The Gecko is a newsletter produced by Blue Mountains City Council to keep volunteers up to date with current news, events and information. If you have any interesting environmental stories, Bushcare moments or successful how to’s that you would love to share and would like to contribute to this newsletter, please contact the Blue Mountains City Council Bushcare Team Leader on (02) 4780 5528, or email email@example.com
Bill Popes Glen legend Bill Webster (left Stephanie Chew Bushcare Officer, second from left Sandy Benson Bushcare Team Leader, second from right Bill Webster Popes Glen Volunteer, right Alan Lane Popes Glen Volunteer Coordinator)
Popes Glen Bushcare group had a special morning tea to say “Farewell, thank you and good luck” to Bill Webster, longtime bushcare volunteer with 24 years of service to the Popes Glen Bushcare site. Bill’s commitment to making a difference has helped transform the site from a weed infested swamp to the rehabilitated site it is today. Of course, there will always be weeds but with perseverance it is clear to see from the success in Popes Glen that it is all worth it.
We also remembered Jan, Bill’s wife and a long-time and hard-working supporter until 2011, as famous for her morning teas as for her willingness to get in amongst the willows and mud. Both Bill and Jan’s commitment to Bushcare and in particular to Popes Glen will leave an everlasting impact.
Bill will be dearly missed every month but we wish him all the best for the next chapter in his life.
Last year marked 20 years for this stalwart group of volunteers and they have successfully confronted just about every issue a Bushcare group can face – not just weeds but serious erosion and the ongoing impacts of urban development. To celebrate this achievement the film Blue Mountains Bushcare: South Lawson Park has been produced by Peter Ardill and Vera Hong. Directed by Vera Hong (Seconds Minutes Hours Productions) the film examines bushland values, the ongoing threats that urban bushland faces and how the bushcare group has managed these challenges. The film contains some beautifully filmed scenes of the Lawson Creek catchment and is available for viewing at https://vimeo.com/verahong/south-lawson-bushcare Thanks to Greater Sydney Local Land Services, the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and Blue Mountains City Council for project support and funding.
The South Lawson Group first started in mid-1995 with the then only Blue Mountains City Council Bushcare officer, Virginia Bear. Our aim was to regenerate and maintain the health of the upper catchment of Lawson Creek, which flows into Bedford Creek and the Nepean River.
The early years were spent mostly at the top of the Waratah St/Honour Ave section of the reserve (see map below) where Japanese honeysuckle, Privet, Montbretia, Blackberry and Broom were major invasive weeds. Some seed collecting, planting and track work were done, the latter with help from TAFE students under the guidance of a Bushcare Officer/TAFE teacher.
We expanded our weeding to the creekline and over the years to the surrounds of the BMX track and soccer field. In more recent times we have been extending the riparian buffer zone along the creek and swamp of the former golf course area by planting and allowing the bush to regenerate naturally. Some of us are also actively involved in Streamwatch and this process has been both informative and complementary for our Bushcare work.
Extending the buffer to the riparian corridor by planting with local natives.
The main vegetation communities along the creek are Eucalyptus woodland, Blue Mountains Swamp and a riparian strip of assorted native plant species, including rainforest species. The threatened species Persoonia acerosa and the endemic species Acacia ptychoclada are also present.
Our group is very committed and we are fortunate to have a few bush regeneration practitioners amongst us. Our website is also worth a look at: http://southlawsonpark.bushcarebluemountains.org.au It has some interesting photos and excellent educational material.
Have Your Say on the Council’s proposed service delivery plans and budgets for 2016-2017.
The Council has prepared its Draft Operational Plan 2016-2017 and invites the views of the community.
The draft Operational Plan 2016-2017 includes:
Annual service delivery actions;
Asset Works Program;
Rating statement; and
Fees and charges.
The draft documents are now on public exhibition until Wednesday 25 May 2016. The following documents can be accessed from the Library at the right of this webpage or hardcopies can be viewed at the Katoomba and Springwood Office of the Council or in Council libraries:
Draft Delivery Program 2013-2017 incorporating Operational Plan 2016-2017
Draft Fees and Charges 2016-2017
Lodge your comments via the online submission form below by Wednesday 25 May.
On Saturday 27 February members of bushcare groups in the Leura Falls Creek Catchment and the Leura Falls Creek Catchment Working Group, came together for a weeding morning at Kingsford Smith Park. Since 2007 the group’s yearly get-together has taken place at the iconic Leura Cascades. This year, in order to tackle the source weeds in the upper part of the catchment, the groups decided to focus on Kingsford Smith Park.
The park has both historical and horticultural values and is significant to the Leura Falls Creek Catchment. It contains many noxious and environmental weeds. They are a problem not just as a source of propagating material – water, wind and bird borne – but also because weeds are a major component of the vegetation that block views into the Park. A number of formed drains enter into the Park and ground water seeps in. The groundwater has a high impact on the creek and catchment because it picks up water from the Great Western Highway, the rail corridor and Katoomba township. A creekline forms within the park, and drains through private property before entering the Vale Street wetlands and joining Leura Creek. Leura Creek flows through Leura Park and into the Leura Cascades and the National Park. There is a significant stand of Mountain Ash – Eucalyptus oreades – within the park. This stand occurs in the triangle of land between William, Gang Gang and Lovell Streets.
The work on the day focused on removing the privet hedge along Gang Gang St, weeding in the ‘oreades patch’, removing ivy from Tree Ferns, removing trad and spot weeding for noxious and environmental weeds. Team privet could probably get a Guinness Book of Records achievement for their work along Gang Gang St– the most privet removed in the shortest period of time!!
The get-together also provided an opportunity for a strong working relationship between Blue Mountains City Council’s Urban Weeds, Bushcare and Parks teams and the community bushcare groups. For all your work in the Park, many thanks go to David Whiteman and team, David Pinchers and Mark Vickers and team. To Karen Hising, Tracey Williams and Erin Hall, many thanks for the organisation of and support on the day and many thanks to the 17 bushcare volunteers for your amazing weed blitzing work. We all agreed that it was inspiring to start making a difference in this part of our precious catchment.
If you would like to find out more about Leura Falls Creek Catchment and the work that we are doing please contact Jenny Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org
Great things are happening for the environment in the Blue Mountains. Three catchment working groups currently exist and I have just seen a very inspiring presentation on the work in Popes Glen in Blackheath.
The latest excitement is the creation of the Jamison Creek Catchment Working Group.
This unique catchment, unique because it exists on both sides of the Highway, is very important, but like most catchments, is under stress. Weeds, pollution, sedimentation and high water flow issues abound.
However, by utilising procedures, knowledge and actions created by other working groups, Jamison Creek can one day be returned to it’s former glory.
On October 10th, 2015 the volunteers who regularly work in the Jamison Creek Catchment (Jamison St Landcare Group; Charles Darwin Walk Bushcare Group and the Valley of the Waters Bushcare Groups) held their first Catchment Care Day.
The aims of coming together like this were to:
increase awareness of the threatened species in the catchment, particularly Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii as well as Pultenaea glabra;
support the BMCC Bush Regeneration Team’s targeted Broom control program;
meet each other and learn about each other’s work.
We covered the length of the creek targeting Broom and also a considerable area closer to Wentworth Falls working on Montbretia, Privet, Erica and Japanese honeysuckle.
Eric Mahony (BMCC), Michael Hensen (BMCC) and Arthur Henry (NPWS) provided great information about the work in the catchment and the threatened species while we enjoyed a picnic lunch made possible by the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage Saving Our Species Program. A big thank you to everyone involved!
Thankfully the rain showers overnight cleared and a clear blue sky greeted a group of over 40 very keen volunteers at the Upper Kedumba Bushcare site in Pine St, Katoomba on Sunday November 1st 2015.
The ground was ready – we’d already dug about 120 holes and the rain prepared the ground nicely for planting, so it was all systems go! After a quick briefing and acknowledgement of Country at 9am, Jane whipped us into action and within 2 hours the combined efforts of Upper Kedumba, Friends of Katoomba Falls Ck, Garguree Swampcare and Prince Henry Cliff Walk Bushcare Groups had 400 plants in the ground, staked, guarded and watered.
The ground prepared
Just enough time to pack up the work gear and reconvene at The Gully Heritage Centre where David King and Elly Chatfield greeted us with a sumptuous morning tea/lunch laid on courtesy of the Saving Our Species Program and Sandy Holmes, a Garguree volunteer.
Following the glorious food it was on to some inspiring presentations. First, Les Peto spoke about the Fungi and Lichens commonly seen in the Gully and elsewhere in the mountains. Michael Hensen filled us in on the Saving Our Species program to protect the endangered Dwarf Mountain Pine in Katoomba Falls, one of the sources of funding for work in the Gully, and Eric Mahony outlined the current regeneration and restoration works currently underway and planned for the area. David King closed the day with an expression of gratitude to all those who’ve contributed to the success of the Garguree project and other work in the catchment of The Gully and reminded us of the importance of The Gully to the Gundungurra people and especially his late mother, Aunty Mary King.
The Gully Get-together is held once every year and is another great example of the benefits of Bushcare groups taking a catchment approach. It can also help break down the sense of isolation that some groups experience, leaving them feeling like their battle with the weeds is unwinnable. By pooling resources and getting together to work and plan we can learn about the issues common to other groups in the nearby area, develop a clearer picture of what’s going on in the catchment and why.
And we’re combining our power to do something about it!
and the same ground later, with a junior landcarer assisting Jane with watering
The Gully Get-together was supported by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Save our Species funding and Environmental Trust Protecting our Places grant funding, and the BM Food Co-op.
On Saturday 7 November, Katoomba Christian Convention launched a Landcare Group for looking after its 26 acre site. Fourteen hearty volunteers worked hard over a full day of guided bush regeneration.
‘It was a tremendous day’s effort and we’re looking forward to continued momentum into the future,’ said Operations Manager Shelley Taylor.
Gundungurra Traditional Custodian David King provided a Welcome to Country, sharing stories of the area where his mother, the late Mary King, grew up. David also gave the volunteer group an introduction to identifying Aboriginal artefacts. The late Mary King had been looking forward to attending the day, that David King and Elly Chatfield attended in her honour.
Bushcarer Jenny Schabel, a professional in natural resource management who works with Greater Sydney Local Land Services, volunteered her time to lead the day. Jenny has been a long term supporter of Katoomba Christian Convention and having chats with Operations Manager Shelley Taylor led to the launch of the new group.
On the day, during the morning tea and lunch provided, a devotion was shared that involved discussing how Christians need to care for and look after the natural environment as God intended. The day was supported by Blue Mountains City Council with Community Weeds Officer Linda Thomas providing much needed tools on loan for the volunteers to use.
Since it started way back in 1903, Katoomba Christian Convention has benefited greatly from volunteer support. Positioned just across the road from Scenic World, right on the doorstep of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, Katoomba Christian Convention has beautiful ridgetop bushland. A big chunk of the bush regeneration day involved removing the weeds tutsan, honeysuckle, broom and blackberry along a creek line that feeds a federally significant hanging swamp on the property.
Operations Manager Shelley Taylor explained that ‘our vision is to further develop the site to be an eco-tourist destination for attracting groups and conferences to the area’. With four self contained conference centres nestled in bushland, Katoomba Christian Convention accommodates groups ranging from 5 to 540 people, and can seat over 2000 people in its large auditorium.
From left to right: Jenny Schabel, Alex Mackenzie, Helen Kryger, John Adamson, Elly Chatfield, Tony Kryger, Kim Greenwood, Ralph Grose, Robert Hegedus, David King, Jenny Adamson, Shelley Taylor. KCC Neighbour Alan Owen missed the photo, but put in a big day of work also.
Last evening Dr Paul Rymer presented the project that a the Western Sydney University is working on to monitor the flowering times of plants from the pea family across sandstone soils in the Blue Mountains. He discussed the findings of The Waratah Project that Botanical Gardens managed. They found there was three distinctive genetic groups amongst other findings. This lead to this research on the flowering times of Acacia and Pea plants and the interactions with insects and if the flowering times and life cycles of related insects correlate.
This Pea project has a citizen science component that a few Bushcare volunteers are currently involved with. If you are interested in your group participating in this monitoring which involves monitoring once or twice a month on site with a 50 m x 50 m plot recording the life cycle of these plants.