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Ginninderra Catchment Group News - July 2017

Ginninderra Creek Catchment – from Mulligans Flat & Gooromon Ponds to the Murrumbidgee



I’d like to welcome our new GCG Waterwatch Coordinator, Dr Bruno Ferronato. Bruno starts work on Monday 17 July, sharing a two-week handover period with Kathryn Vincent. Kathryn has done a splendid job as Acting Coordinator, expanding the GCG Waterwatch area into the Yass & Murrumbidgee River catchments – which Bruno will expand further. This month we have also celebrated NAIDOC week, see information below.

Sandy Lolicato


General news from the GCG office

Staff Changes

We are pleased to announce that we have recruited a new Waterwatch Coordinator for Ginninderra and Yass Catchments. Dr Bruno Ferronato did his PhD research looking at turtles as an indicator for Catchment health in the upper Ginninderra Catchment. He has also had considerable community engagement experience both here in Australia and in South America. Bruno will begin work with GCG on 17th July for a two week handover with Kathryn Vincent, who has been acting in the Waterwatch Coordinator role. See below a photo of Bruno working with a turtle. Thanks to Kat for her work in strengthening the GCG Waterwatch program over the last nine months and for her many years of work for GCG in paid, voluntary and Executive positions for over 5 years. Kat has a number of exciting opportunities coming up related to her Masters studies. We wish her all the best in the future.

In other staffing changes, Karissa will be working 1.5 days/week on the strategic planning process until end of September. During this time Fiona Spier, Project Officer with Southern ACT Catchment Group, will be backfilling Karissa’s position. David Wong is on leave during July and returning to work beginning September.

Waterwatch news

One of the first things new Waterwatch Coordinator Bruno will need to do is write the annual catchment health report cards for Yass and Ginninderra. These health report cards use all the water quality data collected by volunteers to create a score on the health of our waterways. You can find last year’s report with a section on the Yass catchment at:


Landcare Awards reminder

Remember that the 2017 State & Territory Landcare Awards are open for nominations for achievers you would like to recognise who are involved in protecting or improving your local environment, farm, bushland, wetland, waterway, school, region, catchment or backyard. ACT nominations are due on 31 July. See for details. (See also new award for Fish Habitat care, in Around the Region, below.)


ACT Environment Grants Now Open

The ACT Environment Grants have been announced. $200,000.00 is available in funding for community projects. A maximum limit of $50,000 applies per grant application.

The assessment criteria for the Grants emphasise the following requirements:

  • - Enhance habitat connectivity and restore ecosystem function in woodlands, grasslands and/or aquatic ecosystems in the ACT;
  • - Help manage threats to biodiversity, including weed management and pest management, in the ACT;
  • - Protect native species and ecological communities in the ACT;
  • - Enhance the biodiversity value of urban areas in the ACT; and
  • - Engage the community in on-ground environmental work

Contact Karissa if you have ideas about possible project in the Ginninderra Catchment.

Watch this quick video to establish if your projects is in scope. Click here for more information about the ACT Environment Grants, including examples of successful projects from previous rounds and to download applications. Grants close 15th August 2017


Update on the GCG Strategic Planning Process

The Strategic Planning session with Southern ACT Catchment Group was held last Wednesday 5th July at the ANU. The aim of the workshop was to get input from catchment group members and landholders early in the planning process. This is to ensure our organisations will be responding to and meeting member needs over the next 10 years.

John Feint from the ACT Catchment Management and Water Policy Team facilitated the forum. It was good to see a number of members attend. The blend of members from both catchment groups provided some great discussions and there was a lot of really positive feedback. For those who were unable to be there on the night please feel free to discuss your thoughts with Karissa.

The planning process will be further discussed at the August GCG General Meeting.


Invitation to Comment on the ACT NRM Plan

The draft ACT NRM Investment Plan has been released. ACT NRM are currently seeking feedback on the Plan from the NRM community in the ACT and Region. This is an online Plan, and can be viewed at:

The purpose of the NRM Investment Plan is to inform future investment priorities to guide the work of the Regional Body in partnership with the community, and to act as an investment prospectus to:

  • - Design and seek funding for programs and projects
  • - Strengthen existing partnerships
  • - Attract new partners and investors
  • - Broker investments between partners

The ACT Investment Plan will be discussed at the next GCG General Meeting.

GCG is providing compiled member feedback to ACT NRM, if you have comments please contact Karissa.



Planting with Mulanggang at CSIRO Field Station

GCG, in partnership with Mulanggang Aboriginal Landcare Group and the CSIRO, held a planting afternoon as part of NAIDOC Week last Thursday 6th July. Ngunawal custodian, Wally Bell spoke to participants about the Aboriginal heritage and cultural values of the CSIRO Ginninderra site, including showing a scar tree. CSIRO staff spoke about the future plans for the site and how the cultural and ecological values of the area are being protected. The day concluded with members of the public, Aboriginal Green Army and CSIRO staff planting a variety of shrubs in a protected Box Gum Woodland site.

NAIDOC by the Lake

GCG and Mulanggang Aboriginal Landcare Group held a display at the ‘NAIDOC by the Lake’ event at the Belconnen Arts Centre on Saturday 8th July.

The focus of the event was to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, while providing information and access to services and programs in Belconnen designed for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. It proved to be a very successful event with crowds all day. There was a great deal of interest in Mulanggang and Landcare in general and a number of new people signed up to be part of future GCG events.


ASOC and the Catchment Groups Art prize “People Caring for the ACT Region's Lands and Waters”

From June 22nd to July 1st the Artists Society of Canberra (ASOC) staged a landcaring-themed exhibition at the Fettlers' Workshop, Kingston. The official theme for 2017 was “People Caring for the ACT Region's Lands and Waters”. Sponsors included ICON Water and the three ACT Catchment Groups' volunteers were featured in many of the paintings.

Steve Davidson's Tackling Tree of Heaven, Mt Rogers featured a number of regular Mt Rogers landcarers as we made our marks on the Ailanthus altissima infestation that's been bugging us for years. Apart from Steve's painting, Mark Redzic's oil painting of Ginninderra Falls was exceptional given GCG's long association with protecting the ecological values Falls area.

Other paintings can be viewed at:

The importance of the messages showing our dedicated landcaring, local landscapes and people interacting with nature cannot be underestimated. Hundreds of people had been to the exhibition from the Kingston Markets even though attendance was quieter during the week. A very worthwhile way to promote the landcaring message…thanks again ASOC!

Rosemary Blemings.


Interpretive walk about Aboriginal values in Sutton Landcare

Join us for an Aboriginal interpretive walk to see an ancient Ochre Quarry, scar trees and stone artefacts and learn more about cultural values in the Sutton area from Aboriginal Elders. The walks will be led by Aboriginal custodians of the area Matilda House and/or Wally Bell, accompanied by Dave Johnston, Indigenous archaeologist and heritage manager. When: Sunday 6th August, 10 am to 12 noon and 1.30-3.30. Each walk will be followed by billy tea and damper.

Register at Eventbrite here


In the Ginninderra Catchment as a whole

White Necked Heron Sightings in Ginninderra

The beautiful, nomadic White-necked Heron (Ardea pacifica) is an uncommon visitor to urban Canberra. This bird (resplendent in its breeding plumage) spent two and a half weeks in June 2017 foraging on earthworms along the flats of Ginninderra Creek in the company of locally-common White-faced Herons. White-necked Herons are generally thought to be shy and wary, but this bird was comfortable feeding within a few metres of busy roads.

Daryl King

White Necked Heron and map of White-necked Heron sightings along the Ginninderra Creek


Friends of Mount Painter ParkCare (3rd Sunday of the month)

We have been involved with several visits by classes from Macquarie Primary School. The students climbed to the summit and enjoyed the views, climbing on the boulders and exploring the nearby slopes. We talked to them about the reserve and surrounding landscape.

Macquarie Primary School students looking out over the Molonglo Valley to the Brindabellas

Our July work party will be on Sunday the 16th from 9am until noon. We will be installing large tree guards round Drooping Sheoaks to protect the year old seedlings from nibbling kangaroos. To join us, enter the reserve between 20 and 22 Booth Crescent, Cook, and follow the gravel road uphill to your right. Continue uphill beyond the water tanks to the meeting spot at the gate. If you miss us there, take the path up to the summit and a bit beyond and you will see us to your left.

For more information: contact Sarah Hnatiuk, Convenor, on 6251 2228 or 0424 263 565 or at


Friends of Aranda Bushland (1st Sunday of the month)

Our work parties are on the first Sunday of the month, between 9 am and noon. See our website for details:

Jenny Andrews, Convenor


Friends of Mulligans Flat

The Friends of Mulligans Flat has over 400 members who have registered on our MyVolunteer database. It is through this database, supported by the Woodlands and Wetlands Trust, and FaceBook that we communicate news updates about the Mulligans Flat Wildlife Sanctuary, upcoming events and activities. Apart from the ‘standard’ park care activities (weeding and rubbish) the Friends can get involved in turtle relocation, echidna counts, bettong monitoring, bush-stone curlew feeding and assisting in a range of ANU projects.

Monthly Work Party- held on the second Wednesday of each month. Meet at the Woolshed at 9:30am.

Seasonal Work Parties- held on a Sunday morning once each season, actual dates are advised closer to the activity. We usually meet at the Woolshed at 10:00am.

Mothers’ Day Bird Walk. - Another great morning out in the Mulligans Flat Wildlife Sanctuary. Guided by our two favourite COG birdos, John and Graham, there was plenty of birds to keep the 20 plu people who came along. We even saw some bettongs hopping around!

Winter Work Party. – For the Winter Work Party on, held on 2 July, 12 Friends turned out on what was a lovely morning once the sun was shining. We ventured into the northern section of the Goorooyaroo reserve, looking for rabbit habitat and the odd weed or two. There will be more focus on the Goorooyaroo reserve as the construction of the predator proof fence commences. The surprise of the morning was a metre long brown snake sunning itself, but he disappeared quickly down his hole!

Echidnas Wanted for BBC! – Over the next 6 weeks or so the Friends will be assisting the BBC Wildlife filming team (the Team that films for David Attenborough, but Mr. Attenborough himself won’t be here). The BBC wants to film echidnas for an upcoming documentary and hope to capture sightings of echidna trains and hopefully echidna mating! The Friend’s task will be to walk areas of the Sanctuary, hopefully spotting echidnas, and assist the film crew. Let’s hope we are lucky in our searches. It should be an interesting activity.

Mark Smith, Convenor


Umbagong Landcare (1st Saturday of the month)

I hope to see you for our working bee on Saturday 5 August from 9 am.

Celina Smith, Convenor


Friends of the Pinnacle

The Friends of the Pinnacle AGM is coming up! As usual, the AGM will be held at Weetangera Primary School, this year kicking off at 2.00 pm on Sunday July 23rd.

There is likely to be a speaker for the event, hot drinks and some delicious cakes and nibbles are guaranteed.

John Brannan, FOTPIN


Around the region

Ginninderra Falls Association crowdfunding campaign

Ginninderra Falls Association is calling for crowdfunding to supplement scientific information about the Ginninderra Falls area and to raise awareness after significant concerns expressed by the community and ecologists about the fire risk and risk to threatened species in the area. Ginninderra Catchment Group has been very involved in pushing for better environmental outcomes in the area. The decision to rezone a large area of E3 (Environmental Management) in the vicinity of Ginninderra Falls to R1 (General Residential) will likely go before the Yass Valley Council within the next couple of months so it is crunch time in terms of decisions made in relation to this important area.

The link to the crowdfunding campaign can be found at:


Public Meeting

All Welcome! Thursday August 3rd 2017, 5:30pm – 6pm, Aranda Fire Station, Bindubi Street AGM Reports and Committee Election will follow at 6pm – 7pm

Guest Speaker - Bushfire Threats to ‘Ginninderry’. Presentation by Pr. Jason Sharples & Dr. Doug Finlayson


New Landcare award for Fish Habitat protection (NSW)

A late addition to the 2017 NSW Landcare Awards is the inaugural NSW Fish Habitat Award, supported by the NSW Fish Habitat Partnership. Healthy fish habitats accessible by fish at all life stages, and access to clean and adequate water, are important factors supporting healthy native fish populations. The NSW Fish Habitat Award will consider people or groups ‘that implement exceptional on-ground works and/or those whose efforts to promote and enable others to contribute are achieving significant outcomes for fish habitat in NSW’. See and for details. Nominations close on 17 July.


K2C Forum – Achieving Success in Community Engagement

At a free K2C workshop/forum on Friday 21 July, 9.30–3.15, Debbie Hunt and Alison Whealing of NSW Office of Environment and Heritage will be showing participants how to create a formula for success in community engagement. Lunch and teas are provided. To register for this forum, which will be at Jerrabomberra, contact Geoff Robertson by email to or phone 0403 221 117 or 02 6241 4065. Details at:


NPA Bushfire Management Symposium – Balancing the Risks

Friday 21 July & Saturday 22 July, with a free field trip to Aranda on Sunday 23 July.

A community symposium organised by National Parks Association and Conservation Council ACT Region, to discuss research, strategies and expectations for fire management in the ACT in a changing climate. Desired outcome: an informed ACT community able to contribute positively to ACT Government policy, goal setting and strategic directions of fire management. Registration: 8.30 am Friday and Saturday at Pilgrim House, 69 Northbourne Avenue, Civic ACT. $110 for 2 days; $60 for 1 day.

Draft program:


Native Bees and Pollinator Workshop

Are you intrigued by the role of pollinators in food systems? Concerned about global decline of bees? Interested in increasing numbers of pollinators in your local environment? If you answered yes, join us on Friday the 28th of July (Queanbeyan) or Sunday 30th of July (Michelago) for a day all about bees.

  • We will spend the morning learning about;
  • The importance of pollinators
  • Plant/ bee co-evolution
  • The role of honeybees in food security
  • The pollinator crisis
  • Alternative pollinators

After lunch, we will learn how to encourage native bee populations in our environment by building bee hotels!

When: Friday 28 July, 9.00am – 3.00pm Where: Riverside Oval Clubhouse, 14-20 Carinya St Queanbeyan

RSVP: by 25th July to


When: Sunday 30 July, 9.00am – 3.00pm

Where: Ryrie Street Michelago

RSVP: by 27th July to


National Tree Day: 30 July Greening Australia Planting, Urambi Hills NR

9:30–12:30 (followed by a free BBQ) at Urambi Hills NR (entry at corner Learmonth Dr and Meredith Circuit, Kambah). Buses return by to City West or Woden bus stations by 2.30 pm.

This planting will help provide habitat for woodland animals and improve connectivity between the Murrumbidgee River corridor and remnant vegetation in Urambi Hills. For those keen, there will be short guided walks to talk about the flora and fauna in the area. Bus pickups: 8.30 am at City West, cnr Marcus Clarke St and University Ave; 9.00 am at Woden bus station bay 18.

RSVP essential, including your choice of transport, to: or 02 6253 3035.


14 October: 46th Black Mountain spring wildflower ramble

9.30 am (sharp) – 12 noon or later, at Belconnen Way entry just before Caswell Drive turnoff (look for balloons).


16–19 October: 19th NSW Weeds Conference, Armidale NSW

For details, see


2017 NSW Landcare & Local Land Services Conference, Albury NSW

25–27 October. For details, see Main registration ends on 25 September.



Ginninderra Catchment Group is grateful for support from