It was a pleasure to welcome and hear from Dr Peter Bridgewater, the new Chair of Landcare ACT, at the general meeting on Monday evening 10 April. Later the group discussed progress in strengthening GCG’s communication and systems of governance and strategic and financial planning, as well as current issues. GCG’s staff and executive support your care for this important catchment, including by brokering relations with ACT Directorate staff and the Green Army on your behalf. We value your feedback.
Sandy Lolicato, Ginninderra Catchment Group Convenor
9–16 April: Wild pollinator count
17 April: Landcare Habitat Restoration grant applications due
19 April: Wally Bell talk at National Museum
22 April: Bug sampling day
22&23 April: Heritage Festival events
*23 April: Mt Rogers Landcare
*23 April: Friends of Mt Painter
23 April: Kangaroo count @the Pinnacle
26 April: Kangaroo count @Aranda
28 April: Kangaroo count @Mulligans Flat
29 April: Meet Federal and ACT Politicians at Umbagong
30 April: Applications for FOG grants due
*1 May: Mt Rogers Landcare
4 May: Heritage Festival event
5 May: ACT Heritage grant applications due
*6 May: Umbagong Landcare
6 May: Tree Week walk at Hall
10 May: Kangaroo count @Mt Painter
12 May: Comments on draft Grassland Strategy due
*21 May: Friends of Mt Painter
21 May: Planting, Box-Gum woodland
28 May: Planting, Box-Gum woodland
*Wednesdays & Saturdays: North Belconnen & Junior Landcare
*Thursdays: Friends of the Pinnacle
In this issue
Wally Bell talk at National Museum
General news from the GCG office
Strategic Planning update
The GCG/SACTCG Strategic Planning is progressing. NGH Environmental has been appointed to conduct the planning process. On 30 March, a project inception meeting was attended by Karissa, Sandy Lolicato, John Connelly and Ken Hodgkinson, with SACTCG, NGH Consulting and staff of ACT NRM & Catchment Management & Water Policy. A key objective of the process is to develop a plan that the members fully own and that supports the organisation and members’ interests into the future. There will be a members’ workshop in the coming months to discuss the plan. Please contact Karissa or members of the GCG Executive if you would like to discuss. This project is supported by the ACT Government Water Policy and Catchment Management and ACT NRM.
Aboriginal Green Army team is in action!
Did you read the article about the Aboriginal Green Army team in the Canberra Times on Saturday 1 April? They were also mentioned in the article on Carp on 5 April. The team of 9 young adults (8 of whom have indigenous backgrounds) has undergone training and they are already doing great work in the Ginninderra Catchment. For example, weed control at Gubur Dhaura, John Knight Park and Umbagong. They have also been learning about local Aboriginal culture and cultural places, led by Ngunawal Elder Wally Bell. GCG and SACTCG together are coordinating the team’s activities. The Canberra Times articles are HERE (1 April) and HERE (5 April). There is also another Green Army team operating, which has been controlling woody weeds at Umbagong, Jarramlee, Macgregor and Hall. Both teams work throughout the Catchment. To book the teams, contact Karissa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Would you like to join in the Community Sampling Day on Saturday 22 April? We shall sample waterbugs at between 2 and 4 sites in Gungahlin, McKellar, and near the stepping stones (Umbagong, Latham). These samplings follow others made in the first week of April at ten other sites (there are 19 in total), helped by members of the community.
Ginninderra Waterwatch provided the ‘water bug exhibit’ at Questacon for World Water Day organised by Murray-Darling Basin Authority, which was a great success, as well as the waterbugs for Charny Carny (see below). In other news, Ginninderra Waterwatch has welcomed five new Waterwatch volunteers in recent weeks, coming mainly from CIT in Bruce. And ACT Waterwatch was in the news! See: https://www.facebook.com/WINNewsCanberra/videos/1312550805476614/
For information on the Community Sampling, contact me at email@example.com.
Kathryn Vincent, Waterwatch Coordinator
GCG was at Charny Carny
Ginninderra Catchment Group, supported by Friends of Grasslands, had a display at Charny Carny 2017 on Saturday 25 March (see photos). It was an opportunity for us to publicise what the local environment has to offer its human neighbours. We were near the Reptile Zoo display, and had a good flow of people including families (in spite of several rain showers during the day). People were interested in the selection of ‘Weed-Swappable’ weeds, and the young yabbie and its ‘colleagues’ in two water trays showed people the fun of Waterwatch. Frogs were a regular topic of conversation. Many families were given the ACT Government publications ‘Explore’ and the Nature Play CBR ‘passport’. There was interest in the aerial photo of the whole catchment (320 sq. km), and several people signed up to be added to the newsletter list. Welcome! Thank you to everyone who helped with the display, including set-up and bump-out.
Left: Geoff Robertson (Friends of Grasslands) and Karissa Preuss (Ginninderra Catchment Group Coordinator) discussing the display setup. Right: Rosemary Blemings with a visitor looking at the weeds display.
Frogs at Ginninderry – Thanks!
Thank you to the community volunteers who answered the call for help in supervising Frogwatch activities for young children at the opening weekend for the Ginninderry LINK building in Holt. Frogwatch had educational tables, which allowed children to learn about frogs and their life cycles through interactive art creation, including frog mobiles. This activity was supported by Ginninderry.
Landcare ACT update
Dr Peter Bridgewater, the new Chair of Landcare ACT, attended the General Meeting of GCG on Monday evening 10 April. He outlined LACT’s role linking the ACT catchment groups into the national landcare framework, and how LACT is working to help simplify that framework. Peri-urban development and Aboriginal landcare are among important topics engaging the LACT Board and Members Council. Peter pointed out that among humankind’s current impacts on the Earth (known as the ‘Anthropocene’) Australia’s 30 years of landcare is a very positive aspect and needs to be widely acknowledged.
Climate Change Workshop
Landcare ACT has just been announced as being awarded a grant through the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCARRF), to facilitate a workshop. The workshop will focus on ‘Being a Landcare group in the age of climate change – planning for a resilient future’. It will enable experts in the area to communicate relevant information about climate change implications in the ACT to landcarers. As part of the workshop landcarers will be assisted in developing practical adaptations to climate change in their areas. The workshop will be held during May. More information to follow.
Northern National Park feasibility
On Monday 27 March, a forum for landcarers/parkcarers discussed the proposed new Northern Canberra Region national park, which would focus on lowland grassy woodlands and include existing nature reserves. Many GCG members attended this forum, which was coordinated by Landcare ACT (ACT). Karissa Preuss and Anne Duncan (CEO LACT) has been documenting the concerns and opinions expressed. Karissa has represented Landcare ACT at two meetings of the Ministerial Reference Group focused on this northern national park proposal. LACT has been asked to submit a written submission, and information about this will be sent out soon. Contact Karissa firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the GCG office 6278 3309, for more information or if you are interested in being on the email network for this issue.
Draft ACT Native Grasslands Conservation Strategy
Native grasslands are unique ecosystems that warrant our care and attention. The draft revised ACT Native Grasslands Conservation Strategy is now available for community comment. The draft strategy offers a vision of supporting a diverse flora and fauna for now and the future. It outlines an approach to conserving native grassland species through:
- managing threats and maintaining and improving ecological connectivity and biodiversity,
- undertaking monitoring and research programs,
- partnering with the community
- enhancing the resilience of grasslands to a changing climate.
The draft strategy includes action plans targeting the protection of the Natural Temperate Grassland critically endangered ecological community, as well as seven individual species: Grassland Earless Dragon, Golden Sun Moth, Striped Legless Lizard, Perunga Grasshopper, Button Wrinklewort, Ginninderra Peppercress and Baeuerlen’s Gentian. Comments can be made until 12 May, at https://www.yoursay.act.gov.au/nativegrasslandsstrategy
‘$100 million for Landcare’ update
At last we have some information, via the National Landcare Network, regarding the additional $100 million for Landcare that was announced in the budget update in December. In the last few months the NLN, together with Landcare Australia, has been in discussions with the Australian Government and the Australian Greens to try and ensure that this money is spent in a way that will bring benefits to landcarers and farmers on the ground.
There is now confirmation that: 1) the first instalment of the funding will be available this financial year after budget announcements in May; 2) support for on-ground Landcare projects and small grants for sustainable agriculture and environmental projects will be prioritised in allocating this funding; 3) $15 million will be allocated to new Indigenous Protected Areas; 4) money will be available to support Landcare Australia in delivering the State and National Landcare Awards which celebrate the achievements of landcarers. The NLN and Landcare Australia met with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann’s office at the end of March to confirm these allocations and to discuss various aspects of the budget as they relate to Landcare. We will provide more information as it comes to hand.
For the latest National Landcare Network newsletter see HERE
In the Ginninderra Catchment as a whole
European Wasp warning!
We are currently experiencing a very dangerous European Wasp season in the ACT. The wasps are prolific along creeks, rivers and other water bodies. They are entering the breeding season and will not hesitate to sting and attack if a nest is disturbed. Please heed the warning and be cautious as these wasps are aggressive and the consequences from multiple wasp stings are very serious indeed.
An information sheet HERE includes first aid advice and tips for identifying the wasps. See also https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/607/~/european-wasps
Nests can be recorded using the eWasp app, as per the information on the brochure.
In short, please be careful, stay safe and if you get into trouble- seek immediate first aid assistance.
Jenny Conolly (Invasive Species Officer, City Services) & Alison McLeod (Community Programs Coordinator)
Meet your Federal and ACT politicians, 29 April, Umbagong
Andrew Leigh MP, the Federal Member for Fenner, would like to meet local residents of Ginninderra catchment, on Saturday 29 April, 1 pm – 3 pm. There will be a BBQ from 2 pm, preceded by a brief clean-up of rubbish that may have accumulated since Umbagong Landcare’s work on Clean-up Australia day. Local MLA Gordon Ramsay will be there as well.
Bring along your thoughts about Federal issues to discuss with Andrew, who is Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Shadow Minister for Competition and Productivity, Shadow Minister for Trade in Services and Shadow Minister for Charities and Not-for-Profits. All are welcome! Meet at the BBQs near Herron Crescent, Latham.
Kangaroo counting opportunity
This is an opportunity to volunteer to join the annual Kangaroo Count in ACT Reserves, and learn a new skill. You don’t have to be a regular volunteer at the Reserves being surveyed. Lunch will be provided for all the count days (except possibly the one at Mulligans Flat which doesn’t usually take very long).
The Pinnacle: Saturday 23 April (our biggest count, currently 16 people short)
Aranda: Wednesday 26 April (previously advertised as Thursday 27th)
Mulligans Flat Exclosures: Friday 28 April
Mt Painter: Wednesday 10 May.
If you’re interested or would like to learn a bit more about this activity, please contact Dr Melissa Snape, Fauna Ecologist, Conservation and Research, EPSDD, phone 6205 0001 or 0418 693 723, or email email@example.com
You may be interested to read about local research that has demonstrated the impacts of kangaroo grazing on biodiversity, HERE: http://www.environment.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/902449/ACT-conservation-research-the-effect-of-kangaroo-grazing-and-biodiversity-Summary-of-recent-papers.pdf
6 May: ACT Tree Week activity at Hall, ACT
As part of ACT Tree Week 2017, there will be a walk to look at and discuss the trees of Hall ‘forest’, between Hall and the Barton Highway, on Saturday 6 May, starting at 2 pm. Dr Sue McIntyre (well-known CSIRO ecologist) is leading the walk, which Friends of Grasslands has arranged. To register and find out where to meet, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Wear normal outdoor walking gear and weather/insect protection suitable for 1–2 hours ramble on easy terrain in grassy woodland (which has the usual branches, stones, etc., hidden in the grass), and bring your own drinking water.
Friends of The Pinnacle (FOTPIN) (every Thursday morning)
Our latest Update (no. 20) is now available for download from the website. This issue recaps our achievements for the season, the progress of the Pinnacle Extension and the upcoming events for this Autumn. A hazard-reduction burn is scheduled for the Weetangera and Eastern paddocks in the coming months. (Some of you may have noticed some preparatory work that the ACT Government’s Fire Management Unit has been doing.) Details and links to further information are provided in the Update, which you can download as a PDF file (#20 22 March 2017). See: http://www.fotpin.org.au/newsletters.html/. And don’t forget that there’s still time to vote for your choice of location (or nominate a new location) for our new park bench. You can still do that at: http://www.fotpin.org.au/PNR_seat-locations.php
North Belconnen Landcare (9.30 am Wednesdays & Saturdays)
Left photo: Iris (7 years old) lovingly tending one of our landcare plants in the box tree guard.
Right photo: Lenore with Iris learning how to harvest native seeds from the Vittadinia plant.
Photos by Matt Bonner.
Saying thanks: We have hosted an Easter Egg Hunt for our younger members on Wednesday 12th April as a fun way to reward their contributions and celebrate Autumn in our patch.
Facebook: Alana Hallinan has recently taken on admin for our Facebook page. As well as our normal page we have created a public page for generalised news and to promote our working bees as ‘events’. Please LIKE our page if you are on Facebook. The online presence has re-kindled interest with some families who had not attended for some time as well as bringing some new enquiries. We can often use another few pairs of helping hands. We welcome casual attendees, and that is resulting in a wide net of potential helpers.
Planting soon: Many thanks to Rosemary Blemings who has given us some plants that were left over from the recent Weed Swap. These will go into the ground very soon while the weather is suitable. Most of our children love planting so these plants will be a great resource for the Easter Holiday sessions. See our Facebook ‘events’ for more updates.
Bee B&B: We have plans to construct a bee B&B to house our wild pollinators. Some of our members have contributed to the Wild Pollinator Count over the past few years. This will provide a unique experience for our members, especially the children, to learn and support our native insects.
Tap: We have also asked for a tap to be installed on the far side of the creek. This will help immensely in drier weather when our plants are thirsty. We have some delightful rare and threatened grassland species planted which we need to care for in summer when helpers are scarce, so ‘fingers crossed’ for the request for the tap.
Our group does hands-on activities as required: planting, weeding, mulching, staking, bags around plants to protect from the upcoming frosty mornings. This is a chemical-free all-ages group, where the littlest of landcarers can become involved and learn about conservation from an early age. We also have some senior members in their 80s, as well as school-aged children, their parents and sometimes university students. The mix of ages has created a lovely community here at North Belconnen Landcare.
Lenore Hodgkinson & Alana Hallinan
Friends of Mt Painter ParkCare (3rd Sunday of the month)
The April workparty will be on Sunday 23 April 9–12, on the western slopes of Mt Painter, starting from beside the exclosure near Glenloch Gully. To get there, park on the city-bound side of William Hovell Drive at the end of the long metal guard rail, 800 m from the intersection with Coulter Drive,. Follow signs and red markers on to the reserve. We shall be cutting out woody weeds. See the full notice HERE.
Sarah Hnatiuk, Convenor
Mt Rogers Landcare (4th Sunday and 1st Monday of the month)
Our Mt Rogers working-bee on Sunday 23rd April will focus on the Tree of Heaven infestation that's been bugging our dedicated landcarers for years. We shall meet at Wickens Place, Fraser at 09.00. We'll be cutting down the saplings. Please wear long-sleeved tops as part of your ‘dress for the expected weather’ clothing, because the sap from this noxious weed can cause dermatitis for some people.
On Monday 1st May we'll meet above the easement between Carey Place (Melba) and Hammett Place (Spence) and above the ‘Tudor House’, also at 09.00 hrs.
Rosemary Blemings, Convenor
Umbagong Landcare (1st Saturday of the month)
Seven of us spent the bright sunny Saturday morning 1 April at Umbagong District Park, Latham. We worked at the rocky outcrop overlooking Ginninderra Creek, where there was plenty of Briar Rose to attack, with bright red berries ripe for the picking. However, Caroline and Eric had their sights on the Ivy which had grown under the bridge. We needed our climbing legs to help us scramble over the rocks, and I think we scared off the skinks with all our activity. After our two hours’ work the Ivy had disappeared and we had made a major dent in the Briar Rose patch. However, there is more to do and we will need to keep a watchful eye on the Ivy to make sure it doesn’t come back. It was a worthwhile effort. Thanks to all who came to work. Incidentally, there were a number of large fox dens in that area, which may show that the foxes find it easier digging in the sandy soil.
Next month, the working bee is on Saturday 6 May. I hope to see you then.
Celina Smith, Convenor
Macgregor Landcare (For working-bee dates, see Facebook)
Photos: Macgregor Landcare Group getting in among the Poplar suckers along the creek in Macgregor at a working bee on Sunday 2 April, before heading off for a well-earned coffee.
For more photos of the day’s work, as well as interesting articles and notices about the group’s events, see the Macgregor Landcare Facebook page.
Michael Favero, Convenor
Friends of Aranda Bushland (1st Sunday of the month)
Fence thinning: The dividing line between the Aranda Snow Gums and the former rural lease block 1550 is marked by a fence, which we are not allowed to remove until the block is incorporated into the Canberra Nature Park. However, on the advice of Phil Selmes, our excellent new ParkCare ranger, we are going to make it more ‘porous’, i.e. remove the netting and the lower strands of wire, as well as a couple of whole sections between star pickets. The top wire will be replaced by plastic-coated white wire to make it more visible to kangaroos.
Orchid sites in proposed burn area: We expect a fuel-reduction burn in a forested part of our reserve within the next few weeks, and in preparation we have marked out four sites that contain rare orchids – Mosquito Orchids, Gnat Orchids and Brown Beaks – for exclusion from the fire. When we were notified, none of these orchids had even poked a leaf above the ground, but the wonderful Cath Busby, a local orchid guru, knew where they were and helped us to mark them. She was especially keen to leave a good margin around each site, not so much to protect the orchids from fire, but to save them from choughs, who love to come in after a burn and scratch about, digging up the tubers and eating them.
Erosion control: Great plans are afoot in our big ugly erosion gully. Our aim is to transform it into a chain of ponds with sloping, vegetated sides, and this requires an enormous amount of branches, off-cuts, logs and general debris, which we are placing along the edges of the gully and also against the sides. In the base we are making dams of logs, secured with pickets and wire. Phil has once again been very helpful in this project.
Photos. Left: the non-porous fence. Right: Pine debris on the edge of the gully
Kangaroo count: On Wednesday 26 April there will be a kangaroo count in the Aranda Bushland. We have done counts like this twice in the past few years and the result was a few fewer than 200 each time. According to a report on ACT kangaroo numbers by Don Fletcher, the target density is between 0.6 and 1.5 per hectare, which means that in our grassland area of 26.5 hectares, we should have between 16 and 40 kangaroos!
Jenny Andrews, Convenor, FOAB
Weed Swap thanks
‘Thanks’, to several Ginninderra Catchment residents who brought in environmental weeds to Weed Swap at Canberra Sand and Gravel, Parkwood Rd, on April 1st & 2nd. At the two sites (Mugga Lane and Parkwood) more than 1300 plants were swapped (given away) to encourage gardeners to remove invasive plants from gardens. Your rates and taxes pay for the plants that are grown by members of the Australian Native Plants Society and Greening Australia's volunteers at Aranda. Two new people came to try out as facilitators of the weed–plant exchange at Parkwood. Landcarers, like Fleur and Margaret, make excellent Weed Swap explainers as they have years of experience with environmental and other weeds growing in the wrong places.
Rosemary Blemings, Weed Swap Facilitator-in-Chief
Grassland restoration project
On 30 March, the ACT Rural Fire Service (RFS) Volunteers conducted the planned autumn burn of the GCG Grassland Restoration trial plots at Croke Place, Evatt. It was an inspiring evening. The goals of GCG and RFS were mutually beneficial, with the RFS volunteers finding it a good training opportunity. This project fits within the broader Ginninderra Grassland Restoration Plan. A short film about the Grassland Restoration through Fire project can be seen HERE https://ginninderraproject.com.au/firing-up-grassland-restoration-at-ginninderra/. This project is coordinated by Ginninderra Catchment Group and North Belconnen Landcare Group, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme and support from ACT Government, CSIRO and innumerable community volunteers.
Box-Gum Woodland planting opportunity
On Sundays 21 & 28 May, 10 am –2 pm, we are all invited to help planting important native species to restore precious Box-Gum Grassy Woodland areas at CSIRO Ginninderra. The aim is to boost the quality of the woodland vegetation and the diversity of the native plants and animals. Across SE Australia only 10% of these endangered woodlands remain, and only about 5% remain in good condition. Learn more at: https://ginninderraproject.com.au/protecting-restoring-woodlands/
Look out for registration details, coming soon. For more information, contact Karissa at: email@example.com or phone the GCG office 6278 3309.
Around the region
Sources of Australian native plants
The updated edition of Sources of Australian Native Plants in the Canberra region is available HERE, should you wish to print and distribute copies.
Wild pollinator count
9 – 16 April is the week for the autumn Wild Pollinator Count. You are invited to watch a flowering plant in your garden or neighbourhood for 10 minutes on any sunny day this week, taking photos if you like, and submit your observations/descriptions of insect visitors (no need for proper ID) via the website http://wildpollinatorcount.com/. You will be helping build a database of wild pollinator activity.
ACT & region Heritage Festival events in Ginninderra Catchment
Very few! See the program (online or in Canberra Weekly) for details.
Gubur Dhaura Interpretive Artworks walk, 22 April, 10–11 am. No cost.
Gungahlin Homestead Open Day, 22 & 23 April, 10–3 pm. Gold coin.
Violets Park Commemorative Artwork launch, 4 May, 10–12. No cost.
Wally Bell talk at National Museum
Wally Bell, Ngunawal Elder, Convenor of Mulanggang Aboriginal Landcare Group, and Director of Buru Ngunawal Aboriginal Corporation, will be presenting as part of the Canberra Archaeological Society’s lecture series at the National Museum. He will talk about keeping country and culture strong and spiritual elements when dealing with a scientific approach to archaeology on his country. 6–8 pm on Wednesday 19 April. Free. Bookings to https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/wally-bell-lecture-tickets-33134738896
Landcare Habitat Restoration grants
Landcare Australia is offering 10 grants of up to $10,000 for projects focusing on biodiversity with a special emphasis on habitat restoration. The aim is to help protect endangered and vulnerable native species. Applications close at 5 pm on 17 April, and grant recipients will be announced during the week starting 12 June. Talk to Karissa, if planning to submit a grant application related to the Ginninderra Catchment and would like assistance. APPLY HERE. (https://landcareaustralia.org.au/funding-opportunities/2017-habitat-restoration-grant/)
Friends of Grasslands: small project grants
Starting in 2017, Friends of Grasslands (FOG) is offering a small number of grants of $500–$1500 each to promote investment in our understanding and management of grassy ecosystems. A grant might enable the recipient to undertake a small project or add to a bigger project. Projects might include publications, research, education, on-ground work, advocacy, publicity and training. Projects which leverage additional resources will also be favoured. FOG will publicise the projects it funds, and may offer practical in-kind support. The recipient will need to keep FOG informed of progress, such as by writing about it for the FOG newsletter, giving talks to FOG, leading FOG visits to your sites, etc.
To apply for a grant, and keep paperwork to a minimum, please send FOG a short written application explaining the nature of your proposed project. FOG recommends that you contact the sub-committee (via email to firstname.lastname@example.org) to ensure your idea fits with FOG’s objectives before you start your application. You don’t have to be a FOG member to apply.
Closing date for the initial round of grants is 30 April 2017.
ACT Heritage Grants
A reminder that applications for ACT Heritage Grants close on Friday 5 May. This annual funding program by the ACT Government aims to help the community conserve and protect ACT heritage. Priorities for this year are listed at the ACT Heritage Grants page (link below). If you have any ideas for projects that you would like assistance with, contact Karissa (email@example.com) to discuss. http://www.environment.act.gov.au/heritage/heritage-and-the-community/heritage_grants_program