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Ginninderra Catchment Group news - May 2017

From the Convenor

The catchment group needs a Secretary! This is a voluntary role and is not onerous: it consists primarily of taking and compiling minutes of the monthly general and executive meetings (alternate first Monday evenings of the month). I also draw your attention to the advertisement below for a new Waterwatch Coordinator for GCG. This paid part-time position contributes hugely to maintaining good water quality in Ginninderra Creek, its tributaries and waterbodies. There has been lots of activity this month, as you can read below, including GCG hosting Andrew Leigh and Gordon Ramsey at a Clean-up Day at Umbagong. 

Sandy Lolicato

In this issue

From the GCG Office: Budget relief; Applications for Waterwatch Coordinator job; Box-Gum woodland planting days; Collect achievements for GCG’s strategic planning; Frogwatch call for helpers; Urban green open space field trip; Waterwatch & Frogwatch news; Sustainable agriculture; Weed priorities; Ginninderry development meeting; Mowing issues; Submission on Draft ACT Grasslands Strategy.

In the catchment as a whole: Jaramlee; Mulligans Flat; The Pinnacle; Mt Painter; Umbagong.

Around the region: Climate change workshop; H2OK demo sites grants; Northern national park; Ginninderry choir; Dead rabbits?; NSW Landcare & LLS conference; NSW TSR review; Poetry about frogs.

General news from the GCG office

Landcare relieved by Federal Budget

In the Federal Budget on 9 May, we heard the Australian Government has secured $1 billion funding for the National Landcare Programme over five years, beginning July 2019. The additional $100 million funding that was announced in December 2016 has been allocated for on-ground projects by Landcare groups and sustainable agriculture grants, in addition to being used for new Indigenous Protected Areas. The funds will also support the work of the National Landcare Network and Landcare Australia. For more information see https://landcareaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/MEDIA-RELEASE-Landcare-Relieved-at-Govt-Funding_170511_FINAL.pdf

Applications are invited for the GCG Waterwatch Coordinator job

Ginninderra Catchment Group requires a Waterwatch Coordinator to work with volunteers, community groups and stakeholder organisations to promote and implement Waterwatch objectives and monitor water quality in the catchment of Ginninderra Creek and other nearby parts of NSW. This (paid) part-time appointment is from July 2017 until 30 June 2018, in the first instance.
The Coordinator needs to have:

  • understanding of environmental issues affecting catchments;
  • an outgoing manner, with good skills in communication, organisation, project management, computing and administration;
  • a sound understanding of freshwater ecology, freshwater-monitoring techniques, macroinvertebrates and riparian vegetation.

For the full advertisement and details, please email landcare@ginninderralandcare.org.au.

CSIRO Ginninderra Development – help plant some trees!

GCG is helping CSIRO organise planting days to revegetate part of the CSIRO Ginninderra field station Box-Gum woodland areas. Sunday 21 May 10am–2pm will be a planting day for the GCG (and wider) community. Then Sunday 28 May 10am–2pm will be a planting day specifically for the Hall and Wallaroo Landcare Groups. Approx. 12 ha are to be revegetated in all. A free lunch will be provided, and you will also be given an introduction to woodland ecology. Learn more at: https://ginninderraproject.com.au/protecting-restoring-woodlands/   Register at https://events.csiro.au/Events/2017/April/6/Ginninderra-Community-Planting-Days.  Alternatively, email Karissa Preuss, at landcare@ginninderralandcare.org.au to register as a member of the GCG community.

Strategic Planning update: Note achievements!

Recording the achievements made by the groups that are part of GCG will be an important part of the Strategic Planning process which is about to get underway. Please contact your local Landcare or ParkCare group convenor with group or general GCG achievements you consider are, or have been, important over GCG’s 21 years. The compilation will be put forward in the joint Strategic Planning workshop (with Southern ACT Catchment Group). The Strategic Planning workshop will be held on Friday 30 June, facilitated by the consultant NGH Environmental. The workshop will occupy half a day and all interested catchment group members are invited. More details will be available soon.

Frogwatch Climate Change project & Strathnairn – please help!

The Frogwatch Climate Change project starts again soon, on 1 June. This involves weekly monitoring at sites across ACT (Mt Majura, Duffy area, Weston Park), as well as in our catchment at Mulligans Flat, Dunlop Grasslands Dam and Fraser. We need volunteers to do the weekly visits at Mulligans Flat and Dunlop: individuals, or teams/groups organising yourselves via a group-specific doodle roster or a site/team-specific email group. Contact Anke Maria for more details.

Frogwatch also urgently needs a volunteer as the Frogwatcher who monitors, weekly, three adjacent ponds at Ginninderry/Strathnairn will be away for the next two weeks. Please contact Anke Maria (frogwatch@ginninderralandcare.org.au/ phone 02 6278 3309) if you are free to visit Strathnairn after dark sometimes for this purpose.

(And for a froggy poem see the end of this newsletter!)

Management of Urban Greenspace field trip

On Thursday 11 May, Ginninderra Catchment Group hosted a field trip focussed on improving management of urban open space for conservation. This field trip brought together people working in restoration of urban greenspace and looked at how to improve knowledge sharing and cooperation among community groups, researchers and ACT Government. The field trip began with GCG staff and members explaining the role of Urban Landcare and ACT Catchment Groups in conserving Urban Open Space. The Ginninderra Catchment Group grassland restoration through prescribed fire and planting project at Croke Place was a key site visited, with Dr Ken Hodgkinson presenting. There was also an explanation of the ANU/Greening Australia research area at Barrer Hill (lower Molonglo valley) and projects being undertaken at Ginninderry. It was an interesting afternoon, which stimulated discussions that will be continued in the coming months.

Waterwatch news

Ginninderra Waterwatch has almost completed sampling for waterbugs at all our 22 sites (in this catchment and at a new site in Yass on Chinaman’s Creek, monitoring inflows into the Yass River). Presence or absence of particular groups of waterbugs indicates the ecological health and water quality of our streams. This autumn we have found more of some waterbug groups that are relatively sensitive to pollution (i.e. are not present in polluted waters), and populations of waterbugs in general have been larger also.

Ginninderra Waterwatch would like to congratulate our site coordinators on their improved skills in sampling methods and waterbug identification, since the workshop last spring. Our RARC assessments (rapid assessment of riparian condition) of the catchment’s river and creek banks will be completed by June, for the Catchment Health Indicators Program (CHIP) report for ACT for 2016-17. A workshop for Waterwatch volunteers, on methods quality and algae, will be on 21 May in Bredbo, NSW. More details from Kat Vincent, Waterwatch Coordinator, waterwatch@ginninderralandcare.org.au.

Frogwatch: in the media & training workshop

Our Frogwatch Coordinator Anke Maria Hoefer was in mainstream and social media recently about a project that has developed remote survey devices to monitor frog calls, based on mobile phone technology!! This is a fantastic collaborative initiative developed by Frogwatch and a University of Canberra team. It helps show how much science values an understanding of frogs and their habits and habitats. Here are a few links for a catch up:
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/university-of-canberra-scientist-eavesdroping-on-frogs-before-they-croak-20170427-gvthcj.html
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-26/frog-watchers-using-baby-monitors-to-keep-eye-on-mother-nature/8473358
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=59711532124&story_fbid=10155405393647125

Frogwatch is running a workshop on Tuesday 30 May, about making a frog-friendly garden and pond, at ANU Environment Centre, Acton, from 6 pm. Book at https://www.canberraenvironment.org/workshops/2017/5/30/frog-friendly-gardens/.

Sustainable agriculture

Karissa, Landcare ACT and the other Catchment Groups are developing the next phase of the sustainable agriculture grant, funded through the federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. This project ‘Building resilience in productive landscapes in the ACT region’ is focussed on providing capacity building for rural landholders. Landholders in the region have completed a survey, and the results have begun to be analysed to determine targeted workshops. One Regional Workshop will likely be focussed on weeds. GCG will also run 5 local workshops in the Hall/Wallaroo area this calendar year, with the first about erosion control. 

Weed priorities in the catchment

Jenny Conolly (ACT Government Weeds Officer) has suggested that weed control priorities in the Ginninderra Catchment should include Willows along the Ginninderra Creek. At a recent meeting with Karissa Preuss and Dave Wong, Jenny congratulated GCG on our Blackberry control, and reiterated the need to continue that work. Serrated Tussock in the northern Canberra rural areas was also identified as important, and grassland weeds will also continue to be a priority as part of the GCG Grassland Restoration Strategy.

Blackberry has been sprayed in the Hall area as part of the ACT Environment Grant. The program was greatly helped by GCG volunteers reporting blackberry locations. GCG also partnered with ACT Parks & Conservation and TCCS to control blackberry at a site that supports Ginninderra Peppercress, a threatened species unique to this catchment. ACT Government provided additional funding for the work, and oversaw the spraying. One contractor has finished spraying blackberry sites along the creek. Another contractor will shortly be engaged to spray a dense infestation at Hall Travelling Stock Reserve. GCG is working with the NSW South-East Local Land Services to arrange for follow-up work.

One of the spray contractors has located Alligator Weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) on the creek. Please watch out for this weed and report any you see, via Canberra Nature Map or to the GCG office, including the GPS coordinates, or a map or detailed description of the location and a photo. The image here is from the web (Agriculture Victoria):

Ginninderry Development (Riverview)

Members of the GCG executive met in April with Yass Valley Councillors to brief them on issues pertaining to Ginninderra Falls and the proposed NSW part of Ginninderry. Ecological issues, and Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (Wally Bell), and planning issues (John Connelly), and a summary of issues (Robyn Coghlan) and fire risk (Jason Sharples, ADFA) were discussed.

Mowing issues

GCG has had considerable success with a change in mowing procedures at Want Place, Umbagong. Mowing can have a negative impact in the areas where Landcare groups work. It can increase weed spread, and mowing over tube-stock. GCG has been improving information in ACT Government City Services mapping system and pushing to put better systems in place – for example, arranging for mower operators to meet with reps from Landcare groups at important sites before commencing work. This year, GCG coordinated a meeting between City Services, Umbagong Landcare, Friends of Grasslands and contacts from the mowing team about mowing at Umbagong. During early April a mow was conducted in the area (which contains Natural Temperate Grassland), and Umbagong Landcare Group and Friends of Grasslands were generally happy with the outcome.

Submission regarding ACT Grassland Strategy

GCG actively works in restoring native grasslands in the Catchment, and we prepared a submission on the ACT Government’s Draft ACT Native Grassland Conservation Strategy. Overall, GCG welcomes this document and particularly the statement in the opening vision, which states: ‘Native grasslands are a unique ecosystem that warrants care and attention. By working together we can conserve these areas for now and the future’. However, our submission noted that more work needs to be done to ensure that this draft document lives up to that vision of ‘working together’. GCG would like to see greater reference to community groups working in the area and more opportunities for community-government partnerships.

In the Ginninderra Catchment as a whole

Jaramlee Park Landcare (1st Saturday of the month)

We had a very successful working bee on Saturday morning 6 May, in the floodway between Ginninderra Drive and Jarramlee Pond. We removed dead bushes and branches that were overhanging the path, and picked up rubbish. There is a lot of African Lovegrass coming up along the edges of paths and there is St John's Wort near Gooromon Ponds Creek by the outlet from Fassifern Pond. Some tall African Lovegrass has been sprayed by the roadside at Fassifern Pond. We are having another working bee on Saturday 3 June, 10.30 am. Meet on the floodway path, Jarramlee Park, Dunlop.

Six Eurasian Grebes were seen together on Jarramlee Pond a week or so ago, and four Hardheads and a large Egret. Two Gang Gang cockatoos were feeding on the berries in a White Cedar in our garden on 4 May. We haven't seen these cockatoos in this area for many years. We also get occasional King Parrots on these trees.

Our next Landcare group meeting is on Tuesday 13 June, 7.30 pm, at 26 Pomeroy St Dunlop.

Pamela Fawke, Convenor

Friends of Mulligans Flat (2nd Wednesday of the month)

The Friends of Mulligans Flat has almost reached 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, on the second Wednesday of each month. Meet at the Woolshed at 9:30am.

Previous workparties’ activities have included the usual weeding, but with wands aimed at the autumn flush of PC rosettes, checking of Bettong exclosure fences and some small-scale erosion control after last year’s heavy rainfalls.

   

Winter Work Party – planned for early July on a Saturday or Sunday.

A Mothers’ Day Bird Walk was held on Sunday 14 May, 9–11.30 am. More info in the next newsletter.

Mark Smith, Convenor

Friends of The Pinnacle (FOTPIN) (every Thursday morning)

1. Annual Kangaroo count. Thank you to all the stalwart volunteers who turned up to help with the annual kangaroo count at the Pinnacle. The official total from the morning and afternoon sweeps is 297, which is exactly 4 more than were counted last year. (Bear in mind that this includes the leased land and the Tully paddocks between the reserve and William Hovell Drive.) Special thanks to those who stayed on for both counts, and also to Mel Snape and her colleagues from PCS for organising the count so well and for providing a delicious lunch for everyone. This is one of the most important activities that FOTPIN is involved in, so it is very pleasing that a good result was achieved, despite slightly less than optimal volunteer numbers and some minor interference from our friendly neighbourhood protester. Please consider helping out with next year’s count — we’re always looking for more volunteers. If you’re interested in how roo numbers at the reserve have changed over the years, check out the Kangaroos page on the website http://www.fotpin.org.au/kangaroos.html.

2. ParkCare 25th Anniversary seat. The recent poll we ran on people’s preferred locations for our ParkCare Anniversary seat produced a clear winner. Predictably, the spot on the summit of the Pinnacle garnered by far the largest number of votes, so I have contacted the PCS rangers to arrange to have the seat installed. The exact location will have to be decided by the guys doing the installation, but I’m aiming for a spot that has a nice view, is close to the track and gets some shade during the hot months.

3. Autumn bird walk. Sunday May 21st, 9.00 am at Dungowan St, Hawker. I will be leading a stroll through the reserve to look at the local resident birds and the migratory species that have returned to the reserve to spend the winter with us. If you’d like to come along, just turn up with your binoculars and/or your camera. Wear sturdy footwear (we’ll probably be going offtrack at least some the time), dress for the weather and bring along some water. These walks usually finish by 11 or 11.30 am.

4. Reserve Clean-up Day and BBQ. Sunday 4 June, 10.00 am at the car park on Springvale Drive, opposite De Salis St, Weetangera: come along for a couple of hours and help us to make The Pinnacle even more beautiful. We’ll provide gloves and rubbish bags, so just wear appropriate clothing and bring some water to drink. There’ll be a BBQ and hot drinks at the end for the willing workers. Please let me know if you’re planning to attend. Just reply to this email or phone me on 0405 331 405.

John Brannan, Convenor

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

1. Bird Walk with Nicki Taws. On 2 April, Nicki Taws led an immensely informative walk among the trees and shrubs on the east side of the hill and down the connecting corridor that runs through the horse paddocks. With Nicki’s amazing capacity to identify every call she hears, she was able to locate and point out to us many small birds that we would have missed had we been on our own. We saw 28 species, of which it was especially good to see two Scarlet Robins and a Speckled Warbler, whose numbers are declining in the ACT and elsewhere. We ended the walk just over the fence in the horse paddocks (left photo below) where we inspected all that remains of one of the early settler’s homes (see old photo of it, below): a stone cottage where Donald McDonald and his family lived on land he leased on the east side of the hill. The only sign of the dwelling now are the footings and a half-buried scatter of rocks from the walls.

   

2. CIT students record the old eucalypts on Mount Painter. At Friends of Mount Painter’s request, CIT environmental science students are making an inventory of old trees on the hill. Among other things, they are collecting information about the trees' locations, how big and healthy they are, and whether they have mistletoe growing on them and hollows where animals might find shelter. This survey complements one they carried out last year during which they recorded the locations of more recently planted trees. The availability of this information means that future land managers and Landcarers will be able to follow the success of Mount Painter plantings. The photo below shows the students measuring canopy width and consulting their course coordinator.

3. Our May workparty is on Sunday 21 May, 9am – 12 noon. We shall be cutting out woody weeds, starting from the water tanks. To reach the location, enter the reserve between 20 and 22 Booth Crescent, Cook, and follow gravel road uphill to water tanks. Wear sturdy footwear and clothes to protect you from the sun, cold, prickly weeds and seeds. All tools provided. No experience needed. Bring some drinking water, a mug and some food to share for morning tea. Other drinks provided. For more information: contact Sarah Hnatiuk on phones 6251 2228 or 0424 263 565, or email  friends.of.mount.painter@gmail.com

Sarah Hnatiuk, Convenor

Umbagong Landcare (1st Saturday of the month)

On Saturday afternoon 29 April Umbagong hosted a visit by Andrew Leigh (Federal MP for Fenner) and Gordon Ramsay (ACT Attorney General and local resident). We showed these politicians and their staff and other community member the work we are doing at Umbagong. Dr Ken Hodgkinson was there and he gave them a tour of his fire plots. Sandy Lolicato (Convenor) and Karissa (Catchment Group Coordinator) from Ginninderra Catchment Group also attended and filled in everyone on other work being done in the Ginninderra Catchment. The aim of the visit was to help with cleaning up the park: we made the most of this and were able to get two kids’ bikes and a fish trap out of the creek (see photos). We then all had a yummy sausage supplied by the politicians. Thanks to all who were able to attend this lovely sunny afternoon in Umbagong, and thanks to Lucy for the photos (leftmost two).

Here is what Andrew Leigh’s newsletter says about the day (it includes the right-hand photo below): ‘In terms of local social capital, I’ve recently worked with Michael Pettersson MLA on a clean-up of Yerrabi Ponds in Gungahlin, and with Gordon Ramsay MLA on a cleanup of Umbagong Park in Latham. Thanks to those community members who’ve come out to join us.’

Umbagong Landcare’s next workparty will be on Saturday 3 June.

Celina Smith, Convenor

      

Around the region

Climate change adaptation – what does it mean for landcarers?

Landcare ACT is holding a workshop focussed on the impacts of climate change on landcarers and practical responses that landcarers can take to adapt to climate change. The workshop will be held on Wednesday 7 June, 8.45am4.00pm. Speakers include: Prof Mark Howden, Director ANU Climate Change Institute, about the challenge of climate change adaptation and what it might mean for the ACT; Prof Peter Bridgewater, Chair, Landcare ACT, about the role of landcare in climate change; Dr Nola Hancock, Macquarie University, about the climate-ready revegetation guide; Alison Elvin, Natural Capital Ltd (Gundaroo), about native grasses and pastures as natural adapters; and Steve Taylor, ACT Parks and Conservation Service, about the outlook for weed management. Morning presentations will be followed by a facilitated workshop in the afternoon. The workshop is funded through the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCARRF). For more information and to register contact Anne Duncan at admin@landcareact.org.au.

H2OK Keeping our Waterways Healthy Demonstration Sites Grants Program

The ACT Government has organised a Demonstration Sites Grants Program for their H2OK project.

As part of the ACT and region H2OK Keeping our Waterways Healthy Stormwater Education Program, the Demonstration Sites Grants Program will provide $80,000 to urban and rural residential property owners in the ACT, Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council, Snowy Monaro Regional Council (Murrumbidgee River Catchment area only) and Yass Valley Council for best practice demonstration stormwater management projects.

The Demonstration Sites Grants Program is designed to promote behaviour change about the way we treat stormwater on our block. Urban residents (single residence and dual occupancy properties only) can receive up to $3,000 and owners of rural residential properties (up to 40 hectares) up to $7,500. Examples of eligible projects include: Building a rain garden; Disconnecting downpipes; Rainwater tank disconnection; Rainwater tanks, mini-tanks or barrels; Water sensitive gardens, swales and mulch; Nature strip treatments; Pervious and permeable paving; Dry wells and infiltration systems; Composting systems; Erosion control (rural); Managing grazing and preserving ground cover (rural). Funding recipients will be required to agree on an arrangement to open their properties to the public to show what they have done with the funding.

Applications close at 4 pm on Monday 29 May 2017. More information about the grants and how to apply can be found at www.act.gov.au/h2ok or call 13 22 81.

Northern National Park proposal

Landcare ACT has sent a written submission to the Ministerial Reference Group, based on consultation with members of this catchment and the broader landcare community. There is the general sense that the Northern National Park, while identifying a number of issues, is not the best mechanism to achieve desired NRM outcomes in the ACT. For more information contact Karissa, landcare@ginninderralandcare.org.au.

With one voice Ginninderry’ – singing opportunity

With One Voice Ginninderry is your choir! Rehearsals are held every Tuesday from 5.30 to 7.30pm at Uniting Care Kippax Corner of Hardwick Crescent and Luke Street Holt. Please drop in and join us anytime. With One Voice Ginninderry unites people of all ages, from all faiths and all walks of life: migrants, people with disabilities, job seekers, executives, seniors, students, refugees, asylum seekers and more. No prior experience needed, no auditions, everyone can sing. To be part of the With One Voice Ginninderry family all you need to do is come along and sing with us. No previous singing experience needed, no auditions, everybody can sing, everybody is welcome.

Seen any dead rabbits recently?

Researchers are tracking the effectiveness of a new strain of calicivirus released nationwide in March. Please use Rabbit Scan, either the app (Android or Apple) or the website https://www.feralscan.org.au/rabbitscan/,to report any dead rabbit you find and to request a sampling kit. If you request a sampling kit, please bag, label and freeze the rabbit until your kit arrives. Full instructions on how to take a sample can be found on either the app or the website.

NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference

This conference will be held during 25–27 October, at the Albury Entertainment Centre, Albury, NSW, hosted by Landcare NSW and Murray Local Land Services, and is being coordinated in partnership with local Landcare and community groups. It is the premier event to showcase sustainability, Landcare and volunteering across NSW and includes the annual Landcare Muster and the NSW State Landcare Awards. The theme for the Conference is ‘Sharing our Stories’. Conference topics will focus on agriculture, biodiversity, water and Aboriginal Landcare. See http://nswlandcareconference.com.au/.

NSW Travelling Stock Reserve review

The NSW Government is seeking the community’s input on the Travelling Stock Reserve (TSR) network in NSW to ensure it remains connected, viable and well maintained. There are more than 6500 TSRs on Crown land in NSW, covering approximately two million hectares. The Crown Lands Management Review in 2012 found that many TSRs are no longer used for their original purpose. A new comprehensive review of the network will examine the parcels of land required for the TSR network in the future.

The aim of the TSR review is to determine which TSRs are still used or required for the original purpose they were set aside for and to determine if they are important for other reasons. This information will feed future decisions about how this land can be best reserved, managed and owned, and will also be used to develop a comprehensive map of the TSR network in NSW — where they are, what they are now used for, who uses them and how often.

Information about this is at http://open.lls.nsw.gov.au/TSR-review/, where you can also submit your comments and feedback, by 5 pm on 22 June.

Poetry – about frogs

Here is a frog poem, written by Ari Matthews, age 10, after taking part in the annual Tadpole Kits program!! It was actually presented/written up in the outline of a frog!! Fantastic effort!!

Frogs like to splash around in puddles galore,
and wetlands
and grasslands
and dams, lakes and more.

Frogs have moist skin 
and big bulgy eyes,
which compared to our eyes
are quite small in size.

Frogs have long bouncy legs
and wide padded feet,
they eat insects and spiders,
they only eat meat.

Frog babies are tadpoles
that hatch out from eggs.
Tadpoles have gills
until they grow legs

If there weren’t any frogs
it might mean we don’t have good bogs.

………………

 

Ginninderra Catchment Group is grateful for support from