Tag Archives: environmental restoration

Jamison Creek Catchment: Caring for Dwarf Mountain Pine

Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii Katoomba Falls photo courtesy Ian Brown

Protecting the Wentworth Falls population of the endangered Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii  from the very invasive Montbretia was the name of the game for our Jamison Creek Catchment Care Day this year. It was well received by some keen Bushcare volunteers, BMCC Bushland Operations Team (Bushcare Officers and Bush Regeneration Officers) and the NPWS Ranger for the Jamison Valley.

Having 2 extra Bush Regeneration team members involved for the first time meant we could divide into smaller groups and cover more of the creekline as well as share information about the management of the whole area while we worked.

One group met at Wentworth Falls Car Park, walked to the top of Wentworth Falls and then worked upstream (wading where necessary) to follow up woody weeds in the area worked last year.

The other groups met at the corner of Jamison and Fletcher streets, kitted up and after a short walk down to the creek, with some walking further down the Charles Darwin Track, started target ting Montbretia around the pools and cascades and all woody weeds and the along the track and creek banks. All three groups re-united for lunch and informative talks on the creek bank.

Montbretia is slow going so although the distance covered wasn’t huge, we removed lots of corms and enjoyed the beautiful weather and surroundings while we worked. There was lots of opportunity to discuss the creek condition, learn about the endangered Dwarf Mountain Pine (Pherosphaera fistzgeraldii).

Montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) corms

Montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) flowers

Another target weed in this catchment is Erica lusitanica (Spanish or Portugese heath, often referred to simply as “Erica”, a woody shrub which has a similar appearance to native tea trees so is often mistaken for a native. Both Montbretia and Erica have the potential to establish in the rocky crevices on the cliffline adjacent to the waterfalls – taking up the space where Dwarf Mountain Pine grows. Annual Catchment Care Days are a valuable contribution to the ongoing work of Council’s Bushland Operations Team, contractors and the volunteer Bushcare Groups. Charles Darwin, Jamieson St Landcare, Wentworth Falls Lake, Water Nymphs Dell and Valley of the Waters groups were all represented this year and together we not only dealt with Montbretia and Erica but as Tutsan, Japanese honeysuckle and Small-leaf Privet as well.

Jenny Hill from Council’s Healthy Waterways Team delivered a very informative talk about the issues affecting the water quality of the catchment and the work underway to improve stormwater management.

Good food, good company and good work resulted in a very enjoyable and productive morning – made possible through funding from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage “Saving Our Species” program. A huge thank you to SoS and the dedicated volunteers of Wentworth Falls!

 

Bushcare Boosters – The Birds and the Bees of Bushcare

Bushcare Volunteers! You are invited to a free workshop!

Presented by the very experienced, qualified Bushcare Boosters Trainer, Geoff Bakewell and hosted by BMCC Bushcare.

At this interactive Bushcare Boosters training  you will learn how to make your Bushcare site as fauna friendly  as possible. We will look at:

  • elements of habitat and fauna requirements
  • animal interactions
  • habitat management
  • site monitoring

The content is most suitable for volunteers who have some practical experience in the field and who wish to develop a better understanding of environmental restoration techniques. It is not aimed at volunteers who have obtained accredited training in environmental restoration, though all Blue Mountains Bushcare volunteers are welcome to attend.

Date: Sunday October 30

Time: 7:30 am – 12:30 pm We need to start early to check for animal tracks!

Brunch provided. Please advise of any special dietary requirements when you book a place.

Location: Faulconbridge SES Headquarters

7 Sir Henrys Parade, Faulconbridge and Jackson Park.

What you should bring:  hat, drinking water and notebook.  Wear comfortable clothing suitable for walking.

Bookings are essential and places are limited RSVP by Monday 24th October to Monica Nugent on 4780 5528 or mnugent@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

 

Jamison Creek Catchment Working Group

This newly formed catchment group are meeting to to explore the environmental issues impacting on the Jamison Creek ecosystems and to implement strategies to improve the overall catchment health. The group will be meeting monthly for the set up phase of the group. Meet in Blue Mountains Council Administration building foyer 2.50 pm for a 3pm start.

Contact Lachlan Garland to express your interest to come along.

 

Red-crowned Toadlet at Mt Riverview Bushcare

by Elizabeth Begg, Mt Riverview Bushcare Group

pseudophryne australis found in Mt Riverview

pseudophryne australis found in Mt Riverview (photo courtesy of E.Begg)

A couple of months ago, I moved a treated pine log that we had dragged up from our Mt Riverview Bushcare site behind our place (it had been dumped there some time ago) to re-use in a garden bed, and found a most intriguing small frog! Or so I thought. With a black body and bright orange red markings across the crown of its head and on its body, this 2cm frog was not like anything I had seen before. A quick google returned  the name of Red-crowned Toadlet. Monica quickly confirmed my thoughts. There were not many other candidates for the description small frog with black body and orange spots!

Monica’s excitement at the finding of this threatened species was infectious, and a bit more research helps us to understand why this creature is listed as vulnerable. It lives only in the Sydney basin on Hawkesbury Sandstone vegetation. This small toad needs to be near a freshwater creek – they mate in damp leaf litter, lay their eggs on the banks of the creek and are watched over by the male. The eggs hatch after heavy rainfall, when the young are well developed, and the tadpoles are washed into the creek. Such restricted habitat and specific life cycle requirements are the factors that, in a changing, disturbed environment under pressure from a rapidly changing environment threaten the viability of some of our native species.

On our next bushcare day, working in the creek bed in Magura Reserve, our youngest team member, Scott Wiezel, found some of the black taddies, already with legs, wriggling in a shallow, evaporating pond in the creek bed. He was on leech alert for us at the time. A very important job that day as we seemed to be working in a nest of them! (Though Scott’s mum, Lynn reports that she later discovered a leech in her belly button …)

The scientific name is Pseudophryne australis (Gray 1835), (Pseudo meaning similar to though not the real deal or ‘sham’; phryne meaning toad). The common name rendering of ‘toadlet’ sounds a little kinder! Our little Aussie wanna-be toad.

How did such a small creature get all the way from the creek to my back yard? Apparently they like to hide out under rocks and logs in the bush. I guess we carried it up when we brought up some of the dumped railway sleepers and treated pine logs to make our garden. Interesting isn’t it, the complexity of bush regeneration? The removal of dumped material possibly disturbed part of the habitat of this threatened species. For me it has been a gentle reminder of the care we need to have when working in the bush!

References and for more about frogs:

http://frogs.org.au/frogs/species/Pseudophryne/australis/

http://australianmuseum.net.au/red-crowned-toadlet

The Museum also has a fantastic free app to download:      http://australianmuseum.net.au/frogs-field-guide

http://bie.ala.org.au/species/Pseudophryne+australis

For an excellent though detailed fact sheet: http://fieldofmarseec.nsw.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/tsprofileRedcrownedToadlet.pdf

Pseudphryne australis

Pseudphryne australis (photo courtesy of E.Begg)