From Weeds to Wetland: Bushcare Success at Popes Glen

It’s taken more than a decade of vision, hard work and determination, but Blackheath’s Popes Glen is being transformed from a weedy wasteland into a thriving wetland filled with native plants and animals, thanks to an ambitious bush restoration project involving Popes Glen Bushcare Group, Council and the NSW Environmental Trust.

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It takes a village… members of Popes Glen Bushcare Group, BMCC Councillors, and staff from Council and the NSW Environment Trust celebrate the renewal of Popes Glen, Blackheath.

In 2012, the group successfully secured a $233,000 grant from the NSW Environmental Trust. Since then, the pace of progress at the site has increased dramatically.

A team of contractors is now carrying out highly sensitive and skilled work to remove the remaining willows, stabilise the edges of the silt flat using structures built from recycled materials, and plant thousands of plants to protect the silt from future erosion.

Over the last 12 years, Popes Glen Bushcare Group and Council, supported by the local Environment Levy, have removed a forest of willows and revegetated an area the size of half a football field with 7,000 local wetland plants at the headwaters of Popes Glen Creek.

The group’s monitoring program shows that the restored wetland is dramatically improving water quality in Pope’s Glen Creek, with faecal coliform counts reduced by up to 85%.

The new wetland is also preventing a large amount of pollutants from escaping into the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, only 2km downstream. Twenty cubic metres of sediment have already been removed from the stream since 2012.

Popes Glen Bushcare volunteers showcased the success of the project on 28 October, when Deputy Mayor, Cr Chris Van der Kley, and Councillors Anton Von Schulenburg and Don McGregor, together with Council’s General Manager and NSW Environmental Trust staff, toured the site.

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Successful partnership: (from left to right) Stephen Hardy, NSW Environmental Trust, BMCC Councillors Anton Von Schulenburg, Don McGregor and Chris Van der Kley with Alan Lane, Coordinator, Popes Glen Bushcare Group.

Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, congratulated the Popes Glen Bushcare Group for their success.
“The volunteers from Popes Glen Bushcare Group have 20 years of environmental success behind them. It is a credit to the skill and dedication of these volunteers that they can manage such a large-scale and complex environmental restoration project.

This important work benefits us all; from protecting the places we love to walk and play in, to preserving local biodiversity and our World Heritage Area, and enhancing local tourism – which relies heavily on a clean, green environment,” said the Mayor.

‘We were gratified to be awarded this significant grant,’ says Alan Lane, Coordinator of the Popes Glen Bushcare Group. ‘It acknowledged our hard work to date and built upon important gains funded by Council’s Environment Levy. We’ve almost finished converting the willow forest and the huge silt flat into a permanent wetland. Not only is water quality improving, but several species of frogs have returned and small birds are abundant. Maybe one day we’ll see Giant Dragonflies!’

‘Willows are beautiful trees,’ comments Paul Vale, Deputy Coordinator, Popes Glen Bushcare Group. ‘Unfortunately they are also extremely invasive weeds that choke streams and native vegetation, and destroy aquatic ecosystems. That was happening to Popes Glen Creek and urgent action was needed.’

Back in 2002, the Popes Glen Bushcare Group and Council took on the challenge of restoring Popes Glen. The ongoing and significant achievements of the group were crucial in securing the NSW Environmental Trust grant.

Visit the Popes Glen Bushcare site for more information.

Disability Awareness at Bushcare — places still available!

There are still limited places available for this important training day so if you can spare some time and would like to build the skills of your bushcare group, please join Bushcare Officers and other volunteers this Friday!

Morning tea and lunch provided

RSVP essential to Monica Nugent by Wednesday 29/10/14

Please ring 4780 5528 or email [email protected]

In keeping with our policy of access and equity, BMCC Bushcare is committed to making the benefits of Bushcare accessible to everybody in our community, including those living with a disability. The Bushcare Team is pleased to provide this training opportunity. It will assist Council’s Bushcare staff, Bushcare Group Co-ordinators and other interested volunteers to integrate people with varying levels of ability into Bushcare whilst ensuring a safe and satisfying Bushcare experience for all members of the group.

About the trainer: Maeve Dunnett from ‘Inside Out’ is passionate about the rights of people with disabilities to access all the same services that non-disabled people are able to access. And what’s more, she is a Bushcare volunteer and a member of the Blue Mountains Bushcare Network! Maeve is a qualified trainer who has 20 years’ experience working in the disability and community sector.

Managing Bush Land on Community Title Land

Many residents buy into a Community Title development with little understanding that they are also buying into the management of common land. Residents often receive limited information about how community title works or their responsibilities. This factsheet developed by the Local Land Service is a guide to managing bushland on this land.

Managing Bushland on Community Title Land

2 Minutes with Ray Richardson

Ray is the coordinator for the North Lawson bushcare group that has recently partnered with the home school network.

What brought you to Bushcare?

I was concerned with the amount of weeds in public areas and I have environmental concerns. I also have a love of indigenous vegetation.

What are the challenges (if any) you find both positive and negative?

Getting enough people coming along to bushcare to keep the group going was always a concern and the size of the site and the weed population on the site.

The positives are seeing the differences we are making and seeing that the plants we have planted have taken off. I also appreciate the public who comment on how good the site is looking.

What is your favourite/most hated plant and why?

Ray RichardsonMy favourite is any Grevillea, as there is such a variety of shape, form and habit and they are hardy.

I also claim to have the largest Grevillea Bronze Rambler in the mountains as the trunk has a girth the size of a dinner plate.

My most hated plant is Blackberry as it is difficult to remove and reinfests so easily. You also need to be well equipped to deal with it due to the thorns.

If you could invite four of the people who inspire you to dinner, who would you pick?

I would pick Barry Humphries and his various characters, Gough Whitlam, Bruce Beresford and Robin Williams the presenter on the ABC science show.

Factors influencing deoxygenation following an unintended whole of water body herbicide treatment of aquatic weed cabomba in a natural wetland in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

This Paper was presented by Aquatic Systems Officer Christina Day at a National Conference

 Christina Day 1, Ian A. Wright2, Amy St Lawrence1, Robert Setter1, Geoffrey Smith1

  1. Environment Branch, Blue Mountains City Council, Locked Bag 1005, Katoomba, NSW, 2780. [email protected]
  2. School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751. [email protected]

Key Points

  • The recently registered SharkTM Aquatic Herbicide (240g/L carfentrazone-ethyl) was used at Glenbrook Lagoon to treat an infestation of cabomba, one of the first applications of this scale in Australia.
  • Water quality and ecological effects were monitored to determine the impacts of the herbicide on a large natural water body.
  • One year later, monitoring programs show a return to healthy dissolved oxygen levels; a healthy population of native fish and turtles; and no evidence of cabomba or weed water lily.
  • This case study highlights the challenges involved with planning and implementing a large scale aquatic weed control program and the importance of understanding and careful consideration of the current physical, chemical and biological conditions of the individual water body being targeted.

Download the full Glenbrook Lagoon paper at:


Bifenthrin pesticide contamination: impacts and recovery at Jamison Creek, Wentworth Falls

BMCC Council’s Aquatic Systems Officer Amy St Lawrence presented this paper at National Conference.

Amy St Lawrence1, Ian A. Wright2, Robert B. McCormack3, Christina Day1, Geoffrey Smith1 and Brian Crane1

  1. Blue Mountains City Council, Locked Bag 1005, Katoomba, NSW 2780. Email: [email protected]
  2. School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751.Email: [email protected]
  3. Australian Aquatic Biological Pty Ltd, PO Box 3, Karuah, NSW 2324. Email: [email protected]

Key Points

  • Jamison Creek in the Blue Mountains was contaminated by a pesticide, Bifenthrin, in July 2012
  • The pesticide caused a mass crayfish kill and severe, adverse effects on aquatic macroinvertebrates
  • Eighteen months later, the macroinvertebrate community (including crayfish) has recovered well
  • The incident highlights the potential hazards of urban pesticide use and the risks associated with direct stormwater connections between urban areas and natural waterways.

Download the full Jamison Creek paper at:


The Depot’s New Arrivals

In the recent moving of the furniture around the depot we have disturbed the yearly nesting of our local Masked lapwing (Vanellus miles) they have a clutch of three eggs and are guarding their territory like their chicks are about to hatch. Staff meticulously and very slowly moved the stone block nest so as not to disturb the nesting birds.

Since we took this photo two little chicks have hatched from three eggs.


Photo courtesy of Sharon Huxley

Website News

 Your new is open for each group to have their own page. The idea behind this is that you can add your own information to these pages. For example you could upload a photo or two from your workday using your smart phone or put your plant list up from your site. Its your choice. The weeds website is in the process of being updated and there is an opportunity for volunteers to be involved. If you would like to be part of the process please contact Erin Hall at the Bushcare office.


Farewell, Kerry Brown

Kerry Brown was the wonderful coordinator of the Medlow Bath Bushcare group from the beginning in 2005 ’til this year. She passed away in June. Kerry was warm, kind, calm, generous, always positive, always looking to see how she could help others while making light of her own difficulties. She personified the Adam Lindsay Gordon lines:

life is mostly froth and bubble, two things stand like stone, kindness in another’s trouble, courage in your own.

Kerry is greatly missed, not only in Bushcare but in the larger community, to which she contributed in many ways.


by Jill Rattray