Farewell Roger Nethercote

Roger was one of the foundation members the Linksview Landcare Group. He had just completed 10 years of Landcare volunteering and was on long service leave from Penrith City Council before retiring in July this year.  Unfortunately,  he was struck down with a sudden, unexpected illness and passed away in February.  Within days, we had lost a man who was not only a valued member of our group, but a man whose talents and dedication will be missed by the Blue Mountains and Penrith communities.

Roger’s service to the people of the Blue Mountains and Penrith Councils over the past 35 years, has been recognized by both councils. Roger provided leadership in the area of city and environmental planning, as well as  dedicating time to Landcare and Springwood Athletics.

Recognition of his value to Springwood Athletics as, Team Manager and Equipment Manager, is indicated by a Life Membership and Volunteer of the Year award granted in 2010.  The club has now introduced  the Roger Nethercote Perpetual Trophy for  the most improved athlete for the year, in recognition of his many years of dedicated service.

Roger was a relaxed, easy going, cheerful member of our group whose natural modesty hid the extent of his abilities and achievements in both his volunteering and his career.  His love for the environment was obvious and his wide range of experience and interests made for very enjoyable conversations both during our bush regeneration and over our breaks for a cuppa.

Roger’s wife Jenny has continued to work with our Landcare group, while their children, Kristy and Andrew have continued with their new careers despite the ravages and disruption to their lives by the recent bushfire and loss of a very special husband and father.

Roger will be proud of them.

by Chris Gorman

Roger

How to Compost your weeds

None of your bushcare weeds need to go to landfill – they can all be composted, including seeds & tubers. The exception is corms (Montbretia and Watsonia) which we will cover soon.

This hot composting method will enable you to compost down all the weeds from your bushcare site in about three months to use on your veggie garden. It is a method that is best done in a   garden rather than bushcare sites because of the concentration of   nutrients which leach into the soil. Nothing needs to be purchased except maybe the steel mesh when you first set up.

Here are the steps:

  1. SELECT A LOCATION  choose somewhere that will benefit from the nutrients that will leach into the ground; eg under a fruit tree, upslope of your vegie garden, NOT near bushland or a creek. It is useful to have at least 2 going at once.
  2. CONSTRUCT A FRAME The minimum size of compost needed to generate sufficient heat is 1 cubic metre; ie 1 m x 1 m x 1 m high. The larger it is the better. Steel mesh with 50mm X 50 mm squares is an ideal material and comes in sheets of 2000 x 1200. Cut 2 sheets into 1/2s giving 4 panels of 1m X 1.2m. Then wire 3 sides together using tie wire, leaving the front one open for now. This will allow you to start filling the bin easily without straining your back.
  3. BASE LAYER Lay down a layer of sticks or loose material that will provide aeration.
  4. PROP A BARRIER IN FRONT OF THE BIN  about 500 mm high to keep the contents in place. This temporary low ‘front door’ will allow for ease of piling till it is about ½ full. Some props will be needed to hold it in place – bricks, rocks or full kitchen scraps buckets.
  5. BROWN LAYER – CARBON Add a layer of dried vegetation about 250mm thick.   This can be – dried weeds, and also shredded paper, dried leaves or wood shavings. To dry out weeds from site they will need to be stored off the ground and in containers/bags that don’t trap the moisture.
  6.  GREEN LAYER – NITROGENAdd a layer of green material about 150mm thick – fresh weeds and vegetable scraps. These will be the weeds mostly recently collected which are still green, such as weed grasses. Green kitchen waste needs to be stored carefully to ensure it doesn’t attract animals. Do not include meat or fats in this.
  7. ACCELERANT LAYER Add a layer of accelerant materials about 50mm thick – chook manure, grass clippings, comfrey, yarrow, urine, dolomite, seaweed.
  8.  WATER After each accelerant layer, add water in any of the following ways (or just water is also fine)Weed tea – made by soaking weeds in water for at least a few days, but longer is better; Comfrey tea – same as weed tea, except more potent, particularly if soaking for weeks; Seaweed mix;
  9. REPEAT steps 5, 6, 7 & 8 until the bin is about ½ – 2/3 full
  10. WIRE FRONT ‘DOOR’ ON When bin is about ½ full wire on the front panel and remove the temporary barrier
  11. ADD A LID Continue to repeat steps 5, 6, 7 & 8 until the bin is full – finish with the carbon layer. It is best to overfill it as the contents will pack down within a day or two.   It is useful to have something to stop the top layer from blowing away and to let the rain in. This is only needed for a short time. Old cotton clothes, coir mats, old carpet or shade cloth can work.
  12. WRAP IT UP Whilst your bin needs good air flow, it works best if the heat can also be retained. Shade cloth or sediment control fabric works well to cut down the cooling effect of breezes. Alternatively you may locate the bin where it is protected from winds by shrubs, a fence or some other semi-solid barrier.
  13.  HANG OUT THE WEED BAGS & CLEAN UP It is important to hang out the weed bags to dry for about a week, then store for reuse.   Allow time to clean out and dry kitchen scraps buckets. Next is you – you will be a bit smelly too! The bin may be a bit smelly for about a day but it soon goes.
  14.  USE COMPOST ON YOUR OWN GARDEN  You do not need to do anything more for about 3 months – no turning to aerate the bin etc.After about 3 months it should be ready, except there will be some materials at the edges that need to be put aside to go in the next bin. Take off the front panel, so it is easy to get at. You can then keep the bin in this location or move it – it is easy enough to move with the 3 panels connected. When you have collected enough material you can start again

 

 

 

 

 

 

Council launches 300K project to clean up Leura Falls Creek

Blue Mountains City Council, with funding from Council’s Environment Levy, is teaming up with the local community and the Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA) in a $300,000 project to clean up Leura Falls Creek.

Leura Falls Creek forms the headwaters of Leura Cascades, one of the Blue Mountains’ most well-loved locations. In recent years, this iconic waterway has suffered increasingly from the effects of urban stormwater runoff and pollution. The Leura Falls project aims to improve creek condition by constructing seven pollution-trapping stormwater treatment systems within the catchment, restoring degraded creek sections and running hands-on education workshops for local businesses and residents.

The Leura Falls Creek Catchment Working Group (LFCCWG), made up of five dedicated local Bushcare volunteer groups, will be actively involved, – assisting the Council and the SCA to run a comprehensive monitoring program to track changes in water quality.

Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill said, “Our City sits within a major drinking water catchment, servicing 3.7 million people, so healthy local waterways are critical to our water supply. They also underpin local recreation, tourism and biodiversity. Urban stormwater runoff is one of the biggest threats to our local waterways and our community consistently rates local water quality as a significant priority (in Council’s annual community     survey). Council is currently restoring over 130 creek and bushland sites such as Leura Falls Creek across the City, – work which is only made possible with funding raised through Council’s Environment Levy. We can all do our bit to protect local waterways from the damaging effects of urban stormwater by not sweeping or hosing leaves or sediment down drains, and using water sensitive urban design (such as rainwater tanks) on our properties,” said the Mayor.

The Council secured a $150,000 grant from the SCA for the project by matching the grant with a $150,000 contribution from Council’s Environment Levy. The Levy raises around $1.5 million annually from Council rates and funds projects to restore creeks, improve water quality, control noxious weeds and maintain  walking tracks and lookouts across the City.

The SCA grant is part of the NSW Government’s $1.9 million commitment to help councils in Sydney’s drinking water catchments improve sewage and stormwater infrastructure. The SCA’s Priority Pollutants Program is designed to reduce the amount of pollutants flowing to drinking water storages.

leuraFrom left to right: Cr Don Macgregor (BMCC), Susan Jalaluddin, Jenny Hill and Lynne Carson (LFCCWG), Kristy Good (Program Coordinator, SCA) and Geoffrey Smith (Natural Environment Program Leader, BMCC) at Leura Cascades.

 

Winter Edition of the Gecko

End of Winter greetings Blue Mountains Bushcarers! As always, its been an action-packed quarter with our 65 Bushcare groups doing lots of   weeding, planting and other bush-caring activities. Your dedication to our bushland never ceases to amaze and inspire the Bushcare Team (pictured below). We have been saddened by the deaths of 3 members of our   Bushcare community in recent times. I hope the tributes in this issue will evoke fond memories to those who knew them.

As well as doing our best to make sure Bushcare goes on at your site every month, we’ve been working on ensuring the visibility of Bushcare in the electronic world: The weeds website is at an exciting stage – the existing information is being moved to a new server, meaning it will be possible to include more weed profiles and information. If you would like to volunteer to assist with this process please contact Erin on 4780 5320, and for an update on the new Bushcare website. (bushcarebluemountains.org.au), see inside.

The BMCC Bushcare team pictured at our annual planning meeting on 31 August.

Monica Nugent

Acting Team Leader

Team meeting IMG_1183

Turtle Boom Means Good News for Glenbrook Lagoon

Turtles, fish and other aquatic life is thriving at Glenbrook Lagoon, – once the most polluted waterway in the Blue Mountains, – thanks to a successful seven-year restoration program involving the local community and funded by Council’s Environment Levy.

Eastern_Long_Necked_Turlte_2

Recent surveys of the lagoon, conducted by Council, have revealed healthy populations of Eastern long-necked turtles, Flat-headed gudgeon, Australian smelt, eels and catfish. Pollution-sensitive water insects that have not been seen in the lagoon for many years are also on the rise, – which means water quality is improving.

Eastern_Long_Necked_Turtle_1

Above the water line, local residents have reported that the lagoon is looking more ‘alive and inviting’ as the environment recovers.

Less than a decade ago, Glenbrook Lagoon was in poor shape, acting as a sink for stormwater runoff from surrounding neighbourhoods. High levels of water pollution led to an explosion of two aquatic weeds – Cabomba and Salvinia – which were literally choking the lagoon to death.

BEFORE_Glenbrook_Lagoon

Cabomba and Salvinia are Weeds of National Significance, – members of Australia’s ‘most wanted’ list of invasive, destructive weeds. Cabomba, – an aquarium escapee, – is particularly virulent, and posed a potentially serious threat to Sydney’s nearby water supply, as well as waterway health, fisheries, recreation and tourism downstream.

Since the mid 1990’s, Council has been working on a long-term project to bring Glenbrook Lagoon back to life; installing systems to reduce stormwater pollution, combatting noxious weeds in and around the lagoon, replanting native species, supporting local Bushcare and Clean Up Australia efforts, and raising community awareness.

In a national first for such a large natural water body, the Council has cleared 99.9% of Cabomba and Salvinia. Water quality is improving, bushland habitats around the lagoon are steadily recovering and less pollution is flowing into the lagoon. The Council is also continuing to monitor the lagoon’s status.

To fund Cabomba control, the Council secured a $280,000 Caring for Our Country grant from the Federal Government, with $200,000 in matching funds  provided by Council’s  Environment Levy. The Council’s Environment Levy raises around $1.5 million annually from Council rates and funds projects to restore local creeks, improve water quality, control noxious weeds, protect endangered species and improve walking tracks across the City.

AFTER_Glenbrook_Lagoon

Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said, “With its peaceful setting, open spaces and birdlife, Glenbrook Lagoon is a true local gem of the lower Blue Mountains. It’s exciting for both the local community and the environment that this little oasis is returning to life.”

“Glenbrook Lagoon is just one of 50 waterway sites regularly tested for water quality and one of 130 bushland sites currently being rehabilitated by Council; work which is made possible through Council’s Environment Levy.”

The Council will continue to track the lagoon’s water quality through its aquatic monitoring program, which provides scientific information on the health of local waterways and guides Council’s management of these areas. See the results of the Council’s water quality monitoring program at: www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/sustainableliving/environmentalinformation/livingcatchments

 

Waterbug Watch is happening in the Gully

WaterBug Watch is a citizen science project developed by the Australia Museums Streamwatch team to discover what freshwater invertebrates live in your area.

The Sydney region has been modified by urbanisation and human activities. This has resulted in a loss of ecosystem integrity and consequently degraded water quality in aquatic environments. The impact on these aquatic environments has affected the abundance and diversity freshwater invertebrates across Sydney.

The project aims to apprentice students and the community into scientific techniques and research.

The project involves sampling your local freshwater creek or waterway between Saturday 6 – Sunday 21 September 2014. The gully will be doing the sampling on the 7th September at the workday.

Waterbug watch is open to community organisations and school

For questions or enquiries, please email the Streamwatch team on [email protected] or follow us on Twitter@StreamwatchNSW

Creating bird-friendly gardens in bush fire prone areas fact sheet

The Nature Conservation Council, in conjunction with Birds in Backyards, has put together a fact sheet that explains how people can design their gardens to mitigate risk from bushfire, whilst also providing important habitat for birds (and other wildlife). http://www.nature.org.au/media/1794/bird-friendly-garden-factsheet.pdf

 

 

Community Conservation Program Review Update

The draft Community Conservation Program (CCP) Plan was approved for public exhibition at the Council meeting of 24 June.

The draft plan will be on public exhibition for 8 weeks from Friday 11 July to Monday 8 September 2014 (Stage Three of the consultation process).

This document will guide Council’s future support and governance of the Bushcare, Landcare, Streamwatch, Trackcare and Bush Backyards volunteer conservation programs.

Thank you to all who participated in the survey, focus groups and online discussion which comprised Stages One & Two. Your feedback and suggestions have been incorporated into the draft Plan.

PUBLIC EXIHIBITION

The public exhibition period will be your final opportunity to contribute to the Plan. Notification of the exhibition period will be provided in the Blue Mountains Gazette and on Blue Mountains Have Your Say under Community Conservation Program (right hand side of screen, in Current Consultations /more) (http://bluemountainshaveyoursay.com.au) Copies of the plan will be available on Council’s website and on Blue Mountains Have Your Say. Hard copies will also available at Council offices at Springwood and Katoomba and all branch libraries.

MAKE A SUBMISSION

You can make a submission by:

  • Using the online submission form at http://bluemountainshaveyoursay.com.au or
  • Post a written submission to Blue Mountains City Council, Locked Bag 1005, Katoomba, NSW 2780 or
  • Hand deliver a written submission to either of Council’s Administrative Offices at Katoomba or Springwood (note Springwood Office will be closed from 4 August to 8 September 2014 due to construction activity)

Make sure written submissions are clearly marked Draft Community Conservation Program Plan, File Reference F07974.

Council will send an acknowledgement of receipt of each submission received either by letter or email, according to the manner of the submission.

What happens next ?

After the public exhibition period of the draft Community Conservation Program Plan, all comments and submissions will be considered in the preparation of a final Community Conservation Program Plan which is anticipated to be submitted to the Council for approval in November 2014.

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