Category Archives: Bushcare

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.

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”.

Blue Mountains Bushcare welcomes new Bushcare Officer Ed Bayliss

Integral to Bushcare is the strength of our community engagement and leadership and we are delighted to introduce you to our new Bushcare Officer Ed Bayliss. Ed will be taking over Stephanie Chew’s Bushcare groups and the Swampcare Program.

Ed has hit the ground running and you may have already met him on site with our experienced Bushcare Officers. Having grown up in the Blue Mountains, Ed has a good understanding of the threats facing our local flora and the particular issues our local community is dealing with.

He has a keen mind for landscape restoration in particular creekline restoration and is currently working towards Environmental Management and Water Sensitive Design degree. You may well have seen or worked with Ed on creekline restoration or Bush regeneration projects throughout the Blue Mountains with the Bush Doctor.

Ed said he is very excited to work for the Blue Mountains City Council in Bushcare and with the local community.

Blue Mountains City Council Bushcare Team Leader Sandy Benson said that Ed’s enthusiasm for the conservation of the region’s natural assets and his friendly attitude was a brilliant addition to the Bushcare team.
Please welcome Ed to the Bushcare family.

Farewell to Bushcare Champion

Eric Mahony Bushland Operations Coordinator, long time supporter and previous Bushcare Team Leader will be resigning from Blue Mountains City Council to take up work with Central Tablelands Local Land Services (LLS) in Lithgow, working on biodiversity conservation projects.

Eric Mahony in the field discussing plans with volunteers

Eric worked for the BMCC in the 1990’s with community volunteers undertaking  Bushcare and Landcare programs in conserving and restoring our Blue Mountains bushland, which has been a point of great pride and satisfaction for him. Since then the program has shown what can happen when the community and Council work together, and the significant and lasting environmental outcomes, that are able to be achieved.

Eric said he will miss the support he has received from many of you both on a personal level, as well as at a program level and wishes everyone well. Hoping that Bushcare continues to have the same level of success into the future in protecting and restoring our precious Blue Mountains bushland as it has done for many years.

“For myself, looking forward, the opportunity to work with LLS staff in what has become my home landscape, Lithgow, having lived there for the last 18 years will present a new and exciting challenge. I will be working on various conservation projects with woodland birds, swamps, Copperwing Butterfly and others in the river systems surrounding Lithgow.

The position will provide an opportunity to reconnect with some of these projects and local community members from when I last worked in Lithgow.

For me, there remains significant  environmental challenges found west of the Blue Mountains in my home landscape of  Lithgow and look forward to the opportunity to be involved in projects with the central west communities to address these” he said.

Bushcare staff and volunteers are sad to see Eric leave as he is a well known figure in the environmental field across the Blue Mountains. Eric will be dearly missed, not just for his environmental knowledge and abilities, but also for his friendship, generosity with his time and commitment to public service.

All the best Eric!

Gully combined day 2018

Upper Kedumba Bushcare group hosted 35 Volunteers from Garguree swampcare and Friends Of Katoomba falls groups and the broader BC community in our annual Kedumba Catchment Gully get-together.

David King welcoming the group onto country

It was a great success, with a wonderful community feel and a great boost to The Upper Kedumba Bushcare site, with so many enthusiastic and committed helping hands we also had 5 new volunteers join in.

After a full work morning we indulged in a wonderful shared feast and heard from Eric Mahony about works in the catchment and how our workdays positively impact on it and Jane about our Bushcare native bee metropolis and who we would likely see using the bee hotels.

We were working on 4 different site components, giving a variety of work options to the volunteers so they could join in with tasks to challenge them and also tasks where they would feel familiar and relaxed.

Our work day consisted of

1 – Continuing to create a wetland soak in the low lying section of Upper Kedumba, to change the environmental conditions currently present, trying to create a wetter area hoping to diminish annual grasses and create more habitat for aquatic critters, whilst slowing the flow of the water in big rain events capturing it on site , and stripping nutrients from it.

In Feb/March we hope to plant this area out with Juncus and other sedges

Installation of water detention devices

Installation of water detention devices

2 – Continuing on with a creation of a mulch path through the site – The long-term vision is to create a site where local community will feel inclined to walk through it and stop and find out about local native bees, fauna and habitat creation and why these things are needed and how important they are in our local environment.

3- Removal of small and large privets in bands across the slope – this work will be supported by a day of contracting works in the next 3 months and continued planting of endemic species.

4- Removal of Montbretia from a drainage line.

Thank you to all who came along and helped with our ongoing Bushcare works
By Jane Anderson

Welcome back to another exciting year of Bushcare!

We hope you have had a wonderful holiday season!  Now, it is January and that time when many of us reassess our busy lives and think about what we want to accomplish or do to balance our lives during the next year. With that in mind, here’s to peaceful days on your Bushcare sites with friends.

Here’s hoping that time off over the holiday season has not had too much impact on your Bushcare site. It is inevitable that with the recent storms and heat across the Blue Mountains that your patch may have undergone significant changes while you were gone.

Bushcarers are doing people and would just love to get in there and get the site cleaned up straight away. Stay safe in the hot weather by taking a few precautions:

  • Schedule your workday by weeding in shaded areas
  • Take regular breaks
  • Drink lots of water
  • Wear light and loose-fitting clothing
  • Pace yourself and rest when you need to
  • Keep an eye on each other for signs of heat exhaustion

We have a fun filled program planned for Blue Mountains Bushcare this year. It is different to previous years with new training courses and workshops in that you will be taking part in to enhance your knowledge of your site and the surrounding catchment, so keep an eye out for these on the Bushcare Website, Gecko and Bulletin.

Looking forward to catching up with you all over the year ahead.

Sandy Benson
Bushcare Team Leader