How are you and your Bushcare groups going over the COVID-19 period? Send any interesting articles or photos to email@example.com.
Popes Glen Bushcare volunteer, Alan Lane acknowledges how all Bushcare Officers and Bushcare groups are working hard to stay safe and complying with the COVID-19 restrictions. However, Alan noted their Popes Glen Bushcare group “are finding the most difficult time to comply is morning tea, as I’m sure all groups are finding – it’s normally such a social and sociable time!”
Here’s a photo of the Popes Glen Bushcare Group complying with social distancing at morning tea at our July work day. (Liz and Gary in the background are allowed to stand that close together – they are married!).
BMCC, Sydney Trains and John Holland engineering contractors have worked with the community on a major restoration project. The project focussed on revegetation and restoration of Fairy Bower Reserve, Mount Victoria, and was funded by Sydney Trains as a Biodiversity Offset during the Mount Victoria Area Remodelling (MVAR) Project.
The primary goal was to increase biodiversity and habitat values at the site through planting of native species, improved access to the reserve and vehicle management, improvements to site drainage and tree and shrub weed control.
Central to this project was the involvement of the Fairy Bower Bushcare Group, who planted over 200 plants in the reserve to protect, restore and enhance the environment.
MVAR Project Manager, David Hugo said, “The Biodiversity Offset Scheme is a great initiative and in this case, the MVAR Project is proud that we are able to leave behind a small legacy for the people and visitors to Fairy Bower, Mount Victoria to enjoy after we have gone”.
Sydney Trains’ effort was appreciated by Council’s Bushcare Team Leader, Sandy Benson. “We again would like to extend our thanks for your support and willingness to collaborate with Council and our local community to provide for such a high-quality outcome,” she said.
Saving our Species are asking land managers to report any sightings of this rare species from private property.
One of Australia’s rarest butterfly species, the Purple Copper Butterfly, is only found in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales. Its habitat is restricted to elevations above 900 metres.
The purple copper butterfly feeds only on a subspecies of blackthorn (Bursaria spinosa subspecies lasiophylla). It relies on a ‘mutualistic’ relationship with the ant Anonychomyrma itinerans, and the presence of blackthorn.
Community involvement is one of the key priorities in the purple copper butterfly conservation effort. Land managers of the butterfly’s habitat are being asked to help protect the butterfly through the upkeep of Bursaria often found in open eucalypt woodland on private property.
Saving our Species are also asking land managers to report any sightings of this species from private property. Reporting sightings will help to fill significant information gaps in the areas of population dynamics, habitat requirements, fire ecology and the nature of the relationship with the attendant ant. Learning more about this threatened species will help inform its recovery effort.
The purple copper butterfly is a small butterfly with a wingspan of about 2 centimetres. It can be identified by its collage of colours – bronze, green, blue, deep brown and of course purple undertones.
Butterflies are not only a beautiful insect but play several roles in the environment. They act as a pollinator; as a food source for other species; and are an important indicator of a healthy ecosystem.
This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Greater Blue Mountains region being granted World Heritage status by the United Nations.
Blue Mountains City Council will mark this important milestone by celebrating the unique privilege of managing a City within a World Heritage Area.
From July to December 2020, Council will showcase how we help preserve an area of such special significance, including recognition of Traditional Ownership, protection of the environment and threatened species, water resource management and strategic planning.
Blue Mountains waterways are some of the most beautiful, iconic and highly valued in Australia. They sustain a unique diversity of animals and plants, hold great cultural significance to Traditional Owners, and provide huge opportunities for recreation and eco-tourism.
Our waterways also supply drinking water to over five million people, including residents of the Blue Mountains local government area.
PRIORITY WEEDS in the City of Blue Mountains, are plants that have the potential to pose a biosecurity risk to human health, the economy, the livability of our city and the environment. In NSW, the administration of priority weed control is a State Government responsibility under the Biosecurity Act 2015. The Act is implemented and enforced by the Local Control Authority (LCA) – Blue Mountains City Council
The revised version provides some great improvements including images of all species targeted by Council on private lands for identification. This includes an easy to use colour-coded guide showing the various control measure/s for each State, Regional and Local Priority weed, which coincides with the herbicide guide at the back of the booklet. There is also an easy to read flowchart of Council’s inspection process for you to better understand how it works. A truly valuable resource for the backyard gardener treating an odd weed here or there, volunteers working on their Bushcare sites or to the professional bush regenerator contractor alike.
iNaturalist Australia is excited to say they hit 1 million observations in mid-April only six months after its launch. A grand effort thanks to all the keen Australian citizen scientists for uploading observations and the expert identifiers for verifying sightings.
iNaturalist Australia is proving to be a popular platform for insect and plant observations. From the recent City Nature Challenge results we can see that 28% of observations were insects and 42% plants.
The global iNaturalist network is one of the most successful citizen science platforms in the world, with instances in 10 different countries. The iNaturalist Australia community is very active with over 18,000 observers and over 8,000 identifiers
New look for iNaturalist Australia
The global iNaturalist brand has recently had a refresh and iNaturalist Australia has joined in too. The iNaturalist Australia logo now looks like this – so keep an eye out for bright green bird!
iNaturalist and the ALA
Collaborating with iNaturalist is a wonderful opportunity for the Atlas of Living Australia and our users. It provides an easy-to-use desktop and mobile platform, support for species identification, and tools for assessing data quality. All iNaturalist Australia data is regularly fed into the ALA.
Human observation data – individual sightings of species – are a valuable part of the ALA. This data helps to create a more detailed picture of our national biodiversity, and assists scientists and decision makers to deliver better outcomes for the environment and our species. iNaturalist Australia’s species identification features and data quality measures ensure individual sightings are more valuable than ever.
People-powered science will play a role in Australia’s bushfire recovery, with more than 20 projects underway involving citizen scientists of all ages.
Projects on the website include:
Australian Museum project Wildlife Spotter enables users to identify animals in photos taken by camera traps around Australia, assisting researchers in monitoring the effects of bushfires on Australian fauna.
South Australia’s Department for Environment and Water are using camera traps to monitor the flora and fauna recovery on Kangaroo Island.
There are several projects which people can contribute their sightings of plants and wildlife returning to fire affected areas.
Some projects also collect information about the intensity of fire impacts, observed fire behaviour, effects on water quality running off of fire grounds, and impacts of the smoke on people’s health.
The Project Finder also features a geographic filter enabling users to identify available projects in their area. It can be accessed at www.csiro.au/bushfireprojects.
Welcome to the new Streamwatch Coordinator for GSLN, Jessica Lumbroso, taking over the role from Elisha Duxbury. Jessica’s connection to Streamwatch started in her childhood with her involvement in the early Streamwatch school programs in the mid 90s, inspiring a passion for our beautiful surrounds and a childhood playing in creeks. In 2006, she was a volunteer Streamwatcher at Horseshoe Falls in Hazelbrook – teaching children about water bugs, water quality, testing and collecting data in the field.
This September Streamwatch is turning 30
Come and join the Celebration! Streamwatch will be putting together a special edition through a ‘memory lane’ outlining milestones and the history of Streamwatch in NSW, from humble beginnings to your current stream.
Streamwatch would love to hear any stories or see photos that your groups may have to contribute. Perhaps this is a time to take a group action photo to put into our archives for the future. They would love to hear any interesting accounts that could be documented and a photo of each group to acknowledge the input you all devote to our water catchments. How has this year been for all under these trying times and how has your group adapted to the extremes of fires, floods and pandemic while testing. You are welcome to reach out to me here (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tag us in your Streamwatch adventures on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/StreamwatchSydney) or Instagram using the hashtag #streamwatchsyd.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: Throsby LandCare Streamwatch coordinator Chris Horsey gets ready for a water bug hunt, March 21, 1995.
Streamwatch feature group this newsletter is our very own South Lawson Streamwatch.
You won’t find Lawson Creek in many of the glossy tourist guides, but to the locals of South Lawson Bushcare Group, it’s a hidden gem of the Blue Mountains. And after 20 years of quiet, dedicated work to protect the creek, the group is ready to tell the world – with a new short film. The film showcases the area’s magic: moss covered fairy dells, shimmering waterfalls and primeval hanging swamps, all beautifully captured on camera by local film-maker Vera Hong. The film also celebrates the work done behind the scenes by dedicated residents, year in year out, to protect local bushland areas.
The NSW Government has recently made the past 30 years of Streamwatch data publically availble on their SEED platform. SEED also hosts a suite of other environmental datasets. Head over to their website to see the results from all your hard work over the years.
Think of your favourite animal. Can it breathe through its skin, clean up after others or predict the weather? We’re guessing not. NPWS are sharing six of the many reasons we should all be a little more appreciative of these tiny eco-powerhouses.
1. Frogs can test environmental health
Frogs have a thin, permeable skin which lets liquids and gasses pass straight through. This thin skin is also very sensitive to temperature, sucks up pollutants and toxins, and absorbs water – removing the need for frogs to drink. These unique qualities make frogs superstar bioindicators, which means that scientists can use data gathered from frogs to get a better understanding of an ecosystem’s environmental health. Because frogs live in water as well as on land, they can provide an indication of both habitats.
2. Frog song is music to our ears
If you’re lucky enough to hear the call of frogs where you live, it’s usually a sign that you are living in a healthy and unspoilt area. Each species of frog has its own unique call, so it’s possible to check what types of froggies live in your backyard just by listening carefully (or downloading the FrogID app).
When frogs detect drops in atmospheric pressure (yep, they’re that clever) – an indication of impending rain, they’ll begin croaking, giving the Bureau of Meteorology a run for its money!
Where and when can we hear frogs? There’s no hard-and-fast rule for all frogs, but they like to breed near water, so listen out for them around dams, wetlands and ponds, or after rain. Many frogs call during their spring and summer breeding seasons, while some only call during autumn and winter and others will call all year-round. Most Aussie frogs are nocturnal and won’t start croaking until after dusk, but this isn’t the case for all frogs, especially during wet weather. When you’re in a NSW National Park, you may just come across the Brown striped frog with its distinct ‘tok’ call or the Peron’s tree frog, with the male’s drill-like call it’s often described as a ‘maniacal cackle’. Reminder: a good rule with all wildlife is to stay on track and keep your distance. Frogs are good to spot not to touch.
3. Frogs help to maintain water quality
Tadpoles act as nature’s pool cleaners, feeding on the algae that forms in ponds, creeks and puddles. While the tadpoles enjoy a delicious feast, algae levels are kept under control, filtering our water and keeping it clean – and they don’t even charge for their waste-management services. When we lose frogs in waterways, we will notice that water quality declines and water courses become clogged up.
4. Frogs are an irreplaceable ring in the food chain
Frogs play an important role as both predators and prey in the food web. Frogs’ diets consist of large quantities of insects, including pests, helping to keep population sizes of these unwanted critters at bay. Frog eggs provide food for insects, like spiders and wasps, while tadpoles fill the bellies of fish, birds and some insects. With a wide range of birds, mammals and reptiles relying on adult frogs for food, their disappearance would drastically affect entire ecosystems.
5. Frogs keep humans healthy, too
Without frogs as predators, populations of mosquitoes, which are carriers of disease, will increase. Having frogs around can help to keep mosquito-transmitted diseases, like dengue and malaria, from spreading to humans.
6. Australia has one of the world’s most diverse ranges of frog species
With more than 200 native frog species, Aussies are fortunate to have such a varied range of frogs living and croaking in our own backyards. More than 80 frog species are found across NSW in a range of environments, from rainforests and mountains to deserts. Sadly, eight species of Australian frogs have become extinct in the last 25 years and 30 frogs are currently listed as threatened in NSW. Pollution in our waterways, introduced fish species, loss of habitat and Frog chytrid fungus – which has led to the decline in frogs worldwide, are some of the threats putting our precious frogs at risk of extinction.
Why not keep in touch with the Citizen Science Frog Search NSW – a combined research and citizen science project studying 3 threatened frog species in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The Blue Mountains Frog Search Citizen Science program aims to monitor three key threatened frog species around the Blue Mountains region using acoustic data loggers. These data loggers will be installed near waterbodies across various sites and allow for the detection of frog species using their unique calls. As part of the project, Citizen Scientists have the opportunity to manage an acoustic data logger (including installation, maintenance and retrieval), as well as learn how to identify the unique calls for each frog species and analyse the data collected. Training will also be provided in the use of mobile phone apps, such as iNaturalist and FrogID. Online training is currently being provided via Microsoft Teams, however, this will be extended to include face-to-face workshops and field trips in the coming months. If you are interested in becoming involved in the project or would like to know more, please contact Alana Burton at Alana.L.Burton@uon.edu.au or on 0448 462 004. Feel free to check the “Frog Search NSW” Twitter or Instagram accounts.