Blue Mountains Fauna Project

Come along and hear about the Blue Mountains Fauna Project at the Threatened Species Day (7th September) at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.

Anne is one of the speakers and will reveal the fantastic fauna results collected during the Blue Mountains fauna surveys and other data sent in by the public over the past year.

It’s all about the data! Over a year ago the Blue Mountains Fauna Project kicked off collecting fauna records from the community and other databases including ebird and the NSW Wildlife Atlas. The process of collecting records is ongoing so keep your records coming!  For a first “look” at the data we needed to pick a month and draw a line in the sand which we did in July. If you are interested in what the data shows and what we are doing with all the records there is a presentation at the Cultural Centre in Katoomba as part of Threatened Species Day activities at 10am on the 7th of September. Come along and have a look at the “first cut” report. We are happy to answer your questions.  Anne Carey, Applied Ecology

THREATENED SPECIES DAY – FREE EVENT
BLUE MOUNTAINS CULTURAL CENTRE
10AM – 2PM SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 7, 2019

The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre will host Threatened Species Day, a free community environment market and series of talks on Saturday 7 September. This will be an opportunity to learn from local environment and bush care groups about conservation efforts in the region. The day will also showcase this year’s Waste to Art Sculpture, a Powerful-Owl’s Nest, created by the community from discarded fabrics and plastics.

TALK PROGRAM 10am – 2pm
10am Anne Carey – Blue Mountains Fauna Project
11am Akos Lumnitzer – The Powerful Owl
12pm Break
1pm Dr Beth Mott – Powerful Owl Program, Birdlife Australia

There are limited numbers and we have reserved a number of seats.   To book please RSVP to the talk sessions by calling Blue Mountains Cultural Centre reception on 4780 5410 or emailing ccreception@bmcc.nsw.gov.au.   and mention “held Bushcare” spot.

Fauna Watch

Winter is not the time for hunkering down for Antechinus!

By Anne Carey

Winter is the season for the once-in-a-lifetime mating ritual of the Antechinus. Males die after a focussed and frenzied two week period of searching for mates and mating. Deceased males are sometimes found along walking trails so keep an eye out and try to identify any species you encounter. There are currently 11 recognised species of Antechinus of which three are encountered in the Blue Mountains. These are the Brown antechinus (Antechinus stuartii), Dusky Antechinus Antechinus mimetes mimetes [swainsonii], and Yellow-footed Antechinus (Antechinus flavipes). These species can be readily identified with a bit of experience and a good field guide so take some photos if you encounter any and ask Council for help with ID if required.

 Often called “Marsupial mice” these little hunters are actually in the same family as the Spotted-tailed Quoll, and like their larger cousin, are fierce predators hunting, usually at night but sometimes during the day, for insects, spiders, centipedes and sometimes small reptiles and frogs. Antechinus shelter in hollows, burrows and fallen logs during the day and good refugia is essential for their persistence in our reserves.

Waterways Festival – Wentworth Falls Lake

Sunday, 25 August @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (PUBLIC EVENT)

Blue Mountains City Council’s Healthy Waterways team invite the public to join them to learn about protecting the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, threatened Endangered Ecological Communities, species and local waterways in the Jamison Creek catchments.

There will be walks and talks with information stalls run by BMCC, Bushcare, schools, catchment group, BMCC Youth Council and various arts and crafts activities.

There will be a Rotary BBQ with vegetarian option and coffee cart on site. Located at Wentworth Falls Lake, western end of park, off Sinclair Crescent and ten minutes walk from Wentworth Falls shops and train station. No bookings needed.

Book now! https://waterwaysfestival2019.eventbrite.com.au

Sassafras Gully Remote Bushcare

Article by Steve Fleischmann

Another wonderful remote bushcare day in the lower mountains. Work in Sassafras Gully has been ongoing for several years in a relationship between Blue Mountains City Council and National Parks and Wildlife Services carried out on the border of Council and Parks land near where Wiggins Track meets Victory Track at Sassafras Creek.

A cool temperate rainforest in a gully bounded by drier woodland uphill, the area has Ginger Lily, Small and Large leaf Privet as well as large and mature Japanese Honeysuckle that have climbed up into the canopy. Invading from properties uphill and coming down the creek they threaten the understorey diversity of the mature Sassafras and Coachwood forest. Some of the honeysuckle were so tall they were only identifiable by their distinctive peeling bark and mottled skin because the leaves were too high in the canopy.

On the morning of 25 May three volunteers – Ian, John and Roland and myself braved fine weather (and traffic delaying truck accidents) to tool up and walk the 45 minutes into the work area. On remote days we carry a lot more gear in the form of emergency management communications gear, all the tools we will need, a larger than normal first aid kit, plenty of water, food for the day, warm clothing and, of course, morning tea in a protective container because, let’s face it, no one wants squashed cake.

Once at the work site we dropped our heavy packs, put on our tool belts then had a look around to determine who was going to work where to get maximum effect from our small team. Despite many years of high quality work, there are still patches of Ginger Lily, canopy height Privet and Japanese Honeysuckle as well lots of Privet seedlings that the team decided to focus on.

The larger Ginger Lilies were poisoned and the smaller seedlings removed to be composted while the honeysuckles and privets were also treated with herbicide. Over the course of the day we worked on an area approximately 500m2.

On the walk out we noticed several interesting things. A local spring outlet known as the leaf spring, where a groove had been carved underneath a spring seep point to allow a leaf to be placed into it so a water bottle could be filled.

The remote area bushcare days are fantastic events where we get to enjoy undertaking bushcare activities much deeper in the bush. Future events will be held in Popes Glen and Katoomba Creek in spring.

Streamwatch Report – where to from here!!

The Greater Sydney Landcare Network (GSLN) has taken responsibility for development and delivery of the Streamwatch programme from the Australian Museum as of July 1, 2019.

Background: Streamwatch is a citizen science water monitoring program that enables community groups to monitor the quality and health of local waterways. Established in 1990 this water monitoring program initiated by Sydney Water and the Sydney Catchment Authority originally had a focus on curriculum implementation in secondary schools, but quickly extended beyond schools into a citizen science program. To date over 1,100 Streamwatch groups have monitored water quality at over 1,060 sites, and have contributed almost 31,000 data sets to the online database. These groups have been spread across greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Illawarra and Southern Highlands regions.

Data collected by these groups helps inform the wider public, landowners, land managers, local councils, universities, research organisations, catchment and water management authorities on the health status of local waterways.

Where to from here?.. To move forward GSLN in consultation with 40 Streamwatch volunteers ran two workshops in June and July. The workshops sought feedback on ‘where to from here’, record participants concerns, ambitions for the programme and potential ways to improve it and fund it. With recommendations on the future of Streamwatch and summary of challenges the report makes for a valuable insight into the Streamwatch community.

Click here to view GSLN Streamwatch report with recommendations. https://greatersydneylandcare.org/stakeholder-workshop-feedback-report/

New Bushcare Group – Valley View Swamp, Blackheath

GORILLAS IN THE SWAMP (G.I.T.S.) are a dedicated group of Swamp-carers whom have been heroically spending their own time to fight back the weeds and take care of the invaluable and endangered ecological area that is Valley View Swamp in Blackheath.

There have been numerous Swampcare events at Valley View Swamp in the past which have made marked improvements in the health and condition of the site. Even with these accomplishments, we have recognised that the challenges facing us require a bolstered approach and a monthly meet-up in order to revamp the regeneration of the natural environment here.

WHY ARE SWAMPS SO IMPORTANT? – Blue Mountains Swamps are biologically diverse plant communities that occur nowhere else in the world. The swamps provide crucial habitat to a number of Threatened Species including the Blue Mountains Water Skink (Eulamprus leuraensis) and the Giant Dragonfly (Petalura gigantea). These swamps also play a vital role in maintaining the water flows in the area’s creeks, waterfalls and ground-water by capturing and storing rainwater and then slowly releasing it over time. Swamps act as filters, purifying water prior to its release into the natural environment downstream. Blue Mountains Swamps are coming under ever increasing pressure and are very susceptible due to the edge effects of urbanization and urban runoff.

PLANNED NEW MANAGEMENT STRATEGY – Big plans are in store for Valley View Swamp with a new management strategy nearing completion. The stormwater issues will be addressed with the construction of sandstone water-retention basins, sediment settling ponds, bio-filtration systems and rock lined channel. As well as being aesthetically pleasing, these storm-water control structures provide the benefits of improving water quality, reducing sedimentation in the swamp, rehydrating ground water and creating habitat. We are looking forward to observe and document the progress throughout the works of this project. Of course, we will continue to remove and control the invasive species on the site and encourage native revegetation too.

  • GORILLA IN THE SWAMPS (G.I.T.S.) – Valley View Swamp, Blackheath
  • When: 2nd Saturday of the month 9:00am -1:00pm
  • Where: Meeting on the corner of Valley View Rd and Hargraves St, Blackheath
  • What to bring: Please wear weather appropriate clothing which you don’t mind getting dirty, sturdy footwear and gumboots if it’s wet. A hat, sunscreen, plenty of water and something for morning tea. Tools and gloves are provided.
  • For more information contact the Swampcare Bushcare Officer – Ed Bayliss Hack on 4780 5623 or by ebaylisshack@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

Swampcare is a hands-on way our community can come together to protect our unique Blue Mountains Swamps.

New Bushcare Group – Woody Weed Wanders

With the success of the Holly Walk, the Woody Weed Wander and Woody Weed Workout Events, the Woody Weed Wander Bushcare Group was recently established.  This Group will operate similarly to other Bushcare Groups, but will “wander” to various sites, removing/treating stands of mature/semi-mature woody weeds of all species.  We will initially work in the Upper Mountains, with some sites already confirmed or on offer, but there may be the option to work in various parts of the Mountains in the future.

We will be meeting on the first Friday of the month from 9.00 am to 12.00 noon, including morning tea.  Our first work session will begin on Friday, 6 September at Blackheath

If you are interested to be involved or have any queries, please contact Karen Hising at khising@bmcc.nsw.gov.au or 4780 5623.

A Garguree Bushcare Experience !

Garguree Swampcare and Fairmont Resort crew working together.

Council always encourages community and corporate participation in our bushcare days. This June, in recognition of NAIDOC 2019, the Fairmont Resort & Spa’s General Manager, Scott O’Neile, team members and their families joined in the monthly Garguree Swampcare Group.  This group is collaboratively driven by Garguree Traditional owners and BMCC to regenerate The Gully, Katoomba. The Gully is a scared Aboriginal Place that holds both happy and sad memories for our local indigenous community.

Jane, Bushcare Officer for Garguree, rallied the 40 plus combined group with introductory words of encouragement and warm up exercises to get everyone in the mood for hand weeding Blue Periwinkle (Vinca major) along the swamp edge and mulching adjacent to Middle Swamp. Many hands certainly made great inroads reducing the Vinca.

The group was moved by the smoking ceremony and listening to Aunty Sharyn’s vision for the future, all whilst sharing wholesome Kingy Chai, refreshing Lemon Myrtle Tea and the scrumptious Lilly Pilly jam with damper. The Fairmont team found it a true honour to be present in the Gully with the Local Gully Traditional Owners, Aunty Sharyn and David King. A member of the team expressed it as “a truly priceless and spiritual cultural exchange”.

Science at the Local – Springwood

Science at the Local returns to Springwood Sports Club with free science talks being delivered by two locals on Sunday, July 28 from 2.30pm.

Professor Belinda Medlyn, who commutes to Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury Insitute for the Environment from her Lower Mountains home, will be giving a talk on “Tree mortality, drought and climate change”.

“Australian forests and woodlands are well-adapted to heat and drought,” said Professor Medlyn, “but just how much can they cope with? I’ll talk about the impact of more (and more extreme) extremes as the climate starts to change, and whether rising CO2 is a help or a hindrance.”

Also speaking will be Lower Mountains local Dr Patrick Smith, who now works at the Australian Museum, on the topic “Australia’s ancient giants: fossils from the red centre”.

To get involved, go to www.facebook.com/ScienceAtTheLocal.

Other 2019 events will be on September 15 and November 24 at Springwood Sports Club, and November 3 at Lithgow Workies, all from 2.30pm and all free.

The initiative is supported by Inspiring Australia and the NSW Government.