Category Archives: General

Bushcare Volunteers recognised at BMCC 2017 Senior Citizens Awards

It is never a surprise that so many of our Bushcare volunteers are stand-out community members, not only for their commitment to caring for the bush but also for caring about their community, and 2017 is no exception. Four of our long-term volunteers received Senior Citizens Awards this year.

PAUL VALE is a very dedicated volunteer. He is an active member of the following Bushcare groups:

  • Popes Glen Bushcare Group
  • Centenary Reserve Bushcare Group
  • Upper Kedumba Creek Bushcare Group
  • Garguree Swampcare.

In addition, he’s involved in Swampcare and participates in many Bushcare events and workshops, usually generously acting as photographer. He is also the current Convenor of the Blue Mountains Bushcare Network, represents the Network on  the Popes Glen Remediation Committee, is the Bushcare Officer for the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, the Conservation Officer of Blue Mountains Bird Observers, the Blue Mountains Bushcare Network Representative and a member of the Executive Committee of the Greater Sydney Landcare Network. And somewhere in all that, he finds time for ongoing care of Blackheath Memorial Park.

ROGER WALKER is a hardworking and dedicated volunteer with the Leura Cascades Bushcare Group.  He is also a long-standing and active member of the Leura Falls Creek Catchment Group.  Roger has also been the Secretary for the Leura Home Garden Club for about five years.  He has been volunteering in the gardens at Everglades since 2008.  At Everglades, he also volunteers  as a garden guide for tour groups and helps with front-of-house operations during festivals and events.

ERST CARMICHAEL is a very kind, generous and community-minded person, always willing to assist anyone where she can. She founded and was very involved with Friends of Lawson Action Group (FLAG) in the mid-nineties until approximately 2002 (a sub-group of CORE – Coalition of Residents for the Environment). Erst also helped establish the Association of Concerned Mid-Mountains Residents (ACMMR) and was very active in that organisation from approximately 2007 until just recently.

Erst founded the South Lawson Park Bushcare Group in 1995 and has been the convenor from that time. She has regularly participated in Streamwatch at South Lawson since 2005.

RAE DRUITT  was a founding member of the Wentworth Falls Lake Bushcare Group in 1988, and has been its Coordinator since its inception, ie 19 years. The WFLBG meets twice a month, on the second Tuesday for two hours in the afternoon, and on the fourth Saturday for three hours in the afternoon. She has been awarded a BMCC Bushcare Hard Yakka Award and was also a founder member of Sublime Point Bushcare Group back in 1996. She was a volunteer at the Native Plant Nurseries (one in Blackheath, 1995-2005, and one in Lawson, 1998-2005) of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, during which time the Society grossed over $270,000.

Rae was one of the first Volunteers at the Cultural Centre when it opened in November 2012, and still works there on Tuesday mornings at the Front Desk. Rae also put in several years of volunteering at the Zig Zag Railway looking after the gardens and building a bush track (with information about native plants) for visitors.

 

KPMG working together with Mt Wilson Bushcare Group

On Friday the 10th of March members of the KPMG IT section came along to give the Mt Wilson Bushcare group a helping hand to control the Ivy and Honeysuckle along the Mereweather Lane Firetrail, which connects to the start of the famous Wallangambe Canyon.

Alice, Susan and Jayne from Mt Wilson Bushcare Group were there as part of their March workday.  Libby Raines passed by to say hello, despite recovering from an operation.

The group showed great enthusiasm for the task, removing 18 bags of Honeysuckle and Ivy from the site, and given that the KPMG bunch hardly get out from in front of their computers, they were really keen to be in the bush on a rare bright sunny day for this season. They all  had a wonderful time connecting to nature and contributing to the good work that the Bushcare Group do.

Whilst working away we found a Greater Glider that had been predated on, probably by a Powerful Owl. It gave us a chance to have a close up look at the beautiful features of this animal, its dark fur on its back, snow white fur on its underside and its membranous gliding wings /skin.

We thank KPMG for their help and the Bushcare Group would gladly welcome them back when they are ready for your next team day.

 

 

Public Consultation Period for the Greater Sydney Regional Weed Strategy ends 8 March!

 

 Greater Sydney Regional Weed Strategy Explained

Greater Sydney Local Land Services (LLS) has created some you tube videos to help explain the new Regional Weed Strategy.

LLS is currently seeking feedback on the plan from 8 February to 8 March 2017.

The 2017 Bushcare Picnic

Our annual Thank You Bushcare picnic is on Saturday 29 April 2017 at

Megalong Valley Community Hall – Save the Date! 

This year we are combining the usual lunch-time bar-b-q picnic with a camp-out on Friday 28th April, a night-time fauna survey and early morning birdwatching so – stay posted for more information coming soon!

Lunch will be at noon with our annual awards presentations at 2:00pm.

More details coming soon!

 

Pollinator week in the Mountains – a Buzz of activity !

Bee Hotel workshop – Upper Kedumba Bushcare Group November 2016

Birriban Katoomba High School Landcare, Upper Kedumba Bushcare, Central Park Bushcare and Leura Public School Swampcare all participated in activities to promote and encourage pollinator awareness and habitat.

Upper Kedumba Bushcare group hosted a pollinater habitat (Bee Hotel ) making workshop. Three types of habitats for different bee species were constructed and installed in appropriate places around the site. A simple hanging Bamboo home , an elegant bee box with asorted materials and entry sizes to enhance habitat variey and a sturdy mud home with besser blocks for ground dweling bees, such as our favorite, the Blue Banded Bee.

Some participants also made smaller versions to take home. The group reports that those installed on site already have evidence of happy occupants – within the month !! David Rae installed his “Bee Hilton” which he constructed prior to the day, and reported that he advanced his knowledge of the subject through the workshop. “The production of the clay infill for the blocks was a very useful exercise I think. I have since played around with this at home using a mix of Builders Clay, sand & soil” he said.

The final product!

Philip Nelson spent many hours preparing for the day and having materials ready so the group could simply construct and has written out a comprehensive “how to” information sheet. His advice to those planning a similar event is to construct some hotels first to work out what is best done prior to the day and what are the most suitable tools and materials to use.”

Central Parks Jo Goozeff found a lovely simple way to construct 4 bee hotels out of a hard wood log , these were quickly inhabited by resin bees , cuckoo and mud wasps all fantastic pollinators.

Making the clay bee hotel at Upper Kedumba Karen Reid, Hugh Todd, Judy Smith.

The Birriban Landcare students spent 3 months planning, preparing and making 5 very beautiful bee hotels. The day of installation was marked with a ribbon cutting by a group of school dignitaries and the planting of bee friendly plants in the Birriban habitat garden. Cheekily promoted as “the biggest hotel opening The Blue mountains has seen” the installation warranted an article in the Blue Mountains Gazette.

Leura Public School Swampcare Group celebrated Pollinator week by constructing a mixed material bee hotel in the bushland behind the school. Four students re-used an old wooden Antechinus nesting box as the hotel’s foundations and filled it with lengths of bamboo, various widths of holly stems (previously cut from the site) with holes of various widths drilled into them, tree fern stalks and eucalyptus bark. The hotel was then mounted on a cut stump of dead holly, making further good use of the weeds on site.

Leura Public School Bee Hotel. photo by Stephanie Chew

Pollinator week participants were surprised to learn that not only do native bees exist, but we have so many species (over 1500) in Australia. Like most people, the only bee species they were previously aware of was the European Honeybee and while honey is most appreciated, the role played by other pollinators is critical to a well-functioning ecosystem and crop production.

 

The Gully Bushcare Groups’ get-together again in 2016

Another very successful Bushcare Groups’ Gully Get-together was held on November 6 last year. Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Bushcare Group was joined by Upper Kedumba Bushcare Group; Garguree Swampcare Group and Prince Henry Cliff Walk Bushcare Group who all came together to help  with a severe infestation of Ligustrum sinense (Small-leaf Privet).

The Privet patch before work

After the Privet Loppers were done!

The Get-together is intended to acknowledge and inspire the volunteers for their sustained efforts and highlight the importance of the Bushcare efforts in the catchment. Over 55 people participated (including staff and presenters) contributing a total of 165 hours weed control over an area of approximately 100m2. Many of those attending are new to Bushcare and the day offered a chance to learn new skills while making a valuable contribution to protecting the natural environment of The Gully.

The morning offered an opportunity for the Bushcare groups who regularly work in the Upper Kedumba Creek Catchment to come together to support each other, learn about the Aboriginal Cultural significance of The Gully and to connect with the community involved in caring for it.

Aunty Sharyn Halls welcomed us before we split into groups each aiming to complete a specific task – there were Privet loppers, Montbretia diggers, mobile hand weeders and tea dwellers.

After a solid work session, we reconvened for lunch and to hear talks from:

  • David King—Aboriginal Cultural significance of The Gully;
  • Ian Baird – Bushcare contributions over the past 25 years;
  • Ian Brown – Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii (Dwarf Mountain Pine) Saving Our Species surveys;
  • Eric Mahony – BMCC bush regeneration work plans;
  • Michael Alexander (Prince Henry Cliff Walk Bushcare); Phil Nelson & David Rae (Upper Kedumba) presented snapshot highlights of their groups’ activities.

At the end of the morning, those present left with an increased understanding of the threatened plant species Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii on Katoomba Falls, the importance of looking after The Gully. Motivation is high and we’re all invigorated to continue our Bushcare efforts throughout the catchment to protect the quality of the water flowing over the falls and into the Kedumba River. Thanks to everyone, and for the generous support of the Blue Mountains Food Co-op, Sandy Holmes and the NSW OEH Saving Our Species program for supporting the day.

Another pest to tackle : Arion ater, the European Black Slug

Arion ater, the European Black Slug. Photo by Peter Ardill

A single sample of this invasive European slug was recently found at the South Lawson Park Bushcare site, and the suspected identity was confirmed by Michael Shea at the Australian Museum. Unfortunately, it would seem that this slug is widespread in some, but not all parts of the upper Blue Mountains (and at selected sites in Victoria and SA) and may be spreading into the middle mountains area.

The adult form of this slug is deep black, with some minor individual variations (white, dark brown). It has no shell, and numerous tubercles, similar to raised mini spines, are clearly visible on its back. The slug is 10-15 cms long. According to the Australian Museum, there are no confusing native species. The black colour makes it quite distinctive. They have no known natural predators in Australia.

Collection and disposal by bushcare volunteers may be effective in slowing and perhaps stopping their spread into unaffected areas, and doing this can slow down their overall acclimatisation process. The impact of this slug on native fauna is unknown, so limiting their numbers and spread may minimise any adverse impacts whilst research into this aspect of the problem is being conducted and can be applied.

The mucus of this slug is particularly thick and unpleasant so the use of gloves is recommended. Please try to dispatch them in a humane manner, such as in a lidded container with a small amount of beer, or by freezing. Snail bait placed in the open can harm native wildlife.

Record your sightings at https://www.ala.org.au, the Atlas of Living Australia or via the on-line reporting tool on the Local Land Services Wildlife Sighting Portal at:  http://greatersydney.lls.nsw.gov.au/resource-hub/web-tools. You can also enter the portal directly which will bring up a map of the records to date.

Peter Ridgeway at Greater Sydney Local Land Services is aware of their presence in the Blue Mountains and hopes to engage in an education program with local nurseries. Museum Victoria at https://www.museumvictoria.com.au can also help with further information.

Thanks for considering this issue. Peter Ardill, South Lawson Park Bushcare.

Arion ater: the European Black Slug found at South Lawson Park. Photo by Peter Ardill

Submissions – Biosecurity Act Regulations close 29 January 2017

Calling all bushcarers – very important news. The Noxious Weeds Act is changing! The new Bioescurity Act 2015 is scheduled to come into force by next June. The Regulations will provide the detail of how the new act will work on the ground. This will determine what powers local authorities have to control weeds. The Regulations are now open for submissions until 29 January 2017.

This is the link for consultation on the new Biosecurity Act Regulations:  http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/content/biosecurity/biosecurity-act-2015

Please take some time to make a submission.

 

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 ekennedy@bmcc.nsw.gov.au, or

Complete a 2 minute survey on Council’s Have Your Say website:  http://bluemountainshaveyoursay.com.au/waterways-report-2016

Deadline for Winter Gecko

Your submissions to Gecko are always very welcome. The deadline for the Winter 2017 issue of Gecko is  April 3.

Please provide your 350 words maximum contributions using Calibri or Times New Roman font in unformatted word documents and photos (no larger than 2MB).

For more information contact Monica on 4780 5528 or email mnugent@bmcc.nsw.gov.au