Carolling frogs signal bushland renewal

It may sound like the plunking of badly tuned instruments, but for some, the musical calls of Banjo Frogs in Popes Glen Reserve, Blackheath, are like the sweet sound of success. To the volunteers of Popes Glen Bushcare Group, the distinctive sound of the frogs carolling in the Reserve over summer means that the bushland is recovering – after more than a decade of painstaking Bushcare work in the area. Assisted by Blue Mountains City Council, land manager of the Reserve, and with funding from the NSW Environmental Trust, Popes Glen Bushcare Group has been restoring the area, transforming it from a weed infested patch into an oasis for native plants and wildlife.

Alan Lane, Coordinator of Popes Glen Bushcare Group, said, ‘Frogs are sensitive bio-indicators. They are like the bushland equivalent of the canary in the coal mine, many can only survive if the environment is in good shape. Hearing frogs in the Reserve at this time of year makes us feel very joyous indeed, it means the bush is recovering.’

Students from Blackheath Public School toured the site recently and were delighted to hear frog calls and discover tadpoles in the creek. Assisted by Council staff and Popes Glen Bushcare volunteers, the students also learnt how to test the local water quality, by finding and identifying macroinvertebrates.

Macroinvertebrates are tiny animals that live in water: streams, rivers, creeks, lakes and wetlands. They have no backbone and are large enough to be seen with the naked eye. Like frogs, they are important indicators of creek health, Some ‘bugs’ such as Freshwater Snails, are fairly tolerant of pollution, while others, such as Mayfly Nymphs and Crayfish are more sensitive.

Student catching water creatures

Blue Mountains City Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, praised the work.

Council is committed to improving our local environment through community education and the support of more than 500 local community conservation volunteers, such as the Popes Glen Bushcare Group, across Bushcare, Streamwatch, Swampcare and Track Care activities.

Through Council’s local Environment Levy, Council also funds the ongoing improvement of local walking tracks and lookouts, weed control and habitat restoration programs.

On behalf of our community, I would like to sincerely thank all of our dedicated volunteers for the vital contribution they have made to the Blue Mountains environment this year.

This important work benefits us all, from protecting the places where we love to walk and play, to the water that flows into our drinking water supply. It also supports our local tourism industry, which relies heavily on a clean, green environment.

Students from Blackheath Public School discover tadpoles and learn how to test for water pollution during a recent visit to Popes Glen Reserve.

Students analysing their finds

An Eastern Banjo or Pobblebonk frog, so named because of its distinctive croak. The sound of frogs carolling in local creeks is one sign of good water quality.

Eastern Banjo frog