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

Hollows as Homes

With the help of the community Hollows as Homes aims to assess the availability of tree hollows and their use by wildlife across the Sydney region. The Hollows as Homes team wants you to report tree hollow(s) in your backyard, street, park and/or paddock through www.hollowsashomes.com. A description of the information to record is available on the website.

Galah at nest in tree hollow. Photo: J Turbill

Galah at nest in tree hollow. Photo: J Turbill

The information you provide will inform Councils’ management plans. In NSW, hollow-dependent species include at least 46 mammals, 81 birds, 31 reptiles and 16 frogs. Of these, 40 species are listed as threatened with extinction. An aim of Hollows as Homes is to collect data to inform Councils decision-making process when installing supplementary hollows to support biodiversity. Hollows as Homes therefore welcomes reports of nest boxes and cut-in hollows in addition to natural tree hollows

Cut-in Hollow for small bird

Cut-in Hollow for small bird Photo: J Martin

 

Volunteer Survey

The NSW Environmental Trust is planning new initiatives to better support environmental volunteers and volunteer programs, but we need to know what is important to volunteers first. To discover this, the Trust is conducting a survey of environmental volunteers and we would really appreciate your participation so that we can include your views.
Logo Enviro Volunteer
Who should do the survey?…. anyone who has done ANY kind of unpaid work (‘on-ground’, administrative or other support, advocacy, fundraising) that benefits the environment, with an organisation (government or non-government) or group, in the past 12 months.

By completing our survey you are helping volunteer programs AND you can enter our prize draw for a one year NSW National Parks entry pass for one vehicle.

Please click on the link below to start the survey, which should take up to 20 minutes to complete. The survey data is being collected by Quality Online Research. All responses are confidential and no individual will be identified in analysis or reporting.

Please complete the survey

We are looking for a broad range of views, so please pass this email on to the members of your organisation/group and anyone you know who volunteers for the environment.

The survey will close on Monday 7 March 2016.

If you have any questions, please contact Nicole Balodis at the NSW Environmental Trust on 02 8837 6068.

Thank you for your time and your valuable input.

Some stuff we’re finding interesting on the web

  • Invasive Species Council newsletter

  • Questagame

    Vanessa Keyser from Redgum Park Bushcare and Local Land Services  suggests: Questagame You take photos of wildlife you see and earn points. It links directly to the Atlas of Living Australia, and all records are independently verified.

    In Vanessa’s words:

    Would be great for local schools or for young people who come along to Bushcare. There are teachers’ resources. Very groovy, baby.

    Here is a pdf with more info.

  • Citizen Science

    The Atlas of Living Australia continues to support a variety of Citizen Science projects – and is now making it even easier for people to get involved. Have a look at ALA Citizen Science Central to find a project that might interest you.

    And remember that the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA) is now up and running. Check out their website for information on joining and ways to get involved.

  • Birdlife Australia Bird data Atlas

    (as opposed to NSW Wildlife Atlas)

  • Creating urban habitat

Red-crowned Toadlet at Mt Riverview Bushcare

by Elizabeth Begg, Mt Riverview Bushcare Group

pseudophryne australis found in Mt Riverview

pseudophryne australis found in Mt Riverview (photo courtesy of E.Begg)

A couple of months ago, I moved a treated pine log that we had dragged up from our Mt Riverview Bushcare site behind our place (it had been dumped there some time ago) to re-use in a garden bed, and found a most intriguing small frog! Or so I thought. With a black body and bright orange red markings across the crown of its head and on its body, this 2cm frog was not like anything I had seen before. A quick google returned  the name of Red-crowned Toadlet. Monica quickly confirmed my thoughts. There were not many other candidates for the description small frog with black body and orange spots!

Monica’s excitement at the finding of this threatened species was infectious, and a bit more research helps us to understand why this creature is listed as vulnerable. It lives only in the Sydney basin on Hawkesbury Sandstone vegetation. This small toad needs to be near a freshwater creek – they mate in damp leaf litter, lay their eggs on the banks of the creek and are watched over by the male. The eggs hatch after heavy rainfall, when the young are well developed, and the tadpoles are washed into the creek. Such restricted habitat and specific life cycle requirements are the factors that, in a changing, disturbed environment under pressure from a rapidly changing environment threaten the viability of some of our native species.

On our next bushcare day, working in the creek bed in Magura Reserve, our youngest team member, Scott Wiezel, found some of the black taddies, already with legs, wriggling in a shallow, evaporating pond in the creek bed. He was on leech alert for us at the time. A very important job that day as we seemed to be working in a nest of them! (Though Scott’s mum, Lynn reports that she later discovered a leech in her belly button …)

The scientific name is Pseudophryne australis (Gray 1835), (Pseudo meaning similar to though not the real deal or ‘sham’; phryne meaning toad). The common name rendering of ‘toadlet’ sounds a little kinder! Our little Aussie wanna-be toad.

How did such a small creature get all the way from the creek to my back yard? Apparently they like to hide out under rocks and logs in the bush. I guess we carried it up when we brought up some of the dumped railway sleepers and treated pine logs to make our garden. Interesting isn’t it, the complexity of bush regeneration? The removal of dumped material possibly disturbed part of the habitat of this threatened species. For me it has been a gentle reminder of the care we need to have when working in the bush!

References and for more about frogs:

http://frogs.org.au/frogs/species/Pseudophryne/australis/

http://australianmuseum.net.au/red-crowned-toadlet

The Museum also has a fantastic free app to download:      http://australianmuseum.net.au/frogs-field-guide

http://bie.ala.org.au/species/Pseudophryne+australis

For an excellent though detailed fact sheet: http://fieldofmarseec.nsw.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/tsprofileRedcrownedToadlet.pdf

Pseudphryne australis

Pseudphryne australis (photo courtesy of E.Begg)

Rare win for habitat protection in Holroyd

Holroyd Local Government Area doesn’t have much habitat left, so when Holroyd Council was alerted by resident complaints that trees were being damaged they took quick action. Council investigators found that 4 remnant Eucalyptus fibrosa trees had holes bored into them around the base using a chainsaw and filled with an unidentified liquid. A resident also provided video footage of a man chain sawing the base of one of the trees.

IMG_5306

chain saw cuts at base of tree

Council wrote to the owners (the property was a rental) seeking an explanation however the owners denied any knowledge of the works occurring.

In the following weeks the trees rapidly discoloured and later died and the owners lodged an Tree Preservation Order (TPO) application to remove them. Council determined the trees were of significant habitat value due to presence of hollows and the future potential of hollows. The TPO application was deferred and a Local Govt Order No 21 served to make safe the trees by removing all but the trunks and portions of the 1st order laterals.

The owners appealed Council’s Order to the LEC however the appeal was dismissed and the Court saw fit to strengthen our original Order.

The above photos were tendered as evidence.

https://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/55e68d99e4b0012d84a75877

with thanks to Jason Rothery, Landscape Technical Officer for HolroydCity Council

https://www.facebook.com/urbanhabitatcreation

 

Jamison Creek Catchment Working Group

Queens Cascades Wentworth Falls

By Lachlan Garland

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.

Anyone interested in getting involved can contact me on 0415 317 078 or email lachlan.a.garland@bigpond.com

Jamison Creek Catchment Care Day

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!

Levy lego1   SoS logo   cropped-gecko.png

The Gully Get-together 2015

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.

before

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!

Upper Kedumba Planting Day

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.

SoS logo  GTO  gecko-logo  envtrust logo

Photos by Paul Vale, text by Monica Nugent

News from the Bushcare  Team February 2016

We hope this Gecko finds you well and ready for a new year of weeding, seed collection and a bit of picnicking.

At the end of 2015 we had to bid a fond farewell to Ray Richardson, a long term member of our Bushcare community when he departed the mountains for a sun-filled retirement in Albury Wodonga. As well as bushcaring, Ray spent many hours developing and updating our display materials and the BMCC weeds website. He will be sorely missed by the Homeschoolers Bushcare Group in Lawson, the Bushcare Network and the Bushcare Office.

As many of you know, Eric Mahony has been appointed to the position of Bushland Operations Coordinator. The Bushcare Team is very pleased to have the opportunity to work more closely with Eric, who has a wealth of experience in Bushland Management both from earlier roles with the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority, NPWS and as one of Council’s Bushland Management Officers for many years. Eric is coordinating all of the Council teams that carry out Council’s on-ground Bushland restoration works.

There is a series of workshops coming up this year, its called “Bushcare Boosters”. These half day training sessions will increase awareness of bushland management issues relevant to your Bushcare sites. Modules include: site planning; how and why to prepare; site safety; how to keep the group coming back; fauna management and really getting to know your site well. We’ll have more details very soon.

So now the festive season is over – its back to work!

– Monica & Erin, for the Bushcare Team, Feb 2016.