This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Greater Blue Mountains region being granted World Heritage status by the United Nations.
Blue Mountains City Council will mark this important milestone by celebrating the unique privilege of managing a City within a World Heritage Area.
From July to December 2020, Council will showcase how we help preserve an area of such special significance, including recognition of Traditional Ownership, protection of the environment and threatened species, water resource management and strategic planning.
Blue Mountains waterways are some of the most beautiful, iconic and highly valued in Australia. They sustain a unique diversity of animals and plants, hold great cultural significance to Traditional Owners, and provide huge opportunities for recreation and eco-tourism.
Our waterways also supply drinking water to over five million people, including residents of the Blue Mountains local government area.
Want an alternative to the ‘other’ live streaming viewing currently on
We aim to provide a platform on the Bushcare Website showing previous videos featuring bushcare sites, volunteers, Bioblitz, community days, fauna and much more.
However, the exciting news is the Bushcare Team (and others in Council’s environmental team) are also preparing to front the camera themselves to produce a host of videos highlighting a range of ‘interesting’ and ‘how to’ segments – such as showing different weeding techniques, treating a variety of common or tricky weeds and a range of videos showcasing flora, fauna, bees, seed collection, biofilters, composting, biosecurity, bush backyards and so much more.
Find out all about the recent launch of “Turtle Island” in early March – a floating eco habitat designed to provide a safe nesting place for turtles, from leading turtle expert Dr Ricky Spencer (Western Sydney University).
Article by Fiona Lumsden (Upper Katoomba Bushcare Group)
Our local Bushcare Group for Upper Katoomba Creek and our neighbours, the Community Gardeners, joined forces in mid-January for a Planting Event along our shared creek.
We were using leftover plants from our Spring plantings along our previously very weedy roadside remnant bushland and a cleared easement above the creek in Twynam unformed road reserve.
We had been worried that January would be tough for new plants – with all the extremely hot and dry weather we’ve had for months. Amazingly, the rain came in bucket-loads, just in time for the planting, and we celebrated. Our little band of bushcarers, mums and kids donned gumboots and sloshed around in the wet, putting in baby ferns and Tea Trees next to the roaring creek. No one complained. We were all so happy to have rain.
The plantings will help stabilize the creekbanks and keep moisture in the creek system.
Blue Mountains City Council is doing a big creek restoration project here in the park. The creek, which has been degraded by urban development and landscape modification, has become deeply incised into its little floodplain. It now bypasses the original Carex gaudichaudiana swamp on the flats beside it. The creek bed is being “bouldered” to slow erosion and a diversion has been cut at the side to revert some flows back into the swamp.
Swamps and creekside vegetation are really important. They absorb excess water in storm events and slowly release water back into the creek systems over time to maintain creek flows through the year. We have lost a lot of these natural sponges. Revitalizing them will help water security. We need water. We need plants. Lots of them!
A floating, eco habitat designed to provide a safe nesting place for turtles at Glenbrook Lagoon was launched on 10 March.
Turtle Island – a collaboration between Council, Western Sydney University and Blue Mountains volunteers – was a pilot project funded by the NSW Premiers Office and Council.
“This pilot project has already seen much success, with turtle eggs discovered recently,” Mayor Mark Greenhill said.
“Glenbrook Lagoon is home to a number of turtle species, including Eastern Long-neck and Sydney Basin turtles. Turtles have been facing an uncertain future, as foxes destroy 95 per cent of their nests, but the island is providing a refuge.”
Leading expert in turtles Western Sydney University’s Dr Ricky Spencer, whom inspired Geoffrey Smith (Healthy Waterways Program Leader) and Nathan Summers (Bushcare Officer) to design and construct this project, attended the launch along with Council staff, Bushcare volunteers and school students from St Finbar’s Primary School and Glenbrook Primary School.
Local primary students have been involved in environmental studies at Glenbrook Lagoon, including Council Bioblitz events, and Turtle studies.
Glenbrook Lagoon is a haven for remnant bushland, it’s an active Bushcare site and a valued recreation point for the community.
The well-being of the Lagoon has always been important to the community. The Glenbrook Lagoon Society started in 1978 and Bushcare volunteers began working here around 1993, making it one of the earliest community driven Bushcare groups in the Blue Mountains.
Council has an ongoing commitment to restore the ecological condition of Glenbrook Lagoon and the lagoon is now free from major infestations of water weeds such as Salvinia and Cabomba which plagued it for many years.
Turtles play an important role in the ecosystem at the lagoon, acting like vacuum cleaners of the water body.
“The Lagoon is rich with wildlife – native fish, eels, frogs and a remarkable array of birdlife,” Mayor Greenhill said.
Water quality in the lagoon is closely monitored by Council and officers have put incredible effort into addressing all sources of pollution within the catchment.
Turtle habitats, a predesigned structure that includes plastic tubing, aquatic plants, sands and geotextile, are being installed at locations throughout NSW.
5 years funding for weed controlArticle by Linda Thomas
Bushcare volunteers, form an important component of Council’s overall weed management strategy. However, there are many other interesting conservation projects that you may hear about or encounter in your local area.
Two new grants
Council has received new grants from Greater Sydney Local Land Services and the NSW Environmental Trust which will help expand our capacity to deliver target weed control, bush regeneration and stormwater control outcomes over the next five years.
Each year Council’s Environment team applies for grants where grant program targets align with Council’s core program outcomes. In this way Council is able to extend its delivery of environmental programs within the Blue Mountains and increase the value of return for a rate collected dollar. As these funding sources are dependent on broader political climates, they cannot be relied upon to deliver core Council functions, but are an effective means of building capacity when an opportunity presents itself.
Most grants have a 12-18 month time frame, so these five year grants allow for the consolidation and extension of a range of programs to help target cross tenure issues across public reserves and private lands.
Council will use these grants to:
Target Cats Claw Creeper in Springwood, Blaxland and Lapstone. This is a new priority weed which has limited distribution in the lower mountains. The aim over five years is to substantially control and eradicate all known populations of Cats Claw Creeper in our Local Government Area.
Extend ongoing programs to control Pussy Willow, Boneseed and African Olive in the mid to lower mountains.
Target bird spread weeds such as Himalayan Honeysuckle and English Holly on private properties in Mt Wilson, to protect Moist Basalt Cap Forest.
Extend bush regeneration programs in Blue Mountains Shale Cap Forest and Sun Valley Cabbage Gum Forest across Council reserves and adjoining private lands.
Monitor and trial controls for Bell Miner populations, which are linked to tree dieback in several lower mountains reserves.
Install stormwater control structures and extend weed control programs in several swamp systems in the upper mountains.
Support the Katoomba / Govetts Creek, Gordon Creek / Leura Falls Creek, and Jamison Creek catchment groups by undertaking extended weed control and rehabilitation projects on sites these groups have nominated as outstanding problems in their catchments.
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 Thursday of the month 9:30am -12:30pm
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.
Well its that time of year when the seed heads of Agapanthus are forming. The plants by themselves are not too bad as they hold the soil together so in some instances where the soil is unstable they are best left and deheaded.
On the other hand the seed can travel down creeks into the areas of bushland and take root on creekbanks and unusual places like gutters. The root fragments can be spread in the movement of soil and dumped plants can survive for years and take root where they are left.
Agapanthus growing in the gutters of a house Photo courtesy of Lachlan Garland
Agapanthus are tough plants so they have been used extensively on edges and next to drains. All of these drains and run off lead into the bushland. So if we remove the seeds the plants can not move into the surrounding bushland.
Agapanthus planted next to a road edge photo courtesy of Lachlan Garland
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.
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 – https://www.waterbugblitz.org.au/
Help shape a sustainable water future for the Blue Mountains
Do you want our waterways to be healthy in the long term? To live in a place that is more resilient to heatwaves, drought, flooding and bushfire?
Our city faces significant challenges (such as climate change and urban development) that will have a big impact on our waterways and the way we use water. To secure a sustainable future, we need to rethink how we use and value water now. As a member of our local community, your knowledge and ideas are vital to this discussion.
Have your say
Council, together with Water NSW and the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities, is running community workshops to help guide us towards a more sustainable, livable, ‘water sensitive’ future. This is an exciting opportunity for people from the community, government and business to get together and help shape our future. The workshops will be dynamic and interactive, exploring:
How we might benefit from a ‘water sensitive’ approach to development;
successful ‘water sensitive’ case studies from Australia and overseas; and
potential local projects to implement as part of Council’s new Water Sensitive City Plan.
You can choose a workshop time and location that suits you: