Garguree Swampcare recieves grant funding

Protecting our Places Grant

By Jane Anderson
Garguree Swampcare has been successful in receiving funding from the NSW Environmental Trust’s Protecting our Places Program for the protection of Aboriginal Places in the Gully and McCrae’s Paddock, Katoomba. This is stage 4 of an ongoing project supported by NSW
Environmental Trust and will support restoration works to the Threatened Ecological Communities and riparian corridor in the Gully. This project will include bush regeneration, streambank stabilisation, habitat enhancement and cultural workshops where the Gundungurra Traditional Owners can share their stories and cultural knowledge with the Blue Mountains community.

Garguree Swampcare partcipants being welcomed to Country by Aunty Sharon
Garguree Swampcare participants being welcomed to Country by Aunty Sharon


These grants have enabled us to make a huge difference in the landscape and community of the Gully by enabling major restoration projects in the areas we call Middle Swamp, Fire Fly Corner and Nellies Fishing. We have removed thousands of woody weeds and weedy annuals, planted thousands of locally endemic plants and started a bushtucker garden featuring plants significant to the The Gully Traditional Owners (GTO). We are always busy and it seems to just be growing as more community realise and hold onto the significance and importance of this living vital place that is known as ‘The Gully’, an Aboriginal Place full of the past, the
present and the future. The grant will support the creation of habitat pockets around Catalina Lake with a significant planting project of around 2000 plants to protect our aquatic fauna and birds. The plants will provide habitat as well as safe refuge.
The GTO will be hosting cultural workshops where they will share their stories and knowledge with the community, focusing on the Bushtucker Garden and weaving with native species such as Lomandra and Dianella as well as weeds found in The Gully.
All of this great work contributes to Garguree being recognised last year winning The Regional and State Indigenous Landcare awards. David King, The GTO Garguree Swampcare coordinator, accepted these awards and brought them back to the community. It was a great achievement and a huge step in the continuation and recognition of how The Gully is healing through working on country, listening on country, sharing on country and always Caring for Country.

Volunteers working on Vinca (weedy vine) control in the ground layer 2 June 2019

A big thank you to the Co-op for donating a delicious morning tea to the Garguree Swampcare Group every month. The volunteers always look forward to what’s on offer!

Bushcare Update

Connecting with our natural environment benefits our wellbeing through many different ways; it keeps us physically fit, improves our mental health, supports healthy ageing and builds stronger communities.
Bushcare volunteers are among the most important people in our community. Promoting healthy activities outdoors while making an actual difference to our natural environment, the bush really is our medicine. By promoting lifelong physical activity, young people will have the opportunity to contribute to both the environment and their own health.
Over the past year we have had a marked increase in young adults joining Bushcare through the Duke of Edinburgh Program. These young adults are making a real difference to society with their positive contributions and involvement connecting and actively engaging within their immediate community, they are doing their part to help the environment. They are learning practical work skills, gaining knowledge of bushland vegetation and how to protect the Blue Mountains. So let’s inspire, connect and empower young people to join local environmental initiatives in our communities. For those of you lucky enough to have these kids in your group please encourage them by passing on your extensive bushland knowledge.
It’s been a busy period for Blue Mountains Bushcare, especially planning this year’s Bushcare Picnic. We have been working on the upcoming Bushcare Picnic featuring our very own production of Bushcare the Musical.
There will be a live reptile show with an emphasis on snake awareness that’s not to be missed. Plus a thank you gift for volunteers for all your hard work throughout the year.
Come and join us for a memorable Bushcare experience.


Citizen Scientist call for Powerful Owls

Powerful by name, and powerful by nature – the Powerful Owl Ninox strenua is Australia’s largest owl with an impressive wingspan of 135cm. It occurs from eastern and south-eastern Australia mostly in large continuous forest. Despite being classified as threatened in all Australian states across its range, Powerful Owls can survive within cities. However, increasing urbanisation is likely to impact the long-term persistence of the Powerful Owl.

The Powerful Owl project is looking for volunteers in Sydney to monitor owls in the suburbs. Click here for more details on the Powerful Owl and how to get involved in this amazing citizen science project.
Email powerfulowl@birdlife.org.au for more details on how to get involved.

Come and Explore Hazelbrook

Hazelbrook Walk and Talk Sunday June 26 1:30-4:30pm  Burgess Falls (free)

Come and learn about the bushland in Hazelbrook. This series of walk and talks will have a small amount of weeding with a walk and guided talk with Nathan the Bushcare Officer. This weekend find out about the local area and history then walk to beautiful Burgess Falls.

Bookings essential at www.bushcarebluemountains.org.au/event/hazelbrook-weed-walk-and-talk-2/ or contact Nathan at nsummers@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

Blackheath Botanical Beauty

By Karen Hising and the members of the Blackheath Centenary Reserve Bushcare Group

Blackheath Centenary Reserve is a small area of bushland of just over two hectares, which lies between Brentwood Avenue and Cleopatra Street, Blackheath.  The site was originally retained by the Department of Education.  However, in 1985, at the close of celebrations for the Blackheath Village and School Centenary, the Organising Committee had suggested this site as a natural bushland reserve.  Acting through the Mayor, Mr Peter Quirk, the Committee applied to the State Government for the site to be set aside for this purpose.  This was achieved in May 1987, the Reserve thus being under Council management.

Although totally surrounded by houses and streets and only a small area, the Reserve contains a good biodiversity of native plants indicative of ridgetop vegetation. Much of this type of vegetation has been removed over time for housing development, so it is an important remnant in the area.

Thanks to Joyce Brister and others, a community initiated ‘landcare group’ was established in 1987, making it the oldest group operating in the Blue Mountains. 

Historically, the site had been affected by serious infestations of Gorse and Broom, a number of mature Pines and a range of other weeds, as well as dumping, encroachment and illegal vehicle access.

With grant funding, more than twenty large Pine trees were felled, which greatly improved the understorey biodiversity.  In 2011, with assistance from local RFS Brigades, Council conducted a hazard reduction burn in one part of the site for fire mitigation purposes.  However, the planned burn also provided the opportunity to reduce the Gorse and Broom seedbank in the soil (stimulating their growth, allowing many seedlings to die out naturally and others to be handweeded in the following years).  Being an “island” site, where biodiversity recruitment is limited, the burn also stimulated the growth of a range of native plant species.

Many of the other problems have now been controlled and although the Reserve continues to require ongoing maintenance weeding and monitoring, we have been very pleased with the wonderful regeneration that has occurred.

Although landlocked between housing, the Reserve is also an important area of habitat for some local native wildlife, particularly birds.  Local residents often enjoy walking through the Reserve too!  And despite its small size, the site always surprises us with some beautiful plant species.  Whilst there are a number of spectacular flowering Waratahs in the Reserve, of particular interest are the Orchids.  We are fortunate to have some dedicated Bushcare Group members, who often monitor the Reserve and report and document their amazing finds.  Some photos are noted below, but there are more in the Group’s webpage:  https://centenaryreserve.bushcarebluemountains.org.au/photos/ and in the blog.

Blackheath Centenary Reserve proves that despite being small in size and surrounded by development, with lots of edges and some tracks, it is still important habitat for local native wildlife and plants.

The following article from “The Conversation” is an interesting read in that regard.

https://theconversation.com/the-small-patch-of-bush-over-your-back-fence-might-be-key-to-a-species-survival-108672?fbclid=IwAR3bi9aDZJvIui15QK33cUVgYCv1a1-bYCb1LfrH3xw63t_qR88JC6safw4

Weed Plan on Exhibition

The Draft Weed Management Strategic Plan 2019 outlines Councils management response to the multiple threats of weeds within our local government area (LGA), within the context of current Federal, State and regional weed policy and recent legislative changes.

The Draft Weed Management Strategic Plan 2019 replaces the BMCC Weed Strategy 2010.

PUBLIC EXHIBITION

It will be exhibited on Have Your Say and in Council offices and libraries.

To download the Draft Weed Management Strategic Plan 2019 click the link below.

https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/documents/2019-04-30-council-meeting-enclosure-to-item-12

The Draft Weed Management Strategic Plan 2019 will be on public exhibition for 28 days from 2 May to 29 May 2019. Submissions will be accepted up to Monday 3 June COB.

Submissions can be:

  • Posted on Have Your Say yoursay.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/weed-mgt-plan
  • Mailed to Blue Mountains City Council, Locked Bag 1005, Katoomba NSW 2780;
  • Hand delivered to Katoomba or Springwood Council office
  • E-mailed to council@bmcc.nsw.gov.au

All submissions must be clearly marked Draft Weed Management Strategy 2019

Grant awarded for Turtle Habitat Construction

Glenbrook Lagoon has been awarded a $5000 grant to construct an artificial floating turtle habitat in Glenbrook Lagoon, as part of a pilot program in the area. Such structures aim to reduce turtle loss by providing safe habitat for laying eggs, away from the shoreline and predators.

Platform for turtle hatchlings photo credit: BM Gazette

Dr Ricky Spencer and a team of PhD students from UWS in partnership with Council are working to provide a habitat for turtles — and possibly structures for yabbies and fish underneath. See the article written by the Gazette with Dr Ricky Spencer discussing Turtle habitat in the Blue Mountains, https://www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au/story/4320357/shell-shocked-turtle-concerns-during-nesting-season/

Bushcare volunteers are invitied to come along and join us construct the floating Turtle Habitat and learn how these systems operate on 14th May, 2019 at Glenbrook Lagoon. To book, click on the link below.

The UWS is asking Sydneysiders to help with their research on Turtles, by logging on to  TurtleSat to document any sightings. This project is gathering data on where the turtles are, and what they require to thrive, to help manage populations into the future. There is an app you can add to your phone that is easy to use.

For more information on the Turtle Habitat project, contact Geoffrey Smith, Program Leader for Healthy Waterways, on 4780 5751 or gsmith@bmcc.nsw.gov.au 

Further afield, here is an ABC News article on the Murray River Turtle

Fauna Workshop at Katoomba

Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th, April

Get involved in the Fauna Workshop – The Gully, Katoomba including fauna monitoring, spotlighting and birdwatching with our specialist. (Unfortunatley Session 2 Spotlighting has been booked out).

To book click on the session or sessions RSVP links below and follow the prompts.

Bio-filtration System in Action at Silvermist

A Bio-filtration system is as the name suggests is a living filter, employing microbes and wetland plants, gravel and sands, to filter the stormwater and urban runoff. Pollutants, increased nutrients, sediments and faecal coliforms in the stormwater negatively impact the health of the natural creek system, contributing to weed growth and exacerbate existing problems.

The filter consists of three layers underneath; gravel, sand and a carbon source with piping underneath to let the filtered water flow out. The native plants at the surface also play a role absorbing contaminants and nutrients and slowing the water flows down for absorption.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is resized_4546.jpgSlowing the water down ensures it can soak into the filters and surrounding soil, this recharging of groundwater mimics the natural hydrology and moderates the rapid flow of stormwater from the hard, impervious surfaces above. This is an important balance to ensure it captures as much pollutants as possible.

 

The water will flow out of this pipe quickly so to slow it down rocks are concreted onto the ramp to diffuse water. The sediment basin does this too, reducing velocity and catching sediment that precipitate as a result of the slack water. It is important to catch this sediment where it can be cleaned out, before it continues downstream.

From the ramp there is a pool made from large boulders followed by a ramp of rocks to ensure there is oxygen added to the water and to slow the flow down. This picture shows the gradient is only very slight to slow the water down.

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Rock sills are built to stabilise the gradient, further reducing velocity and maximising water penetration.

Riffle zones made from smaller rocks help to oxygenate the water by increasing its exposure to the air, aiding oxygen absorption.

Most endemic species prefer low nutrients, whilst invasive weedy species enjoy the high nutrient urban runoff, so it is important to remove the excess nutrients from the stormwater before it enters the natural environment.

Blechnum ferns were used on the edges as the root systems of these naturally occurring ferns have excellent holding capacity and appear in the creek line systems sounding this site.

The steps involved for this project to happen include:

  •  the woody weeds were removed by contractors
  • a machine to shape the bed and for large rock placement
  • geotextile fabric and gravel, sand and piping added then jute mat and coir logs added below  the structure
  • rocks sills built and planting in and around structure

Each site is different, with different constraints as well as possibilities. Site assessment and careful design are important when planning a similar project. The fundamentals are pretty standard from site to site, and can be applied to most situations.

Photo credits from Tanya Mein. Article by Ed Bayliss Hack and Erin Hall

Become part of a national study of Brushtail Possums

HAVE YOU GOT POSSUMS AROUND YOUR HOUSE ?

We are calling for participants to be part of the national citizen science project looking at antibiotic resistance in wildlife Saturday 13th April.

Urban Wildlife: possums, citizen science and antibiotic resistance

Learn about the ecology of urban possums and how you can be part of a national study of brushtail possums. Participants will receive a collection kit so they can participate in the study.

The workshop is presented by biologists from Macquarie University the University of Sydney. Associate Professor Michelle Power and Koa Webster study antibiotic resistance in Australian wildlife and coordinate a national citizen science project called Scoop a Poop, and Associate Professor Clare McArthur is an expert on urban possums. Together they will present an evening of fascinating possum (and poop!) facts, and explain how you can get involved in the Scoop a Poop project.

Workshop activities include learning how to identify poop from different wildlife species, introduction to the Scoop a Poop app, and practicing using the Scoop a Poop collection kit.

The workshop is suitable for ages 10+. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian

To BOOK click on the link below or contact Alison for more information on 4780 5320 or asteele@bmcc.nsw.gov.au