The first of the three Bushcare Boosters training sessions was at South Lawson Bushcare Site. Twelve people attended and it was a mix of presentation inside and a site visit.
The idea of these workshops is to give a big picture of planning and assessing your sites. The next workshop will be held at on Sunday the 5th of June and we will be looking at Fauna considerations on your site. Stay tuned to the events page to find out more.
The key take home from this session is;
Everyone who is at Bushcare every month has something to contribute to the planning sessions and work plans for your Bushcare Group. Every group has a work plan ask your Bushcare Officer to talk you through yours.
Mountain Brushtail at Mt Irvine photo by Peter Smith
Renowned local ecologists Judy and Peter Smith are inviting you to attend an evening workshop on the arboreal mammals of the Blue Mountains Local Government Area.
Come along if you would like to learn more about the night life of the Blue Mountains – what gliders, possums, quolls and koalas are out and about at night, how to identify them, listen to their calls, find out where they live, and how to find them.
Judy and Peter will also present results of a recent study they have undertaken, thanks to a 25th Anniversary Landcare Grant, investigating how these arboreal mammals are faring in the Blue Mountains.
When: 7:00 – 9:00 pm Thursday 16 June 2016.
Where: Santa Maria Centre Hall, Lawson (253 Great Western Highway, Lawson, between Somers St and Kitchener Road, next door to Our Lady of the Nativity Church).
by Ian Baird Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Bushcare Group & Remote Bushcare
Over a number of years, I have walked the Victory Track along Saffasfras Creek from Faulconbridge to Springwood, exploring various tributaries and their associated gallery rainforests. On one occasion I was surprised to find, growing next to the track in the rainforest, a sparsely branched, medium-sized shrub with very large leaves, and observed that it looked a bit like a hydrangea. However, I had a feeling it was the native hydrangea and that I had seen a photo of it in Fairley and Moore (2000). I looked it up later, and confirmed that it was the native hydrangea, Abrophyllum ornans, a member of the Roussaceae family (F.Muell.) Hook.f. ex Benth. More recently, on two occasions, I have found individual plants near the track in the rainforest in different locations.
Native Hydrangea photo courtesy of Lyndal Sullivan
The most recent sighting was of a plant (photographed) regrowing from the base after having been sawn off near ground level by someone. It occurred to me that this may have been a case of a well-intentioned, but misguided attempt at weed control by a bush regenerator or bushcarer, as the plant does stand out as something unusual. This is thus a salutary warning that the native flora contains many plants that do not necessarily fit the mould, in terms of many people’s perceptions of what ‘typical’ native plants look like, and the need for bushcarers to exercise caution. If in doubt, when deciding whether a plant is a weed. It is best to ask someone with appropriate ID skills before taking action.
The native hydrangea is the only species in the genus (monotypic). The species has previously been included within the Saxifragaceae, and more recently, the Escalloniaceae (with possumwood, Quintinia sieberi). Shrubs or small trees to 8 m high. Flowering October–December. Its habitat is warm-temperate and subtropical rainforest, especially along smaller watercourses or in gullies on poorer soils. The natural range of distribution is from the Illawarra of NSW (north of the Shoalhaven River) to the McIlwraith Range in far north eastern Australia. NSW subdivisions: NC, CC, SC. For the plant description see Plantnet: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Abrophyllum~ornans
Black Faced Monarch with Chick in Nest photo by Carol Proberts
A glorious morning greeted twelve Mt Wilson Bushcare volunteers, Carol Probets and myself on 12th February this year. Libby Raines, Mt Wilson Bushcare Group’s community co-ordinator and former Bushcare Legend of the Year, had invited Bushcarers from past and present to attend and take pleasure in the place they’ve been looking after for many years. We were all delighted at the sun streaming through the gorgeous Mount Wilson panoramas.
As we walked through The Cathedral of Ferns we heard a lot of peeping from LBJs (little brown jobs) and saw some Fairy wrens and very chubby yellow breasted robins … but we were really out to see the elusive nesting Black Faced Monarch that Carol had spotted on a walk two weeks earlier. She was expecting the chicks to have hatched.
And we were in luck, with patience … We saw the chicks bobbing up and down – no regrets about the 7:00am start now! But, although we heard the parents calling, they remained in the upper canopy until we left.
Black Faced Monarch chick in nest, Mt Wilson. Photo by Carol Proberts
Thankfully, after we shared a very yummy morning tea, Carol went back and took the most beautiful photos, which she is generously allowing us to share with all you lovely Bushcarers! So please enjoy them here and again a huge thanks to Carol and to Libby for a super morning.
Black Faced Monarch Mt Wilson. Photo by Carol Proberts
By Steve Barratt Cross St Warrimoo Bushcare & Streamwatch
Flushable wipes are fast becoming a major problem for our sewers and treatment plants. These products do not disintegrate when they are flushed down the sewer. The only product that does not remain intact and clog up the system is toilet paper. Regardless of manufacturer’s claims, wipes, tissues or any product other than toilet paper should not be flushed into our sewers. A better option is to avoid the use of wipes and put tissues in the garbage bin.
Flushing inorganic matter such as plastic down the sewer creates problems as it does not break down and will enter local creeks to threaten the ecosystem. This is a particular problem with plastic beads found in some cleansing scrubs as they cannot be separated from the rest of the effluent. We can help to solve this problem by avoiding the use of these products or only buying those products containing organic abrasive materials.
If excessive stormwater enters the sewer pipes, waste water will invariably flow through the plant before the treatment process is complete. It is far easier to prevent entry of stormwater into the sewer system than to try to control the impact once it reaches the treatment plant. Everyone should ensure that their downpipes are connected to the stormwater system, not the sewer.
Disposing of excessive organic matter down the drains is a poor practice as it can overload the system and delay the proper decomposition of the waste. Oils, fats and other food scraps should be either composted or wrapped and placed in the garbage bin.
Disinfectant, bleach, etc. not only kill pathogens but also valuable bacteria required for the treatment process. Washing products should be phosphorus free, produce minimal suds and used sparingly. Phosphorus is difficult to remove from the effluent and if not removed, can result in algal blooms in receiving waters. Suds can carry untreated organic material through the treatment plant. The use of excessive amounts of washing product achieves little additional benefit so if the washing water feels slippery, there is no need to add any more product.
We should not use the sewerage system as a dumping ground for all our waste products. By adopting better practices we can contribute to a cost effective waste water treatment system that produces an effluent that is safe to dispose of to the environment.
Wipes that had blocked a domestic drain. Photo courtesy of Sydney Water
Wipes that overflowed into a creek from a drain they’d blocked. Photo courtesy of Sydney Water
Its a pleasure to present another delightful issue of Gecko. A successful catchment day, birds, mammals, bio-control agents promising hope that weeds will be controlled with integrated management and natives not to be confused with weeds. What more can a Bushcare volunteer ask for?
Recently, Blue Mountains City Council signed the Gundungurra Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) between the Gundungurra people and other land managers. Signatories include: Gundungurra Tribal Council, Gundungurra Heritage Association, the State of NSW (The Crown), NSW Office of Environment & Heritage, Sydney Catchment Authority, NSW Forestry Commission and Blue Mountains City Council.
Although we always acknowledge Country and the Traditional Owners at events and when introducing new volunteers to our program, this very significant moment reminded me that it a written acknowledgement from Bushcare is appropriate. So, I’m glad to say that:
The Bushcare Team acknowledges that our Bushcare activities are held on Aboriginal land and on the traditional lands of the Darug and Gundungurra peoples. Blue Mountains City Council recognises the strength, capacity and resilience of past and present Aboriginal people in this region.
We look forward to continuing to care for Country together.
On Saturday 27 February members of bushcare groups in the Leura Falls Creek Catchment and the Leura Falls Creek Catchment Working Group, came together for a weeding morning at Kingsford Smith Park. Since 2007 the group’s yearly get-together has taken place at the iconic Leura Cascades. This year, in order to tackle the source weeds in the upper part of the catchment, the groups decided to focus on Kingsford Smith Park.
The park has both historical and horticultural values and is significant to the Leura Falls Creek Catchment. It contains many noxious and environmental weeds. They are a problem not just as a source of propagating material – water, wind and bird borne – but also because weeds are a major component of the vegetation that block views into the Park. A number of formed drains enter into the Park and ground water seeps in. The groundwater has a high impact on the creek and catchment because it picks up water from the Great Western Highway, the rail corridor and Katoomba township. A creekline forms within the park, and drains through private property before entering the Vale Street wetlands and joining Leura Creek. Leura Creek flows through Leura Park and into the Leura Cascades and the National Park. There is a significant stand of Mountain Ash – Eucalyptus oreades – within the park. This stand occurs in the triangle of land between William, Gang Gang and Lovell Streets.
The work on the day focused on removing the privet hedge along Gang Gang St, weeding in the ‘oreades patch’, removing ivy from Tree Ferns, removing trad and spot weeding for noxious and environmental weeds. Team privet could probably get a Guinness Book of Records achievement for their work along Gang Gang St– the most privet removed in the shortest period of time!!
The get-together also provided an opportunity for a strong working relationship between Blue Mountains City Council’s Urban Weeds, Bushcare and Parks teams and the community bushcare groups. For all your work in the Park, many thanks go to David Whiteman and team, David Pinchers and Mark Vickers and team. To Karen Hising, Tracey Williams and Erin Hall, many thanks for the organisation of and support on the day and many thanks to the 17 bushcare volunteers for your amazing weed blitzing work. We all agreed that it was inspiring to start making a difference in this part of our precious catchment.
If you would like to find out more about Leura Falls Creek Catchment and the work that we are doing please contact Jenny Hill at [email protected]
With the help of the community Hollows as Homes aims to assess the availability of tree hollows and their use by wildlife across the Sydney region. The Hollows as Homes team wants you to report tree hollow(s) in your backyard, street, park and/or paddock through www.hollowsashomes.com. A description of the information to record is available on the website.
Galah at nest in tree hollow. Photo: J Turbill
The information you provide will inform Councils’ management plans. In NSW, hollow-dependent species include at least 46 mammals, 81 birds, 31 reptiles and 16 frogs. Of these, 40 species are listed as threatened with extinction. An aim of Hollows as Homes is to collect data to inform Councils decision-making process when installing supplementary hollows to support biodiversity. Hollows as Homes therefore welcomes reports of nest boxes and cut-in hollows in addition to natural tree hollows