Author Archives: Bushcare Office

FrogID Week: Friday 6 – Sunday 15 November, 2020

FrogID Week starts Friday 6th November! To find out more and download the app click here https://www.frogid.net.au/frog-id-week

FrogID Week is Australia’s Biggest Frog Count, held annually for Australians to help record frog calls through the free FrogID app, as a measurement of frog health and distribution around the nation. It aims to monitor frog distributions over time, helping us to understand how frogs and their ecosystems are responding to a changing planet.

FrogID Week starts next week and we need the entire FrogID community to get involved! Every recording contributes to our annual ‘audioshot’ of Australian frogs, and helps us measure the health of our frogs and environment.

This year, we have a competition for the FrogID user who submits the highest submissions of verified frogs during FrogID Week. The ‘Top Frogger’ will win a Bunnings gift card valued at $500, as well as a video conference opportunity with FrogID Lead Scientist, Dr Jodi Rowley! Please familiarise yourself with the Terms & Conditions of our Top Frogger competition here

FrogID Week 2020 banner

Image: Southern Barred Frog (Mixophyes balbus) by Jodi Rowley.

Thanks to your FrogID submissions from all across Australia, the FrogID team have produced seven scientific papers so far. This month, FrogID research revealed that Australian frogs indeed have accents, and their accents change across the country, and even over time. We also used FrogID data to take a closer look at just how much frogs restrict their calling to night-time, and found that most Australian frogs actually call during the day, some at surprisingly high rates!

All the research produced by the FrogID project is a reminder of how your records are providing information about frogs on scales never before possible. Last month, we revealed how your FrogID records are providing an early understanding of frogs persisting after the Black Summer bushfires, but this picture is not yet complete. Your continued use of FrogID is very important this year, more than ever.

Whether you’re at a nearby creek, pond, nature reserve, or your own backyard – every recording of a frog call contributes to our research. So far, FrogID has identified more than 250,000 frog calls and identified 199 of the known 242 Australian frog species. During FrogID Week last year, over 5,000 frog records from 71 species were counted! The best way to stay up to date with this year’s FrogID Week information, stats, and exciting discoveries, is by following us on social media.

If you’re planning any FrogID Week activities in your community and would like help seeking local media opportunities, let us know by emailing calls@frogid.net.au

With La Niña underway and the likelihood of above average rainfall across much of Australia, we hope more frogs will be breeding and calling this year. Head outside each day of FrogID Week and help us find calling frogs – together, we can build our understanding and better protect our frog species.

Safe frogging, everyone!

Fox Trapping Workshops – 8 and 9 November

Foxes are a known predator for both native wildlife and livestock and can cause major damage in our local area. Greater Sydney Local Land Services has engaged professional trapper Mark Lamb to demonstrate best practice methods in the identification and trapping of foxes.

Blue Mountains landholders in target areas can attend one of the following sessions:

Session 1
Date: Sunday 8 November, 2020
Time: 9.30 am – 3 pm
Location: Katoomba Christian Convention Centre, 119 Cliff Drive, Katoomba

OR

Session 2
Date: Monday 9 November, 2020
Time: 9.30 am – 3 pm
Location: Katoomba Christian Convention Centre, 119 Cliff Drive, Katoomba

Workshop topics covered will include:
– Trapping foxes using soft-jaw and cage traps
– Control tools
– Equipment preparation
– Identifying signs
– Trap site selection
– Trap setting
– Use of decoys/lures
– Inspecting/running your traps and humane disposal
– Using wildlife cameras

THIS EVENT IS NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WHO ARE UNABLE TO WALK OUTDOORS ON UNEVEN SURFACES.

The workshops will be held at the Katoomba Christian Convention Centre. There is a strict limit on attendees due to the COVID-19 situation. Priority will be given to trap recipients. A waiting list will also be collected and used to fill places where registered people are unable to attend due to last minute circumstances.

Please choose a day and register using this form

Sunday 8 November, 9.30 – 3 pm

Monday 9 November, 9.30 – 3 pm

Katoomba Christian Convention Centre  

Post-Fire Koala Community Survey

“Should we save our Koalas”

Please take this 5-10 minute community survey.

Koalas were massively impacted by fire in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Help Science for Wildlife understand the issues that are important to you, in regard to conserving koalas and their habitats.

Take the Post-Fire Koala Community Survey

With the protected area network so badly impacted, the unburnt habitat that remains in and around residential and rural areas is more important than ever to our surviving wildlife, including koalas.  

However, conserving koalas in developed areas is complex. There are always competing interests when humans and wildlife occupy the same land. The first important step in protecting koalas in these developed areas is understanding any barriers to effective conservation, and working with communities to find solutions that respect the different values that people hold. That’s where your participation is critical for conservation, everyone can help by taking this brief post-fire koala community survey and sharing it with your friends.

Your time and honesty are greatly appreciated.

We are asking as many people as possible to take this survey, so please share and forward to your friends and networks. 

Yours Sincerely,  The Science for Wildlife Team www.scienceforwildlife.org


Protecting our forests for the future

Blue Mountains City Council Media Release 08 October 2020

Efforts to protect and conserve several rare and endangered forest areas in the Blue Mountains will be amplified, after Council was awarded a $350,000 grant by the NSW Environmental Trust.

Over the next four years the funds will be used for the Forests for the Future project, which seeks to restore and protect unique environments in a number of Council managed reserves between Glenbrook and Springwood. 

Working in partnership with the NSW Save our Species program and Hawkesbury River County Council, the project will help conserve the critically endangered Sun Valley Cabbage Gum Forests and endangered Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forests across their entire range. Iconic threatened species which inhabit these forests, such as the Powerful Owl, the Tiger Quoll and the Koala, are also expected to benefit from the restoration works.

Eric Mahony, Council’s Natural Area Management Program Leader, with Councillor Mick Fell and Mayor Mark Greenhill at Deanei Reserve, Springwood. Photo Credit: Council

Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said: “The Forests for the Future project is part of our ongoing commitment to best practice environmental management.

“As a City within a World Heritage Area, it’s our job to protect our local environment, especially those areas which have rare or endangered species. Some of our environment is unique to the Mountains, and that needs to be conserved,” he said. 

The works – that are able to get underway – include weed control, bush regeneration, stormwater mitigation, fencing and track rationalisation at Deanei, Else Mitchell and Patterson Reserves in Springwood, Sun Valley Reserve in Sun Valley, Blaxland War Memorial Park and Wascoe Park in Glenbrook.

Works will also include vegetation mapping, as well as education for schools, land owners and the community.

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Greater Blue Mountains region being granted World Heritage status by the United Nations. To find out more about Council’s work to conserve our local environment, visit the Protecting and Restoring Biodiversity webpage at www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/protecting-and-restoring-biodiversity

https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/media-centre/protecting-our-forests-for-future

Post-fire Koala Surveys, Blue Mountains Region 2nd Volunteer Call Out

Come and join our Post-fire Koala Surveys and help us learn where koalas have survived the fires in the Blue Mountains region.

We’ve opened up some more places for volunteers on our first round of scat surveys, so there is still an opportunity to sign up!

The data we collect will provide vital information for planning conservation action and koala population recovery. We need to know where the koalas are, so we can allocate resources to protect them.

Register HERE to volunteer for post-fire Koala surveys

Site 1: Hawkesbury/SE Wollemi National Park

Week 1: Tue 6th – Fri 9th Oct 2020 – complete
Week 2:  Wed 14th – Fri 16th Oct 2020.
Week 3:  Tue 20th – Fri 23rd Oct 2020.
Week 4:  Wed 28th – Fri 30rd Oct 2020.
Week 5:  Tue 3rd – Fri 6th Nov 2020.
Week 6:  Tue 10th – Fri 13th Nov 2020.

Some information about the surveys..

The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area is 1 million hectares in size, and 80% of it was impacted by fire. Within this region we had identified 5 koala study sites where koalas were known to occur: we are heartbroken that four of those sites have had 75% or more of koala habitats impacted by fire. That’s why we need your help. Mapping where koalas still occur across the mountains after the fires is a critical first step in helping us to understand how the fire impacted their populations. One koala can use anything from 5ha to 300ha of land each year, and they also use trees that are over 45m tall in some areas so they can be extremely hard to see. That’s where scat surveys come in.

Scat surveys are a great way to discover what different species have been up to when no-one was around to observe them. They are particularly effective for finding animals that are only in low densities after the fires. This project involves carrying out koala scat surveys across a range of different burn intensities and habitats, to find out where koalas survived. You’ll also encounter scats from other species along the way and learn about scat identification techniques. You can also pick up some basic eucalypt identification skills as we will identify the tree species that we find koala scats under. Come and learn the art of scatology!

You don’t need to sign up for the whole week – when you register to volunteer it will give you the option to select the days you’re available. However, it takes a while to get your eye in for scat counts, so we’d like all participants to commit to helping for a minimum of 2 days over the whole survey period (they don’t necessarily have to be within the same week). Beyond that, you can come out as often as you’d like! Our schedule will depend on weather, fire risk ratings, and land access, but we will endeavor to go out on the dates listed below.

The data we collect will provide vital information for planning conservation action and koala population recovery. We need to know where the koalas are, so we can allocate resources to protect them. We are also undertaking ecological studies of koalas at some sites, including tracking them to work out where they move and how they use the landscape after fire. This information is then shared with land managers so that we can work together towards koala population recovery. We can’t promise that you’ll see a koala, but you’ll be making a big contribution as the scat surveys will help us to map where koalas have survived after the fires. Seeing the impact of the fires on this beautiful area can be difficult to take, especially in the badly burnt areas, so please consider this when choosing to volunteer. 

Register HERE to volunteer for post-fire Koala surveys

Location and getting there:

Scat surveys will be undertaken in South East Wollemi National Park around Bilpin, Colo Heights and north off Putty Rd, and also on public land in the developed areas around Kurrajong, Grose Vale and Upper Colo. You’ll need your own transport as there is no public transport to the survey sites. All survey sites will be accessible by 2WD vehicle, otherwise we will ferry you in our 4WD from a nearby point.

Once you have selected tickets to register below, you will receive more details on the exact area you’ll be surveying with us, and where to meet, etc. 

What is involved:

First thing in the morning you’ll be given a brief overview of the Blue Mountains Koala Project, then a safety briefing, and then you’ll have a quick practice spotting some koala scats on the ground. Depending on how long the walk to each survey site is, we plan to complete around 4 scat searches per day, possibly more. 

Each scat search will be done inside a quadrat that we will measure out when we get there, using removable flagging tape. Then we will all search the leaf-litter, and see what we can find! We’ll also check what tree species are around, to confirm that the vegetation type on the map matches what is actually on the ground (this is called ground-truthing). Then we will check to see if the burn intensity matches the satellite fire mapping. When we find a koala scat, we will first have an excited celebration, then we mark a GPS point and identify the nearest tree species. In some places koala scats might be rare, but you’ll hopefully find scats from wallabies, wombats, and other native critters. We hope to find lots of signs of life out there.

Requirements:

The survey locations can be remote so you must be competent in bushwalking off-track, i.e. through sometimes thick understorey vegetation, and up and down forested slopes. Some sites will be on ridgelines, others in valleys and along creek lines. A reasonable level of fitness is required as sometimes the slopes are steep. A team leader will take you to each site using a GPS so you don’t need bush navigation skills – unless you’d like to have a try while you’re with us.

FAQs

Are there a minimum age requirement to enter the event?

The surveys involve long days in the field, plus a lot of walking. For that reason the event is not suitable for children. You can use your judgement for older children (over 15) if they have been on long bushwalks with you and enjoy a full day in the bush, but please note that if we are surveying a remote site then it would be difficult to return to the vehicles sooner than planned except in cases of emergency.

What should I bring into the event?

There are no shops nearby so you’ll need to bring a day-pack and carry your own water (a guide is at least 2L per person per day), lunch and snacks, plus sunblock and insect repellent. A personal First Aid kit is also a good idea, your team leader will also have a First Aid kit. Wear hiking boots with ankle support, and long trousers (bring gaiters if you have them), plus a long-sleeved shirt and hat. The bush can be spikey so leggings are not advisable. Gloves are optional but can be handy (pun intended), particularly if you don’t want to directly handle the scats. The weather in the mountains is changeable so bring a waterproof jacket and appropriate layers to stay warm. Please check the weather forecast before you leave. There are no toilets nearby so be prepared to make a bush toilet stop if needed (dig a hole and bury your waste, at least 100m from any waterway).

How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

Send an email to info@scienceforwildlife.org and include the Post-fire Koala Surveys in the subject line. During the event and during other fieldwork over the next few months we will be out of mobile phone coverage so email is the most reliable method of contacting us. You can also send a text to Victoria, on 0421 778 845 but please note that it will not be received until the end of each day, or possibly the next day. Please note that once you’ve registered via the ticketing process we’ll be sending you some more information by email, including where and when to meet each day.

Project Partners Science for Wildlife is working in partnership with our core supporters San Diego Zoo Global, and the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), who are providing support for us to understand post-fire koala distribution in the Blue Mountains region under the NSW Koala Strategy.

Other interesting videos and articles about Koalas..

Watch our Koala Rescue During the Fires https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QliwpX8crg

National Geographic Article – After the Fires https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/07/australia-marsupials-struggling-after-fires/

Streamwatch 30 Year Celebration – Live Stream

In Celebration of Streamwatch and its 30th anniversary of three decades of independent Water Quality Monitoring in Sydney.

The 30th anniversary marks a celebration of the dedication and preservation by all the amazing volunteers, which make Streamwatch possible, keeping it one of the longest running water quality citizen science programs across Sydney.

Grab a cuppa, comfy chair and your computer to join us for this online event.

https://youtu.be/vOZF3lWZpAA

Celebrating Streamwatch 30 year anniversary Courtesy: Streamwatch

Guest speakers:

  • Greg McDonald discusses Streamwatch, Stewardship and Environmental Protection.
  • Dr Ian Wright presents a case study where Streamwatch data was instrumental in putting a spotlight on water pollution.
  • Dr Michelle Ryan talks about the results of her pilot study in urban Sydney, utilizing volunteer citizen scientists with Sue Martin, the Cattai Hills Environmental Network (CHEN), and their surprise findings on the elusive platypus.
  • Christopher Noon, discusses the future direction of Streamwatch from the Convenor Streamwatch Subcommittee, and their project with Kristy Guise, Hornsby Shire Council’s environmental water scientist.

This 30th anniversary marks a celebration of the dedication and preservation by all the amazing volunteers! Which make Streamwatch possible, keeping it one of the longest running water quality citizen science programs across Sydney. Initiated by Sydney Water and the Sydney Catchment Authority. From it’s humble beginnings, Streamwatch started with a trial of 15 schools in 1990. From 1991 to 1994 Streamwatch became a project of the Special Environment Levy Trust.

The Streamwatch program originally had a focus on curriculum implementation in secondary schools, but quickly extended beyond schools into a citizen science program. Similar programs were emerging in other states, the famous Round Table conference in Cobram, Victoria, led to cooperation in developing community water quality monitoring programs. This led to Waterwatch Australia being established as the umbrella coordinating group for developing community water monitoring.

In 2000, Streamwatch was renamed as Waterwatch for all areas outside of Sydney Water’s area of operation. Since it all began, there have been over 1,100 Streamwatch groups who 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. As of June 2019, the Streamwatch program is in transferring from the Australian Museum to Greater Sydney Landcare Network.

Vale Lachlan Garland

By Karen Hising and Monica Nugent

Lachlan Garland was a passionate, committed and hardworking volunteer and a strong environmental advocate for many years. He was dedicated and determined to defend, conserve and improve natural areas locally and also more broadly.

As a very experienced and highly-skilled bush regenerator, Lachlan’s involvement in Bushcare was his great love working on natural areas on the ground with other wonderful volunteers. He was the Co-ordinator and member of Summerhayes Park and Braeside Bushcare Groups and was also a member of the Valley of the Waters, Everglades, Central Park, Charles Darwin Walk, Coates Park and Marmion Swamp Bushcare/Landcare Groups. He also attended many Bushcare weeding and planting events and some Swampcare work sessions.

Lachlan Garland
Photo: Lachlan Garland Credit: Emma Garland

Lachlan was a founding member and the Co-ordinator of the Jamison Creek Catchment Group, where he worked closely with Council to remediate and improve natural areas in the Catchment.

Lachlan was also a long-term member of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society and he held various roles on the Management Committee, including President. He represented the National Parks Association on the National Parks Blue Mountains Regional Advisory Committee for several years. Lachlan was also a member of the Blue Mountains Bird Observers and was the first ever Conservation Officer.

He was a tireless environmental campaigner locally and beyond. Opposing the raising of the Warragamba Dam Wall was one issue which he worked on from the very beginning, decades ago. He spent many hours writing submissions and contributing feedback to various proposals.

Lachlan was a member of a number of environmental groups and he would often attend workshops and presentations on a range of topics to learn and keep up-to-date. Likewise, Lachlan was an avid reader, particularly of various environmental publications and newsletters.

He was also an active firefighter with the Valley Heights RFS Brigade for ten years, where he participated in ongoing training, maintenance of equipment and fundraising. He made many friends there and he very much valued the experience and training he gained from there.

Lachlan received Council’s Bushcare Legend Award in 2019, and he was awarded the Seniors Week Recognition Award in 2020 in honour of his environmental and community work.

Lachlan was highly organised and meticulous.  He could be blunt and forthright, but you always knew where he stood.  He was reliable and he would attend environmental meetings and rallies, again and again. He was willing to stand up for nature and not just enjoy its beauty. Lachlan was a friend to many people in the community. He provided wise leadership and he was a mentor.

Lachlan leaves an environmental legacy that will long be remembered and endure. He was highly respected by many for his commitment to the environment, and for this he will be greatly missed.

September 2020 Gecko Newsletter – Spring issue

In this Spring Issue….

  • Recovering our Backyards Expo and Videos
  • Boost for Bushcare
  • Chiloglottis – Wasp Orchid
  • Revised Priority Weeds Information Booklet – 2020
  • Wet Weather Inspires Planting
  • Celebrating the 20th Anniversary World Heritage Blue Mountains WHA
  • The Sticky Facts On Eucalyptus
  • Opportunity knocks – A Joint Cross Team Effort!
  • Saving The Bush: Historic Weed Management In Australia
  • What’s On
  • Seasonal Calendar

Download the Gecko here;

https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/documents/gecko-newsletter-spring-2020

COVID-19 snapshot – Popes Glen Bushcare

How are you and your Bushcare groups going over the COVID-19 period? Send any interesting articles or photos to bushcare@bmcc.nsw.gov.au.

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!).

Pope Glen Bushcare group enjoying morning tea COVID style. Credit: Alan Lane

AABR – Post-fire bush regeneration resources

First Aid for Burned Bushland

AABR is progressively providing online material to assist landholders undertake ecological weed management after the extensive wildfires of spring-summer 2019-20. If you are a land manager or willing volunteer, please check out our resources below and learn what you can do to help recovering natives that are experiencing competition from regenerating weed!

First Aid for Burned Bushland (FABB) is the place the see the resources AABR is developing to provide guidance for assisting in the recovery of our bushland after the fires last spring and summer. Click the link below to see more…