Popes Glen

Post fire Gorse treatment

By Steven Fleischmann

Following the 2019 / 2020 bushfires enormous loads of soil stored weed seed was stimulated in the Popes Glen creek riparian zone, creating dense thickets of mostly Gorse and some Broom which was stifling regrowth of ferns, Acacias, Eucalyptus and other native pioneers.

Recognising a potential to undo over 30 years of restoration work, BMCC and NPWS officers moved quickly to engage contractors, in house teams and volunteers to tackle the problem.

Post fire regrowth of weeds like Gorse and Broom can present a great opportunity because it can exhaust seed stored in the soil, making long term management of the area easier.

BMCC Officers James Bevan and Steven Fleischmann and NPWS Ranger Grant Purcell agreed that a series of combined Swampcare and Remote Bushcare days were necessary to support work being undertaken by contractors and in house teams.

30 Volunteers from the Swampcare, Remote, National Parks and Landcare networks meet on Saturday 10 April at Govetts leap carpark to be supervised by staff from BMCC and NPWS.

Deliberately keeping groups small, to be mindful of environmental sensitivities post fire, volunteer groups were assigned a supervisor, an area to work, inducted into safe working methods, provided with morning tea and lunch and then walked to the areas they were assigned.

Many of the larger plumes of Gorse have been sprayed and were either dead or dying back, however, all groups reported finding large volumes of Gorse and Broom with some of the larger ones being up to a meter tall.

Due to recent flooding, work was made significantly more difficult with large volume of sediment and vegetation that had been laid flat.

By the end of the day everyone was exhausted, so the cakes and tea provided were very gratefully received.

A follow up event is planned for spring to search for plants coming into sexual maturity. This is important because Gorse and Broom produce a lot of seed that last between 50 and 85 years in the soil, and we don’t want to lose the opportunity of exhausting the historic volume of weed seed stored in the soil.

This project was made possible with funding from the Greater Sydney Local Land Services.