Scouts help out at Leura Falls Creek photo by Jenny Hill
The 27th May 2017 provided us with perfect weather for our annual get-together in the Leura Falls Creek Catchment. This year it was at Vale St and we were joined by students from Katoomba Primary School SQID Squad and children from the 1st Blackheath Scouts and Cubs. The children planted 434 plants along the creek line and Vale St. They were helped by Ed and Adrian from the Bush Doctors, Eric Mahony, scout leaders, Katoomba Primary teacher Sally Dare and parents. All up we had 42 volunteers come to the morning. Work also included removal of woody weeds , follow-up weeding and mulching.
The morning was organised by Council’s bushcare. Big thanks go to Karen Hising, Tracy Abbas and Eric Mahony and of course to everyone who came. At morning tea we had a presentation by the SQID Squad, and updates from the Leura Falls Creek Catchment Working Group and National Parks and Wildlife Service. We also had a small presentation to Frances Dutton who started the Vale St bushcare group and Lynne Carson who has worked with the Vale St and Cumberland Walkway groups for more than 10 years. Frances and Lynne are leaving the mountains and we wish them all the best.
The morning was highly enjoyable and productive. We can’t wait for next year’s get-together.
Little end note: If you didn’t know … SQID stands for Stormwater Quality Improvement Device and the Katoomba PS SQID Squad are an environmental group who are involved in a number of projects as part of their stewardship of the catchment.
Last year marked 20 years for this stalwart group of volunteers and they have successfully confronted just about every issue a Bushcare group can face – not just weeds but serious erosion and the ongoing impacts of urban development. To celebrate this achievement the film Blue Mountains Bushcare: South Lawson Park has been produced by Peter Ardill and Vera Hong. Directed by Vera Hong (Seconds Minutes Hours Productions) the film examines bushland values, the ongoing threats that urban bushland faces and how the bushcare group has managed these challenges. The film contains some beautifully filmed scenes of the Lawson Creek catchment and is available for viewing at https://vimeo.com/verahong/south-lawson-bushcare Thanks to Greater Sydney Local Land Services, the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and Blue Mountains City Council for project support and funding.
The South Lawson Group first started in mid-1995 with the then only Blue Mountains City Council Bushcare officer, Virginia Bear. Our aim was to regenerate and maintain the health of the upper catchment of Lawson Creek, which flows into Bedford Creek and the Nepean River.
The early years were spent mostly at the top of the Waratah St/Honour Ave section of the reserve (see map below) where Japanese honeysuckle, Privet, Montbretia, Blackberry and Broom were major invasive weeds. Some seed collecting, planting and track work were done, the latter with help from TAFE students under the guidance of a Bushcare Officer/TAFE teacher.
We expanded our weeding to the creekline and over the years to the surrounds of the BMX track and soccer field. In more recent times we have been extending the riparian buffer zone along the creek and swamp of the former golf course area by planting and allowing the bush to regenerate naturally. Some of us are also actively involved in Streamwatch and this process has been both informative and complementary for our Bushcare work.
Extending the buffer to the riparian corridor by planting with local natives.
The main vegetation communities along the creek are Eucalyptus woodland, Blue Mountains Swamp and a riparian strip of assorted native plant species, including rainforest species. The threatened species Persoonia acerosa and the endemic species Acacia ptychoclada are also present.
Our group is very committed and we are fortunate to have a few bush regeneration practitioners amongst us. Our website is also worth a look at: http://southlawsonpark.bushcarebluemountains.org.au It has some interesting photos and excellent educational material.
Queens Cascades, Jamison Creek viewed from the top of Wentworth Falls
Join with all the Bushcare Groups, Council staff and interested residents who are working to look after the Jamison Creek catchment, improve the water quality the creek which flows over Wentworth Falls and is the habitat the Threatened plant species, Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii.
¨ Work together in this beautiful creek removing Montbretia and a range of other woody weeds
¨ Help protect the catchment from invasive weeds while enjoying good company
¨ Morning tea and lunch all provided
¨ Tools and Training provided
¨ Talks on our Healthy Waterways project and the Jamison Creek catchment health by Geoffrey Smith and Eric Mahony
Registration is essential. Please RSVP to Monica Nugent firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 4780 5528 before Monday 6 March 2017 for more information about where to meet and what to expect.
Pherosphaera Katoomba Falls photo courtesy Ian Brown
Govetts Leap Blackheath – Weeds are just a waterfall away! Come along and stop the weeds going over the edge at Govetts Leap and enjoy a special morning tea with a spectacular view. Book with Vanessa on (02) 47873112 or email@example.com,gov.au by Friday 24th February.
A full day of weeding and bushwalking to continue the work in a rugged part of Katoomba Creek. Some bush regeneration and bushwalking experience is needed. This involves off track walking and creek wading. A joint NPWS – BMCC activity. Numbers limited. Lunch and morning tea provided. Book with Lyndal on 4780 5623 or firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday 24th Nov.
Fitzgeralds Catchment Group meet to discuss what is happening in the catchment, and where to in the future. Meeting is held at Warrimoo RFS Brigade station. To find out more contact Steve Barratt on 47 536 339 or Peter Chrismas on 4780 5623, or email email@example.com.
Pseudopanax crassifolius photo credit: Mike Hudson
One day, at bushcare with the Wentworth Falls Lake Bushcare Group, Ross Day called me over to identify a strange plant. It was like nothing we had seen before, five close vertical stems with enormous trifoliolate leaves springing directly from them on long petioles. Those leaves were dark green, only about 25 mm wide, but anything up to 400 mm long. And tough! They were also armed with vicious teeth along the margins.
It was identified by staff at the Herbarium in Sydney as the New Zealand Lancewood, Pseudopanax crassifolius, in the family Araliaceae. (It has a relative in SW Tasmania called Pseudopanax gunnii, and both are related to our Elderberry panax, Polyscias sambucifolia).
The intriguing ecology of this plant involves a straight upright trunk with largely inedible leaves. All this is designed to deter being eaten by the NZ Southern Giant Moa, a flightless bird 3 m high. Of course the Maoris killed the last one hundreds of years ago, but in evolutionary terms the tree hasn’t caught up yet! Even more amazing is that after 15-20 years, when the tree gets to about 5 m, well out of the range of the Giant Moa, it changes abruptly to produce broad succulent leaves in a short canopy, and then flowers more or less normally.
Don’t ask me how it got to Wentworth Falls! We surmise that it was a garden plant that was no longer required, dug up, and thrown in the bush to die. It didn’t, but put down roots in the damp leaf litter and survived. I suspect that it was lying down at the time, and that the present five trunks sprouted like epicormic regrowth from that trunk.
Swampcare is following up on previous work done at the headwaters of Yosemite Creek. A day for those who like to see a job finished rather than working on the big weeds. Lunch and morning tea donated by Hominy Bakery. Book with Lyndal 4780 5623. firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday 7th July
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