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.

2019 Bushcare Picnic a huge hit!

The picnic this year was such a fun day from awards to pizza and soup, ‘Bushcare the Musical’ (staring the Bushcare Officers) to an informative snake show all while enjoying a beautiful winter’s day in the Megalong Valley.

Below are some highlights from the awards.

The Deanei accepting their certificate to celebrate 25 years of the group.
From left to right: Clr Hollywood, Rob, Mike & Glen.
Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Group accepting their 30 years award.
From left to right: Susan, Monica, Clr Hollywood & Lesley

The Masters Award

Elizabeth Mitchell accepting the Masters Award presented by the Mayor Clr Greenhill

The Masters Award recognises outstanding long term participation within the Bushcare Program. These are elders of our Bushcare community who have made a consistent long term contribution to their sites.  This year two people will be awarded for this role as they are very much a dynamic duo.

Our first recipient took one of the earlier courses in Bush Regeneration at TAFE in the early 1980s under the tutelage of Jill Dark, acknowledged by many, as holding legendary status in the Blue Mountains.

In 1992 when Council initially employed an officer to manage Bushcare this person was very much a driving force behind the newly formed Birdwood Gully bushcare group. She was also involved in the early development of many other bushcare groups around Springwood including Deanei Reserve, Else Mitchell and Fairy Dell as well as the Bushcare Network.  She is a keen local history buff, very active in the conservation movement, has encouraged many volunteers over the years and has been a vocal advocate for weed control and the environment in Springwood. Our first recipient for the Masters award is Elizabeth Mitchell

Our second recipient has also been actively involved in the Bushcare program and the Blue Mountains conservation network. A keen bird observer and bushwalker, they moved from Hobart up to Springwood in the mid 2000’s. Becoming very good friends with Elizabeth Mitchell, they have since become a very active member of Birdwood Gully Bushcare. Our second recipient for the Masters award is Liz Field

Both Liz Field and Elizabeth Mitchell have spent many, many hours on top of their regular Bushcare days working behind their property and doing a great job encouraging the neighbours to control weeds in their places along the back of Boland Avenue.


The Landcare Awards

Marianne Bate accepting the Landcare Award presented by the Mayor Clr Greenhill

The Landcare Award is for individuals who have made strong contribution to their Landcare Group.  Landcare is the same activity as Bushcare but on land not managed by Council – which can include private property, schools & Crown land.  A high proportion of our natural areas in the Blue Mountains are in this category, so the program is vital to our overall conservation goals.

This year’s Landcare Legend is the epitome of a good neighbour – hosting afternoon tea for new residents and assisting many local residents with weed identification and control, always ready to help with hands on work and bringing the community together to help anyone suffering ill-health or frailty.

She co-ordinates the monthly Bushcare group but her Bushcare commitment extends to assisting fellow residents to manage weeds on their own properties. She was central to establishing and ensuring the Bushcare / Landcare group since it started almost 10 years ago. She also bakes awesome cakes and attends remote Bushcare whenever she can!

Her generosity sharing her time and expertise was demonstrated particularly following the 2013 bushfires when there was a serious outbreak of Broom in St Georges Parade. She spent time with residents showing them how to deal with the Broom and working with them to control it. Her advice was well received and not only yielded good environmental results but strengthened community relationships at the same time.

Her capacity to do so much to support the local community continues to inspire and amaze the residents and community volunteers of Mount Victoria. Our recipient for the Landcare Award is Marianne Bates.

Hard Yakka Award

Michael Alexander accepting his Hard yakka Award from Mayor Clr Greenhill

The Hard Yakka Award acknowledges consistent support to a Bushcare Group. These people are hardworking volunteers who have added immense value to their groups and the natural areas in which they work.

This year’s Hard Yakka Award goes to a foundation member of Banksia Park Bushcare Group since it started in 2010 and Prince Henry Cliff Walk Bushcare group since 2010. He’s also very active in the Leura Park Bushcare Group and in the Gordon and Leura Falls Catchment Group. Always good-humoured, supportive, gentle, respectful and co-operative as well as hardworking and thorough – he’s an absolute bonus to all these groups. A lively advocate of Bushcare in the local area, he has hosted a stormwater workshop on his property, encouraging and supporting neighbours to implement weed management on their property.  We are proud to recognise Michael Alexander with this year’s Hard Yakka award.

The Bushcare Legend

The Bushcare Legend of the Year Award is the highest level of recognition we can give individuals within the Bushcare Program. It recognises sustained efforts over many years.  Legends are people who have provided leadership in the Bushcare program, as their contributions go beyond any particular group or site and extend to the broader Blue Mountains Bushcare community.
 

Our Bushcare Legend Award for 2019 is Lachlan Garland






He is known as being stubborn, passionate, and ever-present, with a keen eye for detail and prepared to stand strong for Bushcare and the environment in many different capacities whether it be on the ground, at the lectern, street stall or the computer.
 
This person has been a member of many Bushcare Groups throughout the Mountains, starting with co-ordination of Summerhayes Park Bushcare Group and extending to Valley Of The Waters, Braeside, Charles Darwin Walk, Central Park, Coates Park, Everglades and most recently Marmion Swamp.  They have also been involved in a range of Swampcare and Bushcare Events for a number of years, and been an active and committed member of the Bushcare Network for quite some time.  In recent years, he founded and is the Co-Ordinator of the Jamison Creek Catchment Group.  For the last few years, they have also been the volunteer photographer of the Bushcare Picnic!  Congratulations to our Bushcare Legend of the year – Lachlan Garland, the winner of the “Golden Trowel”.

‘Bushcare the Musical’

There was a new addition of the musical this year where the Bushcare Officers put on a historically ‘accurate’ depiction of the history of Bushcare. We all had a giggle and sang along to the songs. We had great feedback from the volunteers and had requests for next year

Snakes Display

Neville Burns snake presentation on the snakes of the Blue Mountains

Neville shared his knowledge on the snakes of the Blue Mountains when the afternoon tea was served. Bringing out one snake at a time to show us the features and explaining their habitat.

Jewel Making

Two Garguree voluteers with their jewels they made on the day

Spotlighting

Spotlighting in the evening in Megalong Valley

Streamwatch Feedback Workshop

Greater Sydney Landcare Network is holding a Streamwatch Feedback Workshop on Sunday 7 July 2.00 – 4.30pm at Sydney Olympic Park for Streamwatch volunteers and the broader community including Landcare and Bushcare volunteers. The registration process is online – see link below.

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/streamwatch-volunteers-feedback-workshop-2-tickets-63100674817