Dec 2014) is completed. This is a   comprehensive report on Levy-funded programs and achievements and is now up on the BMCC website at:

http://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/sustainableliving/environmentalinformation/environmentlevy/environmentlevyreports or go to www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/environmentlevy and look for the link at the bottom of the page.

 

 

 

 

Bushcare News

Did you notice the fabulous abundance of Pink Flannel Flowers - Actinotus forsthythii - in the Lithgow area this Summer following the fires of the year before? Kim Toolin created this beautiful image (Kim is one of our payroll officers with a keen eye for plants as well as numbers!)

Did you notice the fabulous abundance of Pink Flannel Flowers – Actinotus forsthythii – in the Lithgow area this Summer following the fires of the year before? Kim Toolin created this beautiful image (Kim is one of our payroll officers with a keen eye for plants as well as numbers!)

The highlight of this season was undoubtedly the annual Picnic – what a wonderful day. A very big thank you to Erin for being chief organiser, the team for pulling it altogether and to everyone for contributing. See the double page spread with photo highlights. Well done David King on a very well earned Legend of the Year and to all our award recipients: Landcare Legends: Doug & Margaret Mavay; Junior Legends Kie & Tyrone Saunders; Susan Jalaluddin & Elly Chatfield (Hard Yakkas); Jeanette Adrian (Master). Popes Glen and Fairy Dell reached 25 year milestones this year – fabulous. Thank you for continuing your incredible Bushcare efforts and for inspiring us all to do the same.

We’ve got a good selection of bushcaring and learning opportunities coming up, and more to come later in the year, including the Bushcare Network Conference on August 31st. And for more news & events, don’t forget to check our website www.bushcarebluemountains.org.au or make sure you’re subscribed to receive our events bulletin by email.

Have fun out there enjoying the bush!

Monica & Erin, for the Bushcare Team.

 

Easy Care Raingardens Offer Hope for Waterways by Emma Kennedy

“If we care about the quality of our drinking water, and the health of our local waterways, we need to rethink the way we deal with stormwater”

That was the take-home message for around 30 residents, business owners, students and Birriban Landcare members who attended a recent workshop run by Council at Katoomba High School.

The workshop highlighted the damage done by urban stormwater runoff – the biggest single threat to local waterways. It also showed practical things people can do on their own properties to protect local creeks.

Council’s Aquatic Systems Officer, Amy StLawrence said, ”In nature, 90% of rainwater soaks into the ground, feeding plants and recharging all-important ground water systems.”

“But in urban areas, hard surfaces such as roads, roofs and paving fundamentally change the way rainwater moves in the landscape.”

“When it rains, water that falls onto these areas is channelled into downpipes and drains. It’s then discharged in one hit, unfiltered and at speed, directly into our waterways.” This causes enormous problems for local creeks, lakes and lagoons.

Stormwater tears away and destroys creek banks. Soil and sediment from unsealed driveways, roads and building sites clog creeks and waterholes. Decaying organic matter, such as grass clippings, suck oxygen out of the water, making it difficult for aquatic life. The extra nutrients then help weeds to flourish. Stormwater also flushes pollutants, such as chemicals, sewage and litter, directly into creeks.

“Many of our local creeks are showing signs of stormwater stress, while once popular swimming spots are no longer suitable for swimming.”

“The challenge is to capture and reuse stormwater as a resource, or to slow it down and filter it before it enters our waterways.”

“The best way to do this at home is to install a rainwater tank or a raingarden,” said Ms St Lawrence.

A raingarden looks like an ordinary garden bed, but uses a special soil mix and specially selected plants to retain, hold and filter stormwater. Raingarden beds are easy to build using readily available materials. And they generally don’t need watering, so they are easy to care for.

Even if rainwater tanks and gardens are not an option, Council says you can still do your bit for local waterways by keeping leaves, detergents, chemicals and sediment out of gutters and drains, and by washing your car on the lawn instead of the driveway.

“One of my favourite things about living in the Mountains is having beautiful creeks and bushland on my doorstep. I knew my local creek had problems, but I had no idea how much damage stormwater causes. I can’t wait to get started now on my own raingarden,” said John Smith, from Leura, who attended the workshop.

“My business is adjacent to Leura Creek, and I’m concerned about the stormwater runoff from my carpark. I want to put in a raingarden to slow down and filter the water before it goes into the creek,” said a Mary Smith, a local business owner.

The workshop was run as part of a $300,000, twelve-month project by Council (funded by Council’s Environment Levy) to improve the health of Leura Falls Creek and downstream Leura Cascades – in partnership with Water NSW.

As part of the project, Council is also restoring sections of the creek and installing treatment systems at stormwater outlets across the catchment.

Leura Cascades is one of the Blue Mountains most iconic tourism destinations. Like many local waterways, it also flows into Warragamba Dam, which services over four million people with drinking water.

Local volunteers, supported by Council and Water NSW, will be conducting regular water quality testing in the catchment to track the results of the project.

A similar project at Glenbrook Lagoon – also funded by Council’s Environment Levy – aimed at reducing stormwater pollution, is showing early signs of success. Tests show the new, $120,000 stormwater filtration systems there are reducing bacteria entering the lagoon by up to 90%.

Council’s Environment Levy raises around $1.5 million annually from Council rates and is used to restore local creeks, improve water quality, control noxious weeds and maintain walking tracks. It also funds regular water quality monitoring at over 40 local creek sites. Council is currently restoring over 130 creek and bushland sites across the City.

Council is running a Catchment Crawl Tour of the Leura Falls Creek Catchment on 3 May for local residents and business owners. Places are limited. To book, or for more information, call Council on 4780 5000.

Want to see a working rain garden in action? Visit the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre. There’s a rooftop raingarden on the viewing platform. To find out how to build your own rain garden, visit

http://www.melbournewater.com.au/raingardens

 

Bird Watching Event

 Deanei Reserve 24th Jan2015

Early Saturday morning on the 24th January eighteen fine bushcarers and interested twitters headed to the Deanei to see if we could spot some birds.  The walk was guided by Graham Turner who has many years of experience and is a great presenter with many many wow facts about local birds –and his bird calls are just amazing to listen to. Graham was surprised at how many birds we did see(January is not a particularly great time of year for bird observation) We ended up sighting or hearing the calls of 36 birds in all –a wonderful effort and what I noticed most is the wonderful & peaceful vista that lies within the Deanei.It is just so beautiful –tall graceful gums with Thornbills in the high canopy , whip birds in the distance , fire tails coming in close and as Graham pointed out the Deanei is the perfect place for Wonga pidgeons.   One of the highlights was to see a Pacific Bazza which Graham explained as a Climate Change bird –it seems to be expanding its southern extreme. We look forward to another twitch very soon.

A big thank you to Frank Winternitz and Graham Turner for enabling this wonderful event to occur.