The Catchment Health Indicator Program report is the culmination of all our Waterwatch data collection for the 2014-15 year. It combines the water quality data you collect each month with the water bug surveys we do in autumn and spring, and this year for the first time also includes riparian assessment scores that rate vegetation and habitat health for [almost] every site.
We worked hard to include all the great feedback from last year’s CHIP report, and I think you’ll agree it has resulted in a very useful and beautiful report this year that describes water and catchment health, reach by reach, in a very accessible way. And we managed to get it done in time for Water Week. Thank you all for making it possible! More and more it is being used by local governments to help make management decisions, so you should feel even more proud of your contribution.
The report includes Waterwatch data from over 11,000 sq. km of catchments in the Upper Murrumbidgee region, from the 5 sub-catchments: Cooma, Southern ACT, Ginninderra, Yass and of course Molonglo.
You can download the 2014-15 CHIP report from here: www.act.waterwatch.org.au/Chip.html
It’s quite a big file at 9MB, even though this is the medium image quality version. You can also come into the office and see the lovely printed version with high quality images and maps. And if you are really keen, Deb can get you a copy.
As the carp breeding season starts, the Carp Love 20 Degrees campaign seeks to raise community awareness of the impact carp and other feral fish have on our waterways. It also aims to improve knowledge of carp distribution, movements and breeding hotspots in the upper Murrumbidgee River catchment area.
Help us map carp hotspots and where they breed to improve our understanding of their behaviour and identify opportunities for control. This will put you in the running to win a tablet or other prizes (this is an ACT Govt competition, not a commercial one).
Watch out for carp aggregation, feeding and breeding behaviours. If you see fish in groups, "wallowing" in shallow water exposing their backs and rolling around, or doing lots of splashing or chasing, note the day, time, location, and estimate of number and size of fish, (perhaps take a photo or video) then record your sighting on the website or using the app.
Visit www.act.waterwatch.org.au/Feral%20Fish.html#carp for details about the campaign and the competition, to find out how to identify carp and other feral fish species, and for information on the Feral Fish Scan website where you can record your sightings. Waterwatchers are more likely than many people to see carp activity, and this competition is open to you all. Please spread the word too so we get more people out there watching and recording carp activity. We are also interested in details of other feral fish sightings.
FeralFishScan is a new community website dedicated to collecting evidence of feral fish (also known as pest fish) in the Upper Murrumbidgee catchment.
Species such as European carp, Redfin perch, Goldfish, Gambusia and Oriental weatherloach are found in many areas of the upper Murrumbidgee catchment, but exactly where they occur is poorly known. These species are directly impacting on our native fish and aquatic fauna in many ways, including the spread of disease/parasites and predation on the young and eggs of native species.
Some pest fish can also affect the health of our rivers, lakes and creeks by compounding the effects of degradation from other sources, which in turn can affect the ability for native fish and aquatic fauna to thrive and breed.
Although we know roughly how these species are impacting our rivers, lakes and creek systems, we don’t have detailed catchment-wide data on where these pest fish are found or their numbers. We need your help to address this knowledge gap to better manage the effects of pest fish throughout our wonderful catchment.
You can help by recording sightings of pest fish in the FeralFishScan community mapping facility throughout our catchment area. This data will then be available for everyone to see and use.
Carp are a major problem in the upper Murrumbidgee catchment. Knowing more about carp in our catchment is really important! They are one of our worst aquatic pests and can breed up very quickly. Mapping carp hotspots and where they breed is important for understanding their behaviour and identifying opportunities for control. Carp are often thought to require large and warm wetlands to breed, but we have very few of those types of wetlands, and we still have lots of carp! We need your help to fill in the pieces of this Carp Puzzle.
The Land Development Agency (LDA) and Greening Australia have collaborated to create the Molonglo Valley Local Native Plant Guide to assist residents in selecting plants for their gardens. Visit the LDA website to access the Guide and for more information about the plant issue from Yarralumla Nursery for new home buyers
Canberra Nature Map (Android) on Google Play Store
A major milestone, finally, the CNM Android app went live in the early hours
of 18 January and is available at:
Features and improvements
As always, the app works 100% offline without any mobile reception which was one of the core principles of the original design, so you can rely on it when in remote areas. And it also stays in sync with any changes happening on the main CNM web site by prompting you when it needs to update the taxonomy ( this includes addition/removal/update of species, addition/removal of categories, refreshing of images, refreshing of icons etc ). The ACT's trusted taxonomy for rare and endangered plants and now growing list of animal species is quickly expanding and as a result, is always being improved, tightened and re-structured, so the fact that the app remains in sync with this constant level of change, was another really important design principle.
It is actually a pretty high tech little piece of gear that I'm really proud of. Other various technical improvements have been included to improve the stability of the app.
We need your feedback!
Visit the Canberra Nature Map website for more information.
Weed management in the ACT and regional communities will be easier with the launch of the ACT and Southern Tablelands Weed Spotter website and smartphone app, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell, said today.
“Combating noxious weeds is problematic all around Australia, but we now have another way to help weed them out,” Mr Corbell said while launching the new applications at the Atlas of Living Australia Science Symposium.
“The new online and smartphone applications allow Landcarers and ParkCarers, farmers and governments to upload information that helps document and map weeds and weed control efforts in the region onto a public, Google Maps based interface hosted by the Atlas of Living Australia website.
The applications project has been a collaboration between The Atlas of Living Australia, ESDD, ACT Parks and Conservation Service, 10 NSW local government areas represented by Palerang Shire Council, the Molonglo, Southern ACT and Ginninderra catchment groups, Landcare and ParkCare volunteers, and the Conservation Council.
Visit the Weed Spotter portal at www.ACT-STWeedSpotter.net.au
Read more about the ACT and Southern Tablelands Weed Spotter app at http://root.ala.org.au/bdrs-core/act-esdd/bdrs/public/static/blank1.htm
Adapted from ACT Government Media Release dated 18/07/2014
Canberrans are urged to be on the lookout for infestations of the pest plant Madagascan Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) which have been detected in Forde, Franklin, Chisholm, Casey, Lyneham, Crace and Coombs.
"Infestations of Madagascan Fireweed have been detected in recently laid couch turf in nature strips and other public and private land in the area. It is thought the weed was brought into the ACT as seeds in the imported couch turf," Stephen Hughes, Biosecurity Manager said.
"ACT Government weed management staff are undertaking a program to control the weed incursion as quickly as possible and remove the plants before it flowers and its seeds spread.
"Our weeds team will be conducting further surveys to determine the extent of the infestation and will also conduct letterbox drops and erect signage to inform local residents.
"Madagascan Fireweed is a small multi-stemmed daisy-like plant with bright yellow flowers often with 13 petals. It is often 10 to 60 centimetres tall. Like a daisy, the weed produces fluffy wind borne seeds. Plants can produce tens of thousands of seeds, making it highly invasive.
"A major concern is the toxicity of Madagascan Fireweed to horses and grazing livestock. If ingested it can cause liver damage in these animals similar to the effects of toxins found in Paterson's Curse.
"Madagascan Fireweed is considered one of the most damaging weeds to grazing land and the environment. It initially invades land along roadsides before spreading into neighbouring pastures and nature reserves. Locating and eradicating the weed quickly will save the ACT significant expenditure in future weed control and protect our native fauna and grazing lands.
"Due to its bright yellow flowers, Madagascan Fireweed is likely to be noticed by passing motorists. I urge residents to report Madagascan Fireweed and help us manage the infestation. Residents who remove this weed should wear gloves, as it can irritate the skin, and double bag the weed when disposing of it to ensure it is not spread further.
"The ACT Government is reminding local businesses and residents that it is illegal to intentionally or recklessly import a pest plant into the ACT, with fines being up to $5,500. It is also an offence to intentionally or recklessly propagate a pest plant in the ACT."
Madagascan Fireweed sightings can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or reported to Canberra Connect on 13 22 81. Take note of the exact location of the sighting and include a photo of the plant for confirmation. For more information about weeds, visit the Weeds of National Significance website at www.weeds.org.au/WoNS/fireweed/
The FeralScan website (www.feralscan.org.au) has recently been upgraded to provide some better facilities and improve the way pest animals and their impacts can be mapped.
Visit www.feralscan.org.au for out more information.
The Invasive Animals CRC has also released an iPhone App "Field Guide to Pest Animals" (Apple iOS devices only at this stage). The App contains species profiles for 53 of Australia's worst pest animals. It contains profiles, photo galleries, animal footprints, animal calls, pest control resources, etc. Find out more at www.feral.org.au/mobile-phone-apps or download the app from App Store.
If you have any feedback (or questions) about these new facilities, please contact the FeralScan Team via Peter West (Invasive Animals CRC) email email@example.com.
The Land for Wildlife program begins when a local landholder decides they want to work with other landholders in their neighbourhood to keep healthy populations of local plants and animals and provide stepping stones for other species moving around the landscape.
Land for Wildlife started in the ACT region in 2011 when a passionate land-owner, Phil Machin of Wamboin, convinced enough of his fellow neighbours to join the scheme and the local community sustainability organisation FuturePLANS to take on the role of Regional Provider for Palerang Shire.
Since that time Land for Wildlife has continued to grow and with increasing interest in the Carwoola area, Molonglo Catchment Group has decided that Land for Wildlife would fit well with the raft of resources and support they can offer to land-owners in the Molonglo catchment. They became the Regional Provider for the catchment in April this year.
Land for Wildlife is free to land-holders who have half a hectare or more of native bush- or grassland and are willing to manage all or a part of their property in an environmentally sustainable way. It involves a property assessment which includes a plant species list for your records and friendly advice on the management of environmental issues like erosion, wildlife habitat and weed control. It is confidential and non-binding.
Once accepted to the scheme landowners receive a sign for their fence and become part of the regional network, which includes a state-wide newsletter and local workshops on flora/fauna and environmental management run by Molonglo catchment group. More information on the scheme is available at www.cen.org.au
Interested land-holders should contact Molonglo Catchment Group: firstname.lastname@example.org or 02 6299 2119
How do we measure the health of our environment … reliably and consistently? We have “Frogwatch”, which records the presence of frogs in the ACT and nationally. “Waterwatch” records the quality of water and the water habitat in our environment.
Now we have “Vegwatch”. Vegwatch records the condition of the plants and habitats in our environment. The ACT Vegwatch Manual has been developed by Sarah Sharp and Lori Gould.
Molonglo Catchment Group has hosted the biodiversity monitoring project with a view to improve information about our natural environment and its sustainability. This would in turn better direct and inform management of our natural environment, and to strengthen community awareness and involvement.
We have long wanted better ways to look at and observe our natural environment so that we could improve its sustainability. This was reflected in the title of the report after the investigation of the nature reserves in the Australian Capital Territory: Facing the challenges: positioning our nature reserves for the 21st century. Its recommendations included developing and implementing a nature reserve monitoring strategy.
Monitoring biodiversity in our natural environment is relevant not only to nature reserves but also to other land holdings in the region where a key element is the condition of the vegetation.
This project builds on tools and techniques for monitoring biodiversity in the ACT and Capital Region developed by Sarah Sharp and Lori Gould. Initially they produced the ACT Vegetation Monitoring Manual: a step by step guide to assessing and monitoring vegetation and habitat in grassy ecosystems, which is a comprehensive set of tools to undertake core vegetation condition monitoring.
That Monitoring Manual was developed by active involvement of community groups interested in the conservation of our natural environment now and into perpetuity.
Many people in our community groups have also been active citizen scientists by participating in the biodiversity monitoring, and providing valuable feedback to the project leaders and the authors.
This active involvement of community groups and their feedback has also led to this publication, generally known as the Vegwatch Manual.
The Vegwatch Manual provides the techniques and key tools for community groups and landholders, who will find it to be a useful tool to monitor their sites as citizen scientists.
This enables the collection of robust and consistent data that can be used not only to monitor the vegetation at individual sites over the years, but also across multiple sites in the region. It could be part of national comparisons, too.
Molonglo Catchment Group is also hosting the database so that the valuable data collected by our citizen scientists and community groups will be available for analysis to better inform decision making.
The contribution of citizen scientists in monitoring our biodiversity is highly valued. Assisting them with soundly developed tools and techniques is also highly valued.
The Vegwatch Manual will continue to strengthen their contribution towards wider appreciation and better management of our natural environment, not only in the ACT and Capital Region, but also nationally.
Download the manual ( 5,412KB)
Download the Vegwatch recording sheets ( 425KB)
TAMS media release 8 August 2013
A platypus and three threatened Murray River Crayfish drowned in an illegal trap near Kambah Pool. Photo: TAMS
ACT Parks and Conservation today called for Canberrans to report any sightings of yabby nets or traps in ACT rivers and streams, after a platypus and three Murray River Crayfish were found drowned in an illegal crayfish trap near Kambah Pool.
"A keen fisherman contacted us this week to report that he had found a set trap with a dead platypus near Kambah Pool," said Brett McNamara, Acting Regional Manager, National Parks and Catchments.
"The trap also contained three threatened and protected Murray River Crayfish estimated at being between 10 and 40 years old.
"This sort of incident is incredibly disappointing given the platypus is such an iconic species and the Murray River Crayfish is threatened. While the conservation status of platypus is stable, this month the Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch is running a platypus count to ascertain a clearer picture of overall numbers in our local waterways.
"All enclosed nets and traps have been illegal in public waters in the ACT for over 10 years under the ACT Fisheries Management Act 2000 and are also illegal in surrounding NSW. They can kill platypus, turtles and water rats by preventing them from escaping meaning they drown.
"Rangers will be stepping up patrols along the Murrumbidgee River Corridor looking for illegal fishing, which can also include the use of set lines, unattended rods, not keeping to size and bag limits and unauthorised vehicle access to areas. Last year we issued $1150 worth of on the spot fines to an illegal fisher who had 10 set lines at Kambah Pool Reserve."
Mr McNamara said that the Murrumbidgee River Corridor has many great fishing spots so it is very unfortunate when people choose to not obey the rules and harm our local wildlife.
"There are no excuses for poor fishing behaviour. A number of signs are in good view of the public at popular fishing spots along the Murrumbidgee. These signs display pictures and descriptions of the protected endangered fish so that anglers can readily identify their catch. They also provide information on regulations and restrictions.
"While ACT Government rangers will be increasing enforcement patrols in coming weeks, I encourage anyone who sees illegal fishing activities – such as set lines, unattended rods or enclosed traps – to report them to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Canberra Connect on 13 22 81."
Mr McNamara also warned people to be on the lookout for people trying to catch the threatened Murray River Crayfish.
People can visit www.environment.act.gov.au to obtain a copy of the information sheet Recreational Fishing in the ACT. People can report platypus sightings to the Australian Platypus Conservancy via www.platypus.asn.au
There are currently a number of initiatives taking place to help counter this problem. Bill Phillips from Riversmart is running a petition that you can find at the following link: www.gopetition.com/petitions/better-regulation-of-yabby-traps.html#sign
Download a flyer promoting protecting platypus ( 450KB)
Lake Burley Griffin water quality results are available online. Visit www.nationalcapital.gov.au/waterquality for lake closures and warnings. This is also available on tablet or smart phone.
Water quality sampling and analysis has been assessed in accordance with the 'ACT Guidelines for Recreational Water Quality 2010'.
Stories from Ngunnawal Country is a video cultural tour that takes the viewer to three significant locations in Canberra where stories of the Ngunnawal peoples are told on film.
In putting together the Stories from Ngunnawal Country project, the team at DEEWR wanted to create a new resource that would foster cultural awareness and build a deeper understanding of Canberra’s history from the perspective of the Ngunnawal peoples, who are the traditional owners of the land on which the DEEWR national office stands in Canberra.
The team collaborated with Adrian Brown, the ACT Parks and Conservation Service Caring for Ngunnawal Country Ranger in Canberra. Adrian agreed to be the team’s cultural advisor and storyteller for the videos. A Ngunnawal man, Adrian traces his own family history in the region back to the early 1800s.
Adrian recommended filming at three locations in inner Canberra - Mount Ainslie, Black Mountain and the Jerrabomberra Wetlands.
Visit www.youtube.com and search for Stories from Ngunnawal country to view and/or download the videos.
Experience Ngunnawal Country with an Aboriginal Ranger and gain an insight into the cultural landscape of the region. Discover why Ngunnawal people and neighbouring nations have gathered here for tens of thousands of years for ceremony, marriage, seasonal foods, trade and lore. Learn how that connection is still held strong by the Traditional Custodians today, and view Canberra’s significance as a nationally important meeting place from a different perspective. Tours to various sites are currently being developed.
Every month, and on demand throughout 2013, minimum numbers required for some tours.
Visit the Murumbung Yurung Murra Cultural Tours page on the TAMS website for more information.
The results of a three year experiment by a local ParkCare group demonstrate that grazing pressure by kangaroos has serious consequences for the integrity of endangered grassy woodlands.
Since late 2009, with financial help from the ACT Government and the North Canberra Community Council, the Friends of Mt Majura conducted a simple public awareness project by recording vegetation change, and demonstrating the cause.
“We set up our Explaining Change project to gain a better understanding of the relative influence of kangaroos, rabbits, and season on the herbaceous ground layer in the reserve”, Ms Waltraud Pix, coordinator of the Friends of Mount Majura explains. “We fenced small grassland areas to exclude kangaroos and rabbits, kangaroos only, or none of the two herbivores and recorded the changes of the ground layer with repeat photography at fixed times of the year.”
“Our project began during a prolonged drought in 2009. We were astonished to observe how the lawn-like grass layer recovered as a response to removing grazing pressure. With three years of repeat photographic records of the seasonal changes, and the separate impacts of kangaroos and rabbits, the evidence is now conclusive. Our records demonstrate that kangaroo grazing is the problem. Even under the favourable rainfall conditions grazing induced changes of the ground layer persist,” says Ms Pix.
“Protecting Yellow Box - Red Gum Grassy Woodland” is the stated purpose in creating, and thus managing Mt Majura Nature Reserve (MMNR). But one factor, which strongly influences the protection of this grassy woodland – grazing by kangaroos, is not managed. This is to be regretted because the kangaroo species, the Eastern Grey, is abundant and is under no threat of extinction. In contrast, there are many small populations of plant and small animal species in MMNR that are locally rare, and whose habitat is repeatedly grazed bare.
Does it matter? Based on years of experience working within the Reserve, The Friends are convinced that it does matter. In particular, it is obvious that grazing by kangaroos is both heavy and unsustainable, because there are too many of them in the small remaining grassy woodlands. The herbaceous layer, the grasses and forbs, is repeatedly reduced to a lawn or a cover of unpalatable weeds. Consequently, a large unmanaged kangaroo population defeats the purpose of protecting the grassy woodland.
Ms Pix has grave concerns that overgrazing undermines volunteer and government efforts to restore degraded grassy woodland. “Ultimately large scale restoration projects are not sustainable when overgrazing hampers the natural regeneration and the reproductive cycle of plants. Overgrazed landscapes would require continuous planting or direct seeding, and expensive measures to protect the plantings. What is the use of investing into the protecting, improving and restoring endangered grassy woodlands if we ignore a key factor that causes the degradation?”
A time-lapse video of the 3 years repeat photography and explanatory background information is available at majura.org/explaining-change.
Visit the new “Grass is Greener” website www.grassisgreener.org.au, a collaboration between ACTEW Water and Greening Australia. This is a place to share stories of improved land management and to see what’s happening on the other side of the fence.
You can discover some of the steps that landholders in our region are taking to increase productivity, protect their stock, increase property value, reduce erosion, increase water quality and bring birds back.
Get to know some locals, whether they be large-scale production farmers, owners of a bush block, or the project staff who help make it happen.
We are encouraging other landholders and Natural Resource Management groups in the Capital Region to get involved and tell your stories. Please contact Greening Australia (6253 3035 or email@example.com) if you have a story to tell, or would like to do something on your place.
On the first Sunday of every month we have a work party, either in the Snow Gums or in the Aranda bushland. Activities vary according to the time of year.
In spring and summer our energies are concentrated on weeding – St John’s Wort, Paterson’s Curse, wild mustard, African Capeweed and others need to be controlled so that the native grassland species have the space to grow.
Tasks and location To be confirmed.
Our delicious morning tea will be served at about 10 am.
Celebrate spring on beautiful Black Mountain with a social ramble for wildflower lovers in the tradition established by Nancy Burbidge, and continued by George Chippendale. Discover the surprising diversity of tiny orchids, bush peas, wattles and billy buttons. The spring pattern of flowering timing and abundance vary with the weather. Friends of Black Mountain welcomes everyone; experts or new to discovering the diversity. We plan several guides, and helpers, taking different directions on easy bush tracks. Some relevant books will be for sale
In April 2012, the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment released the report of his inquiry into “the State of the Watercourses and Catchments for Lake Burley Griffin”. The Commissioner’s report can be found at www.envcomm.act.gov.au/investigations/lake_burley_griffin_investigation.
Following the tabling in the ACT Legislative Assembly of the Commissioner’s Report, in June 2012 the ACT Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher MLA, met with senior representatives from the National Capital Authority, Queanbeyan City Council, Palerang Council and Cooma-Monaro Shire. Arising from that meeting the Chief Minister directed that the ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate convene a Senior Officials Task Force with the aim of developing an Action Plan to improve water quality in Lake Burley Griffin, with this Report to be submitted by the end of August 2012.
The Action Plan, released on 11 September 2012, proposes a coordinated program of short, medium and long term actions in and around the Lake itself as well as in the ACT and adjoining NSW catchments. These actions are designed to address the health of the Lake in the context of continuing urban growth and climate variability, with the aspiration of achieving progressive and measurable improvements. Short-term actions are proposed to have an impact in less than two years, medium-term actions to 5 years and long-term actions longer than 5 years. Annual reporting on implementation is envisaged.
The Task Force recommends a number of key actions that are intended to have a high impact on improving the health of the Lake and its management. While they are not in priority order, they are arranged in a logical structure to ensure a coordinated and comprehensive response.
It is important to note, that all Taskforce jurisdictions and stakeholder groups attached high importance to the creation of a single acknowledged coordinating body to ensure that the Actions outlined in this Plan are delivered and effectively reported upon.
Download the Action Plan from the ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate website.
The ACT Government released the Government Response to the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment Report on the State of Watercourses and Catchments for Lake Burley Griffin on 28 May 2013. Download the response from the ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate website.
"A priority will be the preparation of a catchment management strategy to guide restoration and protection work. Additionally, such as strategy will need to address the apparent inadequacies of the existing ACT Integrated Catchment Management Framework which was produced in 2000."
Updated 4 July 2013, by Karen Williams
As to cattle getting down into the plantings on the other side of the river, the wheels of TAMS grind slowly but the landowner will be required to maintain his fences properly so that cattle don't escape. In the meanwhile, if you see cows on the river side of the fenceline, please contact Canberra Connect (phone 13 22 81 or email via www.canberraconnect.act.gov.au - ‘request for service’) and email a copy to the OEPA at (firstname.lastname@example.org). The rangers need to know when the cows are on the wrong side of the fence so they know when to come out and photograph and record the blighters.
If you've been walking along the river near Oaks Estate you'll have noticed that the Red Brow Finches and the Blue Wrens that have been living around the junction for some time now have become very active once again – I saw one Red Brow carrying some twigs as if to build a nest. The first breaths of spring are in the air. Did anyone else see the pair of Wedge Tail Eagles flying in low a few weeks back? (I thought that I was going to have to tuck my little dog under my coat, the eagles were circling down so closely.) I can also report that the seedlings we planted in May seem to be doing ok and we have been lucky to have rain just when it looked like we'd need to send out an SOS to help water the plantings (and thanks also to those who were getting busy with buckets). Even with the latest rise in the river a week or so back, the tree guards stood up well. The seedlings got a useful top up of alluvial silt as the river went down again too. It hasn't been possible to check how the new grasses etc planted right on the waters edge have faired. Has anyone else got something to report?
We have been told that stage 2 of the river rehabilitation project has been completed and that at the moment there is no further funding for further work, either downstream from Oaks Estate Road or anywhere else. So it is up to us to keep things going – especially with follow-up maintenance work.
Picking up on some of the suggestions we've had for improving future planting days, I would really appreciate it if someone is willing to help us by doing some radio and newspaper promotion for the next event. And there was a suggestion that we needed better planning, with definite plans for what was to go where, the stakes and tree-guards in place in advance, and that having ready access to a petrol hole digger would be essential.
Update 21 November 2012
Further river rehabilitation work Oaks Estate
The Restoration of Waterways Project continues at Oaks Estate. Further river rehabilitation work is soon to commence which will involve more exotic tree removal and revegetation with the objective of rehabilitating the river and its banks between River St and the low level crossing. To achieve this we need to open up the Molonglo river in a particularly choked section. NOTE: Not all the exotic trees will be removed. Some stands of trees will be left for heritage value and bank stability. This includes the stand of trees (mainly elms) near ‘the Oaks’ boundary at the end of Hill St.
The poisoning work of the larger trees will commence this week, with poisoning of other exotic weed species continuing for the next few weeks. This includes the highly invasive blackberry and the pyracantha higher up on the river banks. Tree removal is anticipated to commence in mid January and revegetation in Autumn.
It's pleasing to see the revegetation plantings upstream are doing really well. While ensuring follow up works to protect these plantings, the combined efforts of many people in the community are greatly appreciated. Thank you to those of you who have contributed to caring for these plants.
Update 23 September 2012
If you’ve been out on the river track recently you’ll have noticed that we’ve been lucky with the rain keeping the water up to the new plants. However, we will have to stay after the weeds when they show, if the seedlings are to have a good chance to strengthen and grow.
To help us establish our priorities and to provide a better idea of what to look out for, and when and how to best look after the plants, the Molonglo Catchment Group recently ran a weed identification workshop.
River rehabilitation project – the news on Stage 2.
The word from Rebecca Dawson, the Project Manager, is that Stage 2 should start this spring or early summer. The focus will mainly be on tree thinning and/or removal, on both sides of the river, from River Street and downstream (subject to cost constraints) to somewhere around Capital Flowers. The historic plantings bounding The Oaks will be protected. The large elms near The Oaks will remain, although, some suckers will be removed from under them, with care not to disturb significant cultural features and objects.
Queanbeyan Council has finished cleaning up dead willows and flood debris from the river corridor between Morisset Street bridge and the ACT border to complement the work being done at Oaks Estate. Some planting work is included in this project.
On the OEPA website: www.oaksestateact.org
News from the river: Platypus Sighting - another one!! We've now had two confirmed sightings of a platypus swimming on the surface: on 19 August, more or less below the cable for the old flying fox, and on 19 September in the Queanbeyan River, about 50 metres upstream from the junction. Early morning and late afternoons are apparently the best time to spot them, and both sightings were on cloudy or overcast days. Let us know (email oepa at hotmail.com.au) if you see a platypus in the rivers around Oaks Estate, and tell us where, when and how many. We'll pass the info along to the local platypus watch (Stephen Skinner, Molonglo Waterwatch Coordinator) or you can contact him yourself on 02 6299 2119, or via the contacts page .
Keep an eye out also for water rats swimming near the junction.
Update 22 May, 2012
From The Chronicle, 22 May 2012
River has great return
by Hannah Jonkers
New life has been breathed into a section of the Queanbeyan River after the ACT government removed weeds and debris along its banks earlier this year.
About 40 volunteers helped plant 300 trees, shrubs and grasses along the one kilometre stretch of the river at Oaks Estate on Sunday.
Oaks Estate Progress Association member Terry Williams said the day was a great success with help from both sides of the border assisting in the restoration.
The volunteers planted a diverse mix of local frost-hardy species including wattles, bottlebrushes and eucalypts, which will provide habitat and food for native birds and animals. They will help stabilise the riverbanks and provide competition for weedy regrowth.
"People coming past in the afternoon were really pleased to see it happening," Mr Williams said.
"It's a Queanbeyan walking track as much as an Oaks Estate walking track."
He said the difference to the river since the removal of the debris had been significant.
"The river is flowing clear now —it's actually getting back to what it was like in much earlier stages," Mr Williams said. "The river ran smaller and slower with cleared banks.
"At least the look of that is coming back."
A further 2000 plants will be established in the area by Greening Australia during the next six weeks.
Volunteers will be needed to help care for the new vegetation by removing weeds and watering, especially in the warmer months.
• Volunteers wishing to help can email Terry Williams at oepa at hotmail.com.au
Update 3 May, 2012
Join the Oaks Estate Progress Association (OEPA), the Molonglo Catchment Group and Queanbeyan Landcare in planting 300 trees, shrubs and grasses along the Molonglo River at Oaks Estate on 20 May.
The ACT Parks and Conservation Service is rehabilitating large sections of the Molonglo River. Do your bit for your stretch of the river by planting trees, shrubs and grasses to help stabilise the river banks and provide habitat for native birds and animals.
Update 12 April, 2012
The tree removal along the banks of the Molonglo and Queanbeyan Rivers at Oaks Estate is complete. This material is yet to be processed:
The next stage of the river restoration project involves revegetation:
Any queries, please contact, Project Manager, Beck Dawson at Rebecca.Dawson at act.gov.au
17 January, 2012
This work will be undertaken: along the Queanbeyan River between the rail bridge and the confluence of the Molonglo River and; downstream on the Molonglo River to River Street.
Please be advised:
Remember, sustainable, environmental restoration takes time - the full benefits of the project will not be realised immediately.
For more information contact Canberra Connect on 132281
Check out the Greening Australia web page at www.greeningaustralia.org.au/community/capital-region The web page offers up-to-date details about volunteer events, information about other GA programs, and includes a number of pamphlets that can be downloaded.
The Friends of the Australian National Botanic Gardens organise lunchtime lectures on Thursdays between February and November usually at 12.30pm at the Theatrette at the ANBG Visitor Information Centre. Gold coin donation on entry is appreciated.
More information is available on the Friends’ website
All the family will enjoy ranger guided walks and activities.
All this and more at Namadgi National Park, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Canberra Nature Park—the Wild Side of Canberra. Visit www.tams.act.gov.au/parks-recreation/recreational_activities for full information.
African Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum) Family Poaceae
The invasive weed, African Fountain Grass, has been discovered in the ACT. It is often mistaken for similar ornamental grasses such as Foxtail Grasses and other Fountain Grasses. It has the potential to spread into natural areas and agricultural land causing considerable damage and control costs. African Fountain Grass is prohibited for sale in the ACT. It is also a noxious weed in NSW.
African Fountain Grass is a large tussock grass. It has numerous plume like seed heads which are between 10cm and 25cm long. They are mauve in colour.
Contact: If you think you have spotted this weed, please contact:
Further Information: www.weeds.org.au
Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima) Family Poaceae
It has recently come to notice that over 300 plants of Mexican Feather Grass (MFG) have been sold through Canberra nursery outlets, probably labelled as Stipa. If you have bought Stipa plants from any nursery outlets in the ACT or region within the last 12 months please have the plant checked, or check it yourself. There are many good illustrated website descriptions available.
This species has the potential to invade pastures and native grasslands in the ACT as an agricultural and environmental weed as bad as Serrated Tussock . It is not yet established in the ACT, and we really don’t want it here either!
The invasive weed, MFG was first discovered in the ACT in February 2008. If uncontrolled, it could spread to other states of Australia. Overseas, it is highly invasive and has formed monocultures, smothering desirable species. Importation into Australia is prohibited.
Description: MFG is a densely tufted perennial grass, almost identical to serrated tussock. MFG produces more seed than the related invasive weed, serrated tussock and is a slightly taller plant (leaves to about 60 cm long and flower spikes to 70 cm). The leaves are very similar to serrated tussock. The seed is similar to the seed of native Stipa grasses (speargrasses). The awn or bristle-like attachment to the seed is 4.5-9 cm long. The seed itself is 2-3 mm long. MFG flowers from mid spring to summer.
Contact: If you think you have spotted this weed, please contact:
Further Information: www.weeds.org.au
Download flyer ( 1.65MB)
Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) Family Asteraceae
from TAMS media release dated 7 September, 2012
Canberrans are urged to be on the lookout for infestations of Madagascan Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) which were recently discovered in Crace, Forde, Franklin and Bruce.
"While the weed is commonly found in the surrounding NSW region, the first serious incursion of Madagascan Fireweed in the ACT only occurred in 2011, when a member of the public spotted the plant along the Monaro Highway," said Steve Taylor, Senior Invasive Weeds Officer, ACT Parks and Conservation Service.
"Since then, small infestations have also been spotted and brought under control along the Kings Highway, Tuggeranong Parkway, Gundaroo Drive and Horse Park Drive.
"Unfortunately large infestations were recently discovered in the new suburbs of Crace, Forde and Franklin. These infestations are under control and rangers are proactively monitoring areas where the plants have been found.
"Madagascan Fireweed is a small multi-stemmed and vigorous flowering daisy-like plant with numerous bright yellow daisy flowers. Like other daisies, the weed produces fluffy wind borne seeds. Some plants can produce tens of thousands of viable seeds making it highly invasive.
"A major concern is the toxicity of Madagascan Fireweed to horses and grazing livestock which can cause liver damage similar to toxins found in Paterson's Curse. Madagascan Fireweed is considered one of the most damaging weeds to grazing land. This weed initially invades land along roadsides and once established, quickly spreads into neighbouring pastures and reserves."
Mr Taylor said a rapid response to locate and eradicate the weed will save the ACT significant expenditure in future weed control and will ensure continued protection of our valued native plant communities and grazing lands.
"I urge the ACT community to be alert to Madagascan Fireweed and help us be proactive in managing this invasion of our natural habitat.
"Due to its bright yellow flowers Madagascan Fireweed is likely to be noticed by passing motorists.
"If you suspect you have seen Madagascan Fireweed please take note of the location and call Canberra Connect on 13 22 81. Taking a photo of the suspected plant may also help save time in confirming reports."
For more information about weeds visit the Weeds of National Significance website at www.weeds.org.au/WoNS/fireweed/
(from TAMS media release dated 14 October 2011 322KB)
Canberrans are being urged to be on the lookout for a new incursion of weed species that has recently been identified in the ACT – Madagascan Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis).
“While the weed is commonly found in the surrounding NSW region, this is the first serious incursion of Madagascan Fireweed in the ACT,” said Steve Taylor, Senior Invasive Weeds Officer, ACT Parks and Conservation Service.
“The first plant was spotted by a member of the public on the Monaro Highway just outside the ACT border and since then plants have been spotted at two other locations in the ACT. These plants have been destroyed.
“Rangers will proactively monitor the areas in which the plants were found.
“Madagascan Fireweed is a small multi-stemmed and vigorous flowering daisy-like plant with numerous bright yellow daisy flowers. Like other daisies, the weed produces fluffy wind borne seeds. Some plants can produce tens of thousands of seeds.”
Mr Taylor said a rapid response to uncover and control the weed will save the ACT significant expenditure in future weed control.
“Eradicating Madagascan Fireweed swiftly will ensure continued protection of our valued native plant communities and grazing lands.
“Another major concern is the toxicity of Madagascan Fireweed to horses and livestock which can cause liver damage similar to toxins found in Paterson’s Curse. Madagascan Fireweed is considered one of the most damaging weeds to grazing land. It often first invades land along roadsides and once established, quickly spreads into neighbouring pastures and reserves.
“I urge the ACT community to be alert to Madagascan Fireweed and help us be proactive in managing this invasion of our natural habitat.
“Due to its bright yellow flowers Madagascan Fireweed is likely to be noticed by passing motorists.
“If you suspect you have seen Madagascan Fireweed please take note of the location and call Canberra Connect on 13 22 81 [if in the ACT]. Taking a photo of the suspected plant may also help save time in confirming reports.”
Fireweed was found in the ACT in September 2007 and had been found beside the Captains Flat Road in Carwoola in NSW in 2008. Previously, it was believed that winter frosts would limit its spread on the tablelands, but experiences in Snowy and Cooma-Monaro Shires indicate that this is not the case. Fireweed normally occurs along the South Coast and north of Goulburn. It is highly invasive and toxic to horses.
Description: Fireweed is a low branching annual herb with leaves 2-6 cm long, occasionally 8-10 cm on older, vigorous plants. Bright green, thin, slightly fleshy, toothed or smooth- edged, hairless, alternate on stem. Seeds are very fine, ‘dandelion’-like seed heads. Usually seeds during spring. The flowers are 13-petalled yellow daisy flowers held on slender stems in branched terminal open clusters from April to September. Before opening, the flowers are enclosed by a single row of about 21 green bracts (a ring or crowd of modified leaves, usually smaller than a true leaf) which have a darkened tip; the number of bracts distinguish it from native Senecio species. The bracts are easiest to count just before the flower opens out to reveal the ‘petals’, when the bract tips are all clustered at the top of the ‘bud’, or after the seed has been shed when the bracts remain behind.
Contact: If you think you have spotted this weed, please contact:
Further Information: www.weeds.org.au
Download Fireweed Factsheet from the Molonglo Catchment Weed Information Pack ( 364KB).
A purpose-built display trailer is available for use by Landcare and Parkcare groups in the ACT Region to highlight their good works and bring information to the community and their members. The trailer was purchased with assistance from Landcare Australia Limited; contributions from the Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment Coordinating Committee, Southern ACT Catchment Group and ACT Rural Landholders helped to fit it out.
The trailer comes with fold-out whiteboard/display panels, tables, chairs, brochure holders, a display toolkit and a range of generic landcare posters.
See the PlaceStory about the Trailer for the background story and more images.
Contact us at trailer at molonglocatchment.com.au for additional information or to arrange to borrow the trailer.
To help understand the health of the catchment, the Molonglo Catchment Group (MCG) collects water quality data to find what sediment and salts are being transported down the Molonglo River.
To do this the MCG needs help with two things to determine just how wet and dirty the catchment is:
Please contact the Molonglo Waterwatch Coordinator if you can assist.
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