Category Archives: Seminar

Waterbug Identification Training

EOI – Thurs 11 Oct

Blue Mountains City Council have been fortunate to have secured John Gooderham, author of The Waterbug Book (CSIRO Publishing), to deliver waterbug identification training workshops on the 29th and 30th October 2018 (probably at Old Ford Reserve, Megalong). These workshops are for Council staff, Bushcare/Landcare/Swampcare/Streamwatch volunteers, teachers and other community members.

If you would like to participate in the training, please contact Amy St Lawrence by Thursday 11 October to express your interest.  Places are limited but we’ll do our best to accommodate everyone. You can complete either the Monday or the Tuesday workshop, or if super keen (and places are available), both!

Council’s Healthy Waterways team can then assist workshop participants to complete their own waterbug surveys with their Bushcare/Landcare/Swampcare/Streamwatch groups or schools, with data collected to be entered into the National Waterbug Blitz –

Amy St Lawrence –

The 10 year anniversary of Blue Mountains City Council’s Swampcare and Save our Swamps Program was celebrated at a Swamp Symposium recently that highlighted the significant and award-winning achievements of swamp restoration in the Blue Mountains.
The one-day conference, which attracted 65 attendees, highlighted dedicated Swampcare volunteers who have contributed over 10,000 hours towards protecting Blue Mountains swamps.
Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said the award-winning approach to swamp restoration is part of Council’s whole of catchment approach to environmental management.

“Swampcare is a vital part of Council’s highly effective volunteer program aimed at biodiversity conservation,” Cr Greenhill said. “We’re able to better protect and restore swamps across the city thanks to 75 dedicated Swampcare volunteers.

Blue Mountains Swamps are a biologically diverse plant community that occurs nowhere else in the world. The vegetation in these swamps range from low button grass clumps to large shrubs such as the Hakea and Grevillea species. The swamps provide essential habitat to several Threatened Species such as the Blue Mountains Water Skink (Eulamprus leuraensis) and the Giant Dragonfly (Petalura gigantea).

Council’s Upland Swamp Rehabilitation Program started in 2006 after Blue Mountains swamps were listed as part of the Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone endangered ecological community.

In 2008 Blue Mountains and Lithgow City Councils formed a partnership to deliver the ‘Save our Swamps’ (S.O.S) project to restore the endangered ecological community across both local government areas. The project was supported by grant funding of $250,000 over 3 years from the Urban Sustainability program of the NSW Environmental Trust.

In 2009 the S.O.S. project received a $400,000 Federal Government ‘Caring for Country’ grant to expand the program to incorporate Wingecarribee Shire Council and Gosford City Council. The partnership resulted in the swamp remediation model being rolled out to over 95% of the endangered ecological community in the four local government areas.

The innovative integrated approach led to the project receiving four awards, including a special commendation in the United Nations World Environment Day Award for Excellence in Overall Environmental Management in 2011.

Speakers at the conference included Palaeoecologist, Dr Lennard Martin, who spoke on the ancient origins of swamps and Principal Scientist at the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Martin Krogh, who discussed the health of Newnes and Woronora Plateau Swamps.

Eric Mahony and Amy St Lawrence from Council’s Environment and Culture Branch also gave presentations. The day finished up with a field trip to the new soft engineering stormwater structures installed at the Leura catchment.


The Swamp Symposium was made possible by funding from the Office of Environment and Heritage ‘Save Our Species’ program, the new NSW Environmental Trust funded ‘Swamped by Threats’ project and Council.


Interested in Swampcare? Get involved by emailing or call the Bushcare office on 4780 5623.

Bushcare Boosters Training for Bushcare & Landcare volunteers

Geoff presents the birds and the bees

This year BMCC sponsored 2 one-day workshops for Bushcare. Bushcare Boosters is a three-part course which was designed by the Sydney Metro CMA, Volunteers Co-ordinators Network in conjunction with the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators and several local councils.

We’re aiming to ensure that our community conservation program volunteers are up to date with the current best practices in Bushcare and the opportunity to develop the highest standards possible—the ones we are used to!

To that end, we decided to hire an expert trainer, Geoff Bakewell, who is very experienced in Bushcare and is certified to teach the Bushcare Boosters program, a combination of classroom and field based learning. Geoff has worked as a Bushcare Officer and has delivered Bushcare Boosters to Bushcare volunteers for both local and state government.

So far, we have covered two of the three modules. Module 1, “Bushcare and the Big Picture” looked at the history of Bushcare, the values, problems, plants and animals present on Bushcare sites and the development of site strategies. It was held at South Lawson Park, a good example of a site with many values and complex issues to keep its Bushcare volunteers busy.

Module 2, “The Birds and the Bees of Bushcare” was at another long-term Bushcare site: Jackson Park, Faulconbridge. We spent half a day discussing habitat— how to assess it, find evidence of fauna occupying it, how to look after it.

The third module will cover weed control technique and safe work practices. It is yet to be scheduled, but we will run it as soon as we can—so stay tuned for more information or contact Monica at the Bushcare Office on 4780 5528 or

Bushcare Boosters in Jackson Park

The Future is Wild

The Future is Wild posterVaruna (the National Writers House), in association with the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, presents the Mick Dark Talk for the Future 2016.

Jane Gleeson-White and Claire Dunn will explore responses to the challenges we face when contemplating a sustainable future and acting with the knowledge that we are not separate from but intrinsically connected to nature.

For more, see our calendar entry.

Workshop on Blue Mountains’ Arboreal Mammals

Mountain Brushtail at Mt Irvine photo by Peter Smith

Mountain Brushtail at Mt Irvine photo by Peter Smith

Renowned local ecologists Judy and Peter Smith are inviting you to attend an evening workshop on the arboreal mammals of the Blue Mountains Local Government Area.

Come along if you would like to learn more about the night life of the Blue Mountains – what gliders, possums, quolls and koalas are out and about at night, how to identify them, listen to their calls, find out where they live, and how to find them.

Judy and Peter will also present results of a recent study they have undertaken, thanks to a 25th Anniversary Landcare Grant, investigating how these arboreal mammals are faring in the Blue Mountains.

When: 7:00 – 9:00 pm  Thursday 16 June 2016.

Where: Santa Maria Centre Hall, Lawson (253 Great Western Highway, Lawson, between Somers St and Kitchener Road, next door to Our Lady of the Nativity Church).

Cost: Free! Tea and coffee provided.

If you would like to come please RSVP to Judy and Peter

Native Seed Provenance Workshop: “Provenance issues in a Changing World”

During June and July the Australian Network for Plant Conservation partnered with NSW Local Land Services to present a workshop series by key plant geneticists and  practitioners. The workshops covered the current best understanding of native seed provenance issues for planning and implementing ecological restoration, particularly in the face of climate change and vegetation clearing.

Provenances should not be used to define hard boundaries but to develop decision making frameworks that are evolutionarily relevant. Maurizio Rozetto (2015)

Here is a summary of the Orange workshop, which started off by revisiting  the crucial question, “what is the definition of local provenance?”

Provenance refers to the place of origin or source of something — eg, a collection; a species, an area containing a population of a species that is assumed genetically distinct from other  populations; usually thought to represent genetic adaptation to local environmental conditions. (Driver 2015)

The provenance and local adaptation theory is based on the application of a long-standing precautionary principle which argues that local plants do better than non-local since they are adapted to the local environment. The theory predicts that the further apart populations are geographically, the less likely it is  that plants grown from non-local seed will survive.

The concept of plant provenance is not new. It developed in 19th Century forestry science and was adapted for common garden experiments. Provenance is linked to:

  • Environment;
  • Life history (longevity, breeding system, pollinator and soil interactions);
  • Geographic distribution;
  • Genetics.

And is about knowledge of:

  • where plant seed came from,
  • the site, soil and situation it grew in,
  • the type and form of the plants,
  • the number of plants together with other local information.

This knowledge of where seed comes from is all important to its usefulness and value.

Provenance is important to ecological restoration because it influences two major seed sourcing concerns:

  1. Capturing adaptive evolutionary potential (ie genetic diversity) in changing environments.
  2. The geographic scale over which seed can be moved, as it affects survival and resilience of plantings and local plant populations, such as:
  • Maladaptation
  • Outbreeding depression (poor offspring)
  • Superior fitness – weediness potential
  • Inappropriate timing – flowering, seed (pollinator time lag) – something not well understood in Australia.

Linda Broadhurst (2015) suggests that Natural Resource Management has commonly looked to protect local vegetation from being “contaminated”  by non-local provenance. However, “local” has often been  defined and applied without scientific evidence.

For example, it has been common to apply distance based rules such as a 5km radius from the site, but there is no scientific evidence to support such a rule.

Broadhurst (2015) says Australian studies such as Hancock et al (2013, 2014) have found little or no evidence of local superiority germination and initial growth and Pickup (2012) found local  populations did better in terms of seedling survival but not biomass and that foreign populations showed improved reproduction.

This suggests that continually collecting from the same small site defined by distance could risk losing genetic diversity through inbreeding. In other words, there is more to provenance than how far away from each other plants are. Soil types, altitude, cliff lines, riparian systems and wind direction, together with the means of pollination (eg insects, birds, wind) are the factors that define plants’ relationships and adaptation.

So, the advice for us is to determine provenance according to the geographical and geological features of the area   rather than the proximity of the revegetation site to the collection site. We should collect from populations that are big (400 plants minimum) and healthy, take seed from at least 30 plants within that big, healthy population;  and define “local” according to pollinators and geographical features.

This is just some of the key points I gleaned. The full presentations are at:


Broadhurst L, (2015) “Provenance issues in a Changing World” National Research Collections Australia/Canberra.

Driver M, (2015) “Provenance Issues in a Changing World”. Presentation to ANPC provenance Workshop, Orange, 2015.

Rozetto, M (2015) “The ‘Provenance Issue’: Challenges and Opportunities for Ecological Restoration”. Power Point presentation to Provenance Workshops; CSIRO & The Royal Botanical Gardens & Domain Trust.

Scholarships to Volunteers

Les Robinson has offered some subsidized places for volunteers to attend his training sessions.

Changeology (2 days)

The complete toolset for devising behaviour change projects + plus innovation skills, buzzmaking, and, for the first time, a systems thinking palette for sustained change. Really engage your community in change.

What it covers.

Date: 12–13 October 2015
Venue: The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability, 2 Balls Head Rd, Waverton
Timing: 8.45 am for a 9.00 am start, 4.30 pm finish.

Yummy lunch and 180 page training manual provided. Numbers limited.

Facilitation Skills (1 day)

Lay a solid foundation for facilitating meetings and workshops in any context.

What it covers.

Sydney: 15 October 2015
Venue: The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability, 2 Balls Head Rd, Waverton
Timing: 8.45 am for a 9.00 am start, 4.30 pm finish.

Yummy lunch and 80 page training manual provided. Numbers limited.

Please contact the Les Robinson to book a place letting him know you are a volunteer. Numbers limited. Bushcare will cover the cost of attending. 

Les Robinson Enabling Change
Enabling You to Change the World
Email | Web

Factors influencing deoxygenation following an unintended whole of water body herbicide treatment of aquatic weed cabomba in a natural wetland in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

This Paper was presented by Aquatic Systems Officer Christina Day at a National Conference

 Christina Day 1, Ian A. Wright2, Amy St Lawrence1, Robert Setter1, Geoffrey Smith1

  1. Environment Branch, Blue Mountains City Council, Locked Bag 1005, Katoomba, NSW, 2780.
  2. School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751.

Key Points

  • The recently registered SharkTM Aquatic Herbicide (240g/L carfentrazone-ethyl) was used at Glenbrook Lagoon to treat an infestation of cabomba, one of the first applications of this scale in Australia.
  • Water quality and ecological effects were monitored to determine the impacts of the herbicide on a large natural water body.
  • One year later, monitoring programs show a return to healthy dissolved oxygen levels; a healthy population of native fish and turtles; and no evidence of cabomba or weed water lily.
  • This case study highlights the challenges involved with planning and implementing a large scale aquatic weed control program and the importance of understanding and careful consideration of the current physical, chemical and biological conditions of the individual water body being targeted.

Download the full Glenbrook Lagoon paper at:


Bifenthrin pesticide contamination: impacts and recovery at Jamison Creek, Wentworth Falls

BMCC Council’s Aquatic Systems Officer Amy St Lawrence presented this paper at National Conference.

Amy St Lawrence1, Ian A. Wright2, Robert B. McCormack3, Christina Day1, Geoffrey Smith1 and Brian Crane1

  1. Blue Mountains City Council, Locked Bag 1005, Katoomba, NSW 2780. Email:
  2. School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751.Email:
  3. Australian Aquatic Biological Pty Ltd, PO Box 3, Karuah, NSW 2324. Email:

Key Points

  • Jamison Creek in the Blue Mountains was contaminated by a pesticide, Bifenthrin, in July 2012
  • The pesticide caused a mass crayfish kill and severe, adverse effects on aquatic macroinvertebrates
  • Eighteen months later, the macroinvertebrate community (including crayfish) has recovered well
  • The incident highlights the potential hazards of urban pesticide use and the risks associated with direct stormwater connections between urban areas and natural waterways.

Download the full Jamison Creek paper at:


Native Bee Seminar at Glenbrook.

Hello, everyone,

This is just to let you know that there are still places left for the Native Bee Seminar, scheduled for Saturday 19 October 2013, at Glenbrook. I have attached the flyer again for your convenience. Some of you will already have registered, and your place has been confirmed.

Although you may not be interested at the moment, you may like to tell a friend about the day.

Australian native bees of the Sydney, Blue Mountains and Illawarra regions

Date: Saturday, 19 October 2013

Time: 9:30am – 12:30pm

Cost: $50.00 per person  or $90.00 per couple (see payment details below)

Venue: Glenbrook Native Plant Reserve. See details of the venue below

Address: Great Western Highway, Opposite the Tourist Information Centre, Glenbrook NSW Enter ‘Glenbrook Native Plant Reserve’ for directions on Google maps.

Course outline: The following topics will be covered.

  • The importance of bees in our environment: including honey bees, stingless bees, semi-social and solitary bees
  • How bees contribute to biodiversity in the ecosystem
  • The economic importance of bees in our world
  • The pollinator crisis worldwide
  • How bees improve crop production
  • Some anatomical adaptations that make bees the best pollinators in the world
  • How to identify some of the native bees in your own garden
  • How to attract native bees into your garden
  • How to conserve and provide habitat for native bees
  • View the inside of a stingless bee (Austroplebeia australis) nest
  • How to make native bee nests, from the basic to the beautiful

Included in the seminar

Each registered participant (couples see ‘Couples offer’, below) will receive a compilation CD ROM, containing the ‘Native Bees of the Sydney Region: A Field Guide’, distributed by Aussie Bee, a guide to making resin bee and reed bee nests, a guide to maintaining your solitary bee nests and basic notes from the seminar to jog your memory. You will also be put into the draw to win the lucky door prize: a hardwood solitary bee nest to take home, worth $60.

Couples offer

Each couple receives only one CD, thus the $10.00 discounted price

We are very fortunate to be able to use the delightful facilities located within the Glenbrook reserve. The venue ensures an intimate and personal atmosphere, which affords participants the opportunity to ask all those native bee questions they’ve always wanted answered. A substantial morning tea will be provided, to ensure you have the energy to get through the whole three-hour session.

Merchandise available for purchase at the seminar

Solitary bee nests

  • Drilled hardwood block with roof: $60 each
  • Drilled hardwood block no roof: $30 each

Bee hotel (please let me know if you are interested in purchasing prior to event): $250 each

Reed bee nests bundle: $5 each

Native bee mobile kit, for children: $10 each

Product details available at