Category Archives: Swampcare

Swampcare at North Hazelbrook

Do you have a swamp in your backyard or interested in swamp restoration?

Then come join us for this very special event in Hazelbrook, where you will learn the basic principles about swamp restoration whilst giving this swamp a helping hand.

The swamp is located off Rocklea Street, which is the very north end of the urban area and is still in its early stages of being restored, so there is plenty of primary work to be done on a variety of weeds – Erica, buddleia, privet, crofton weed.

A FREE delicious lunch and morning tea has been kindly donated by Hominy Bakery.

Bookings are essential so please RSVP via the link on this page or contact Stephanie at schew@bmcc.nsw.gov.au. by Thursday 20 September.

https://www.bushcarebluemountains.org.au/event/swampcare-at-north-hazelbrook/

Where: Rocklea Street, North Hazelbrook
When: Friday, 28 September @ 9:00 am3:00 pm

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 schew@bmcc.nsw.gov.au or call the Bushcare office on 4780 5623.

WE’RE CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF BLUE MOUNTAINS SWAMPCARE!

North Hazelbrook Swamp July 2009 photo Lyndal Sullivan

Swampcare is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year!  From the first on ground workday at Kittyhawke Swamp in North Wentworth Falls in March 2007 Swampcare has grown into an annual program of events in the Blue Mountains run by Council’s Bushcare. Swampcare provides opportunities for volunteers to learn about swamps and the special requirements of undertaking bush regeneration in these sensitive places as well as making hands on contributions to protecting them.

Many workshops have been held over the years to add to the knowledge of volunteers covering swamp ecology, vegetation, threatened species and  techniques to rehydrate swamps. A Swamp Symposium will be held on Wednesday 21st June  to celebrate and continue developing community knowledge, thanks to people such as Dr  Ian Baird, who has very generously given his time and shared his knowledge by regularly presenting workshops.

Over the 10 years more than 2000 volunteer hours have been contributed in on site works.  Many thanks must also go to Hominy Bakery in Katoomba who have been donating delicious lunches and morning teas for volunteers at every event since 2007. A much appreciated incentive to keep coming back!

March 2007 Kittyhawke volunteers at the first Swampcare event learning the ropes. Photo by Michael Hensen

Sites currently worked by volunteers in the Swampcare events program are:

  • Rocklea St Swamp, North Hazelbrook;
  • West Kitty Hawke Swamp, Wentworth Falls;
  • Clydebank Swamp North Leura;
  • Valley View Swamp, Blackheath.

In addition to the Swampcare events program, there are 15 other Bushcare or Landcare groups which also work in swamps and/or their buffers at some stage during each year.

There are 2253 hectares of swamp mapped in the Blue Mountains with 929 of those outside the National Park.  Swamps within the urban area are recognised as being the most vulnerable to degradation,  a concern which is being addressed by this program.

According to recent recorded history, scientific and management interest began in swamps in 1974 with the PhD by WN Holland entitled ‘Origin and Development of Hanging Valleys in the Blue Mountains, NSW’; which showed the significance of the geomorphology on formation and maintenance of hanging swamps.

In 1988, ecologists DA Keith & D H Benson described and mapped ‘Blue Mountains Sedge Swamps’ and other upland swamps, as part of a larger study. In 1991 the Blue Mountains City Council recognised swamps as an ‘environmentally sensitive vegetation community’ in  Local Environment Plan 1991 (LEP 91).

After witnessing a number of destructive developments occurring within and around swamps, in 1999 community members, under the banner of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, began working to gain legal protection for swamps.

In September 2007, after 8 years of hard work, Blue Mountains Swamps were listed as a Vulnerable Ecological Community under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act (TSC Act). In order to achieve this, 3 other significant achievements were made:

  • The listing of Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone as an Endangered Ecological Community under the Commonwealth EPBC Act in 2005 (which included Blue Mountains Swamps), and
  • An amendment to the NSW TSC Act to make provision for Vulnerable Ecological Communities (2002),
  • An increase in community awareness and support for swamps.

For a more detailed history and swamp images see http://bluemountains.org.au/swamps.shtml

Since the listing in 2005, Blue Mountains City Council has obtained over a million dollars in grants from state and federal agencies to protect the swamps. BMCC’s ongoing Save our Swamps program is currently partnered with Central Tablelands Local Land Services to deliver a 10 year $750,000 “Swamped by Threats” grant. This aims to continue protecting the swamps of the Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau with a focus on swamps that are known habitat for the endangered Blue Mountains Water Skink and the Giant Dragonfly.

Swampcare is a vital component of the concerted effort by BMCC and the Blue Mountains community to protect its valuable swamp systems. Our swamps continue to need all this community support  – hands on swamp restoration work, watching  and reporting illegal activity, writing submissions on potentially damaging developments, and campaigning to strengthen legal protections and ‘buy back’ swamps.

New members are always welcome to join the Swampcare program, just contact the Bushcare office on 4780 5623!

April 2007: Hard at it in Kittyhawke Swamp, Wentworth Falls. Photo by Michael Hensen