Blue Mountains Waterways Health Report 

Healthy Waterways

Waterways Health Report 2016

 In July this year, Council mailed a Blue Mountains Waterways Health Report to all ratepayers – showing the health status of 40 local waterways.

If you are a ratepayer, and received the report, we’d like to hear from you:

  • Did you read the report?
  • Was it interesting / informative? Why / why not?
  • Any other comments / suggestions?

Please help us make future editions of the report better!

Email your comments to [email protected], or

Complete a 2 minute survey on Council’s Have Your Say website:

Decades of Healing e-version now available!

Popes Glen Bushcare

Alan Lane explains the native regeneration at Popes Glen to BMCC Councillors

Alan Lane of Popes Glen Bushcare is pleased to tell you that the report on the long-term wetlands remediation project at Popes Glen, Blackheath is now available on the Popes Glen Bushcare Group’s web site.

Look for the Book Funnel link on

It is also available direct from Book Funnel:

You’ll see that you have three options depending on how you want to read the book: mobi for your Kindle, epub for your i-pad, smart phone, etc., or pdf if you prefer to read it on your computer.

Alan would love to have your feedback – on the content, writing, structure or ways we might make it more useful when we revise it at the end of the grant.

Deadline for next Gecko

Your submissions to Gecko are welcome. The deadline for the Autumn 2017 issue of Gecko is imminent!  I need articles, photos (no larger than 2MB) by December 9.

Please provide your 350 words maximum contributions using Calibri or Times New Roman font in unformatted word documents.

For more information contact Monica on 4780 5528 or email [email protected]

News from the Bushcare Team

Hello Blue Mountains Bushcarers! Spring and early Summer (Sprummer?) is upon us and has brought its usual frenzy of activity both of weeds and people doing something about them.

Most of you will know by now that a very long-term member of the Bushcare Team – Jill Rattray – has now officially retired. Jill’s horticultural expertise combined with her Natural Area Management knowledge were a valuable asset to our team and she is missed by her colleagues as well as her volunteers. Her quiet strength and steady head have helped steer many of our current groups from their inception, in particular many of our Landcare Groups. Jill also did great work educating retail nurseries in the mountains with the result that the majority no longer stock environmental weeds.  Jane Anderson is currently in Jill’s position until it is filled on a permanent basis.

I hope you have a very happy and safe festive season and look forward to seeing at Bushcare soon – Monica, for the Bushcare team.

Blue Mountains Bushcare Trad Band



Glen Parry

One of the traditions of the Annual Bushcare Picnic is the sounds of bush music drifting through the camp site.  The music at the picnic is provided by the Blue Mountains Bushcare Trad Band. The band comprises of bushcare volunteers and bushcare officers who join together for a once a year bushcare picnic gig!

Mike Purtell

Mike Purtell

Playing music together is a great way for volunteers from different groups to connect and the band welcomes any  bushcarer interested in joining in.  The band has an inclusive philosophy and can cater for players of diverse abilities and musical backgrounds.

The Band is named after the introduced weed, Tradescantia fluminensis, commonly known as ‘Trad’. Trad is an invasive weed, which many bushcare volunteers are very familiar with, but it is also the shortened form for ‘Traditional’ music. Traditional music forms the basis of the musical style played by the Trad Band.

Players interested in the Trad Band should be competent with their instrument. Their instrument will also need to be acoustic for safety and logistical reasons. Sheet music can be provided for both concert pitch and transposing instruments. Chord charts and sound files can be provided to those players who prefer to play by ear.

A new web page is under construction in the groups page in the ‘All Areas’ section. It is planned to upload links to the sheet music and audio files for those wanting to check out the music.

Although the Trad Band’s main role is to provide background music for the annual Blue Mountains Bushcare picnic it can also meet informally through the year to play … just for fun!

For further information contact:

Glen Parry

Email address [email protected]

Phone:  4754 3182


Three Gullies Creek Restoration Workshop


Eric Mahony briefs the crew

by Dan Marshall, Coordinator Three Gullies Landcare Group

Three Gullies Landcare (3GLC), as its name implies, consists of three gullies in an area of land bordered by the railway line and Bruce Rd Glenbrook, south of Eureka Rd to number 39 Bruce Rd. The three gullies are fed by watercourses from the east and ultimately deliver the water to Glenbrook Creek via culverts under the railway corridor.

The three gullies are the intermediary from the much higher eastern side residential dwellings, road and water drainage systems and in heavy rain carry significant water flows. Over time, this water flow has caused significant erosion, particularly in Gully One.

During my time with 3GLC, we have used traditional log retaining walls to help slow down the flow. The logs were sourced on site from fallen trees and from removal of weeds. These log walls are situated at various locations along the creek and are of varying heights and widths (depending on the logs available at the time). Although these log walls worked well, retaining silt during low water flows, they were no match for the rate of flow during periods of high rain fall and more importantly didn’t stop erosion of the creek beds.

I discussed this with Tracy Williams and Eric Mahony from Blue Mountains City Council’s Bushcare program for their input. As a result, the plan for an onsite practical workshop was proposed. Timing is everything in life and presently funding is available for assistance and the main material (flat sandstone rock) is cheaply available from expanded pits at the local Blaxland tip.

So on Thursday 9th June, 2016, after initial discussions and a briefing session, and with a workforce headed by Eric Mahony and contractors from “The Bush Doctor” under Shane Grundy, Tracy Williams, the 3GLC and neighbouring Landcare groups (Bush Place, Raymond Rd and Cox Reserve), the work began. Well, mainly the “Bush Doctor” group (about 9 fit young men!) did the heavy lifting of moving the sandstone from the roadside down the gully to appropriate locations along the creek.

Of course, the starting point was at the lowest spot in the gully at the Railway built culvert and then using a step of 300mm (ruler length) the first step was installed using a bed of Bidim (Geotextile fabric). The Bidim was laid and dug in along the leading (upstream) edge, and covered by flat rock at the spill over point and underneath the water fall. The sides were lined by sandstone pieces wedged into the side of the creek wall to reinforce the wall and to direct the water over the flat rock.

Other materials were used such as skinny coir logs held in place by wooden stakes to fill undercut sections of the creek. Existing native plants in the creek bed were protected by hessian mat with appropriate cut outs for the coming plantings. Ultimately further 300mm (ruler) steps continued up the creek until a flat stretch of the creek was reached where future planting of natives will further aid in slowing the flow.  Ultimately approximately half the creek was upgraded and plans were made for another day later this year. It is hoped this allows more plants to be laid and the new work to be settled in.

Lessons learnt:

  • Log retaining walls are fine provided the wall is lower in the centre, otherwise the water will flow around the outside creating more paths;
  • Drops should only be 300mm or less to prevent “boiling” causing undercutting;
  • The base of drops must be solid impermeable material;
  • Natural bends in the creek can be reinforced on the sides but its best to keep drop offs some distance away to minimise the rate of water flow entering the bends;
  • Deep pools can be used or encouraged as spots for aquatic creatures (platypus would be great but unlikely)
  • Silt gathered before walls needs to be monitored and removed where necessary.

Finally it was a pleasure to have a break from weeding for 3GLC and to meet the members of the nearby Landcare groups as well as to have the input from Eric Mahony and the Bush Doctor workforce. Of course the excellent morning tea supplied by Tracy Williams fully replenished us all so we could carry on working until knock off time.

The members of 3GLC look forward to the next instalment.


Researching the Ecology of the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo


A yellow-tailed black cockatoo in Sydney’s Centennial Park. Photo: Peter Rae

Is there anyone who doesn’t appreciate the sight of a flock of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos (YTBC) flying overhead ? It seems that very little is really known about them and you can help to change that and potentially influence planning for their conservation.

Jessica Rooke is an Advanced Science (Biological Sciences) student at the University of New South Wales. She is currently undertaking Honours in Ecology with the Centre for Ecosystem Science, supervised by Professor Richard Kingsford, Dr John Martin and Dr Kate Brandis.

Jessica’s project focuses on the well known Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo. However, not many people know that this iconic species has been largely understudied, and is in significant decline. The project’s objectives are to investigate the species habitat, foraging and breeding ecology, with an overall aim of creating a management plan to help conserve the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo.

In particular, it would be helpful for you to report any sightings of YTBC (regardless of location) using the online survey which can be found on the Centre for Ecosystem Science website: ( Further, if you know of any YTBC nesting sites in the Blue Mountains and wider areas that would be extremely useful to researchers investigating the breeding ecology.

If you have any further information, questions or queries, particularly regarding locations of breeding/nesting sites, please contact Jessica: [email protected]

Banksia Park Bushcare volunteers recently observed some Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos boring into Tea trees, apparently to extract wood-boring invertebrates. The group had intentionally planted Hakeas and Banksias to provide a food source for them so we were pleasantly surprised that the Tea trees planted alongside were also providing food for the iconic species! Jessica advises that literature suggests that Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos increase this behaviour during breeding time, and when juveniles are fledging (around June-July, although this is based on limited studies, and is said to change across their range). If your groups has any similar observation, please take the time to record them and upload the data to the easy to use survey. The more we can contribute to these Citizen Science type projects, the more chances we’ll have to help protect the habitat of the species being studied.

You can read some more about Jessica’s research at:


Minutes of August meeting

You can view the minutes of the Bushcare Network meeting held in August 2016 here:


The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday February 1 at the Mountains Community Resource Network meeting room, Lawson Library building, Lawson. All welcome, especially the co-ordinators of each Bushcare group. The main item on the agenda is the purpose and future direction of the Network. Please come and contribute to the development of your Bushcare Program!

Bushcare Picnic 2016


Bushcare Picnic 2016

Bushcare Picnic 2016: Catching up with old friends, presentations, childrens activities …

Sun Valley Reserve came alive on a sunny Saturday afternoon last July. The sounds of  chattering, picnicking bushcare volunteers and council staff together with folk music provided by The Blue Mountains Bushcare Trad band, The Fannigans and The Plough while a sizzling barbeque filled the air. Mayor Mark Greenhill and Councillors Hollywood, van der Kley, Fells, McGregor and von Schulenberg were on hand to express Council’s appreciation for the hard work of our Community Conservation volunteers and present the annual awards.

This year The Golden Trowel trophy for the BMCC Bushcare Legend of the Year went to Steve Barratt of Warrimoo.  Steve is a member of the Blue Mountains Bushcare Network, co-ordinates the Fitzgeralds Creek Catchment Group and Streamwatch as well as being active in the Warrimoo Citizens Association and the local RFS. Certainly a deserved winner of the Legend title! Unfortunately he was unable to attend so the trophy was presented by Mayor Mark Greenhill to Tony Montgomery on Steve’s behalf. fellow member of Cross St Warrimoo Bushcare Group and Long Angle Gully Landcare Group.

Landcare Legend of the Year is Lisa Scott-Smith who was recognised for her ongoing, long-term commitment to Leura Public School Swampcare. Lisa has ensured that the whole student body has learnt about and visited the Endangered Ecological Community on the school’s doorstep, written grant applications, introduced new parents to the group and routinely monitors the groundwater levels in the swamp as well as co-ordinating the regular monthly Swampcare group.

Nick Franklin was presented with a Masters Award for his commitment to Birriban Katoomba High School Landcare for Sport, Banksia Park and Katoomba Creek Bushcare. Neil McGlashan also won a Masters for his dedicated attention to Glenbrook Lagoon and the Friends of Glenbrook Bushcare Group. A Hard Yakka award went to Ray Richardson for his long term involvement with Wilson Park North Lawson (now the Homeschoolers Bushcare site) and also assisting us in the Bushcare office with events display material and developing the weeds website.

And our Junior Legend of the Year is Meri Tinkler, a very engaged and committed member of the Garguree Swampcare Group.

weed bag races, honeysuckle tossing – fun for young and the young at heart

 energy and enthusiasm wins the Montbretia on a trowel race.png

energy and enthusiasm wins the Montbretia on a trowel race!