Category Archives: Groups

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”.

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

Call out for contributions to the Gecko Newsletter

Bushcare needs your stories!

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 sbenson@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

We would love to hear from you!

Farewell to Bushcare legend Bill Webster

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.

Film Celebrates South Lawson Bushcare’s Values and Achievements

South Lawson Park Bushcare photo by Vera Hong

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.

Blue Mountains Have Your Say

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;
  • Budget;
  • 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.

Here is the the link to the councils page:

http://bluemountainshaveyoursay.com.au/dop2016-17

Weeds Blitzed at Kingsford Smith Park

Gang Gang St before

Gang Gang St before

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 jhill9228@gmail.com

"Team Privet" after a job well done

“Team Privet” after a job well done