Working Bees back

At present, there are still some extra restrictions or procedures that still need to be followed as per the email (shown below) sent via Lake Macquarie landcare:

Dear Landcare volunteer,

Following the recent announcement that the state has achieved 80% COVID-19 vaccination status, Landcare activities can recommence as of this Monday, the 18th of October. In line with Public Health Orders and Council’s COVID Risk Assessment, the following controls will be required to be met for all Landcare work sessions.

At the beginning of each work session Team Leaders will need to undertake a tool box talk to discuss these controls.

Required controls:

• Stay at home if unwell or if you have been to a potential exposure site
• Maintain social distancing of 1.5 metres between people
• Wash and/or sanitise hands regularly
• Avoid sharing of tools and practice regular tool cleaning
• No sharing of drink or foods
• No car-pooling outside of household members
• Double vaccination is a requirement to be able to volunteer or Medical exemption if you are unable to be
vaccinated due to medical reasons
• Signing on to the Daily Work Diary indicates that you would be able to demonstrates your vaccination status (or
medical exemption) to an Authorised Officer if required (e.g. Police officer)
• Mask wearing in outdoor environments is optional
• In the event that you or a volunteer receive a positive COVID-19 test result or notification as a close contact
and have been volunteering since exposure
or the exposure occurred at site, you MUST contact NSW Health and the Landcare Resource Centre at the earliest
opportunity, providing names and contact details of all volunteers working on that date
• If you have volunteers or members of the public challenging your presence or these controls – refer them to the
Landcare Resource Centre 4921 0392 or Council on 4921 0333.

If you anticipate you will need any assistance implementing any of these controls, or if you have any concerns, please contact the Landcare Resource Centre.

Unfortunately, I still have a few weeks before my second jab is administered so working bees will have to wait until then but not long now…

Lantana debris experiment

I have often been left with large piles of dead lantana after landcare working bees. Current recommendations is to leave those piles on site to breakdown in time. However, Dick’s creek is (well, it was…) a small reserve with a big lantana infestation. Those piles take up a lot of space that I would prefer to see being used by native flora. Those lantana piles take a long time to break down. I have heard people suggest twelve months is long enough for it all to disappear but I have seen piles remain mostly intact for years (see video below).

Following landcare rules makes the situation more challenging. It can’t be burnt, we can’t bring machinery on site to process it, it can’t be taken off-site, no building compost heaps etc. I have often felt at loggerheads with this issue…

As any gardener would know, a compost will only work when there is enough moisture and I think this explains my issue with lantana. As long as the remaining debris stays strong enough to keep it suspended above the ground and hence able to stay dry, it takes a long time to break down. I needed to get the debris into something that will keep it wet. So, what I am trying at present and what I show in the video below, is an experiment to see if combining dead lantana with more fleshy green leafy weeds will hasten the composting process. I am hoping it will.

I picked a few locations, ‘Site A’ being one of them. I tried to brake down the lantana as much as possible by standing on it and breaking it up with my hands. I then raked nearby tard/wandering willy (there is no shortage unfrotunately) into the pile. Hopefully, with some rain, it will break down and more area will become available for the flora that is meant to be there.

Fingers cross this will work so I will have an approach I can use for any other lantana infestations.

Here are some videos I took to describe the issue and the approach I am using…

Site Inspection – 2021.10.04

Not really a working bee on this day but I did remove some privet on the west side at the top 2nd fall and removed some fishbone fern on the East side.

This video shows the East side of the creek at the top of 2nd falls. It has a small native olive tree clinging to life by growing mostly horizontally from the cliff edge. It has always been forced out by the fishbone ferns growing from the edge.

Fishbone fern has an impressive ability to create its own root structure. It can end up in the most unlikely of places.
I partly removed the fishbone fern to hopefully encourage some other native flora and to hopefully aid the growth of the native olive tree.

Between ‘Site A’ and the creek, I often referred to as ‘Site A extension’. It has been around a year since I did that work and this video shows the progress at that location. There is a large pile of dead lantana which I want to remove somehow and there is some weeds that have popped back up but largely, it is pretty good. In particular, I liked seeing the hairy clerodendrum budding. I have never seen it flower before.

After taking that video I inspected the west bank of the creek. Under No.2’s property. I don’t normally go over the west bank as I decided quite a while ago to focus on the East side first. The west bank was a mixture of good and bad.  There are many natives so we can be confident that the seed bank is in good health. It will be a matter of removing the weeds. In particular, privet along the creek is dominating.

One interesting find was this staghorn fern:

Staghorn on a rock near ground level

It is the first one I had noticed on the reserve. There was also a large birdnest fern nearby which was good to see.

In summary, the west side is in mostly good condition but the privet will need to be treated. That won’t be as easy as it sounds because getting around was very difficult. Lots of barbwire vine and sizeable cliff edge along the bank makes traversing the area quite difficult.

 

Working Bee – 18.09.2021

I got a few hours of lantana bashing in on Saturday…

The main pile of lantana at the end of the day.

Mostly I focused on the lantana near the creek towards the rear of the reserve. I had cleared the creek edge previously and this led to some natives taking off. The usual bleeding hearts and sandpaper figs but also a lilly pilly amongst others. Still, I hadn’t moved far from the edge of the creek and the lantana was threatening a return. I put an end to that…

Sandpaper figs free from lantana

That spot was chockers with lantana but now those  sandpaper fig saplings towards the center of the photo should have a good headstart.

I am having to consider where people will walk when an area is cleared. There appears to be enough people going through the reserve now to make a difference. Not a bad thing but something to keep in mind in case some more fragile plants could be damanged. I left some privet and debris to deter people using this area. Easily removed when the saplings become big enough to not be easily walked on.

Just enough debris to deter would be walkers. They can go the usual way…

Here is a summary video I took at the end of the day. Poor quality unfortunately…

That fern tree that can be seen in the video is another win as well. More of those, yes please.

Working Bee – 12.09.2021

A quick session today. Actually classified as exercise rather than bush regeneration 🙂

Once again, just pushing back on lantana. I came across a large sandpaper fig tree that I had previously freed up from lantana. It had since then, fallen over but it continues to thrive. It had once again started to provide structure for the surrounding lantana. I removed the offending lantana and also bits of privet.

Sandpaper fig after I had cleared off the lantana.

I will need to come back to this spot as there is various promising saplings which need defending.

Here is a summary video I did of the site after clearing the fig.

Hunter Valley Moist Forest – Landcare classification

Landcare assessors classified Dick’s Creek reserve as Hunter Valley Moist Forest (MU12). This classification can be found online in:

Volume 2: Vegetation Community Profiles, Lake Macquarie Local Government Area Working Draft v2

This classification description is replicated below:

Hunter Valley Moist Forest

Unit 12 

Hunter Valley Moist Forest Example
Keith Class: Hunter-Macleay Dry Sclerophyll Forests

VCA: Not yet assigned

GHV: Spotted Gum / Broad-leaved Mahogany / Grey Gum grass / shrub open forest on Coastal Lowlands of the Central Coast (071)

LHCCREMS: Hunter Valley Moist Forest (MU12)

General Description:

Hunter Valley Moist Forest is a broadly defined unit requiring further clarification and assessment, and it may overlap considerably with other MU12 subunits so far defined. As defined here, this is an original REMS2000 unit that has been subdivided regionally (see MU12 subunits). This community is effectively an ecotonal unit between moister forests in sheltered locations, and dryer ridgetop types. In most cases a canopy of Corymbia maculata with Eucalyptus acmenioides is present, although other species such as Eucalyptus siderophloia and Eucalyptus punctata may also occur. Important understorey species include Polyscias sambuccifolia, Pteridium esculentum, Pittosporum undulatum, Notelaea longifolia, Poa affinis, Oplismenus imbecillus and Pseuderanthemum variabile.

 

Characteristic Features:

  • canopy of Spotted Gum and White Mahogany, with Ironbarks and Grey Gum
  • mid-storey of Elderberry Panax, Sweet Pittosporum, Bracken and Native Olive
  • well developed ground layer of grasses, herbs and forbs

Classification Confidence:

Low

Moderate

High

 

 

Distribution:

Within Lake Macquarie LGA [from LGA Map v2014 Stages 1-6]  – 959 ha

 

Community Conservation Status:

  • EPBC Act (1999) Status –  not currently listed.
  • TSC Act (1995) Status –  not currently listed.

Key Diagnostic Species [99% contribution, based on 9 plots]:

Hunter Valley Moist Forest (12)

Average similarity: 45.77

Habit

Species

Av.Abund

Av.Sim

Sim/SD

Contrib%

Tree

Eucalyptus acmenoides

3.33

3.48

9.32

7.61

 

Corymbia maculata

3.11

3.39

18.70

7.40

 

Eucalyptus paniculata subsp. paniculata

2.00

1.50

1.11

3.27

 

Allocasuarina torulosa

1.67

1.23

1.42

2.68

 

Syncarpia glomulifera subsp. glomulifera

1.11

0.42

0.44

0.92

 

Eucalyptus punctata

0.89

0.21

0.29

0.45

 

Eucalyptus propinqua

0.67

0.10

0.17

0.21

 

Acmena smithii

0.67

0.07

0.17

0.15

 

Cryptocarya microneura

0.56

0.07

0.17

0.15

 

Eucalyptus umbra

0.44

0.06

0.17

0.14

 

 

Small Tree

Glochidion ferdinandi var. ferdinandi

1.33

0.70

0.71

1.52

 

Melaleuca styphelioides

0.44

0.09

0.30

0.20

Palm

Livistona australis

0.44

0.10

0.30

0.21

 

 

Shrub

Polyscias sambucifolia subsp. sambucifolia

1.67

1.51

1.64

3.31

 

Pittosporum undulatum

1.67

1.37

1.48

2.99

 

Notelaea longifolia f. longifolia

1.56

1.36

1.53

2.97

 

Breynia oblongifolia

1.33

1.04

1.55

2.28

 

Persoonia linearis

0.89

0.50

0.79

1.08

 

Dodonaea triquetra

1.00

0.47

0.58

1.03

 

Maytenus silvestris

0.89

0.39

0.57

0.85

 

Myrsine variabilis

0.67

0.31

0.61

0.69

 

Leucopogon lanceolatus var. lanceolatus

0.56

0.19

0.44

0.42

 

Acacia implexa

0.56

0.19

0.44

0.41

 

Pittosporum revolutum

0.44

0.18

0.44

0.40

 

Clerodendrum tomentosum

0.56

0.12

0.28

0.26

 

Acacia ulicifolia

0.33

0.09

0.30

0.21

 

Zieria smithii

0.33

0.09

0.30

0.21

 

Rubus moluccanus var. trilobus

0.44

0.09

0.30

0.20

 

Exocarpos cupressiformis

0.33

0.09

0.30

0.19

 

Podolobium ilicifolium

0.44

0.06

0.17

0.14

 

 

Ground Fern

Pteridium esculentum

1.67

1.44

2.76

3.16

 

Adiantum aethiopicum

1.44

0.59

0.54

1.29

 

Doodia aspera

0.89

0.22

0.29

0.49

 

 

Cycad

Macrozamia flexuosa

0.44

0.10

0.30

0.21

Grasstree

Xanthorrhoea macronema

0.56

0.12

0.28

0.27

 

 

Grass

Poa affinis

2.44

2.17

3.31

4.75

 

Oplismenus imbecillis

2.11

2.02

4.17

4.42

 

Microlaena stipoides var. stipoides

1.44

1.20

1.45

2.63

 

Imperata cylindrica

1.89

1.14

0.92

2.48

 

Entolasia stricta

1.00

0.38

0.44

0.83

 

Themeda australis

1.00

0.22

0.29

0.47

 

Aristida vagans

0.44

0.06

0.17

0.14

 

Panicum simile

0.44

0.06

0.17

0.14

 

Hunter Valley Moist Forest (12)

Average similarity: 45.77

 

 

Habit Species Av.Abund  Av.Sim Sim/SD Contrib%

Graminoid

Lomandra longifolia

1.56

1.44

2.79

3.15

Dianella caerulea var. assera

1.44

1.30

3.58

2.85

Sedge

Gymnostachys anceps

1.11

0.64

0.76

1.40

Lepidosperma laterale

0.78

0.35

0.58

0.77

 

 

Herb

Pseuderanthemum variabile

1.67

1.50

1.66

3.29

Desmodium gunnii

1.22

0.75

0.78

1.64

Pratia purpurascens

0.78

0.26

0.41

0.58

Desmodium rhytidophyllum

0.67

0.19

0.30

0.41

Dichondra repens

0.67

0.18

0.30

0.39

Viola hederacea

0.56

0.12

0.28

0.26

 

 

 

Ground Orchid

Acianthus fornicatus

0.78

0.27

0.42

0.59

Pterostylis spp.

0.56

0.12

0.28

0.27

Pterostylis
longifolia

0.56

0.12

0.28

0.26

 

 

Twiner

Eustrephus latifolius

1.78

1.78

3.32

3.88

Parsonsia straminea

1.33

0.98

1.04

2.13

Pandorea pandorana

1.44

0.94

1.04

2.05

Dioscorea transversa

1.22

0.85

1.00

1.85

Geitonoplesium cymosum

1.11

0.75

1.04

1.64

Smilax australis

1.11

0.66

0.76

1.44

Hardenbergia violacea

0.89

0.65

1.16

1.41

Smilax glyciphylla

0.89

0.42

0.56

0.92

Clematis glycinoides var. glycinoides

0.89

0.41

0.57

0.89

Cassytha glabella f. glabella

0.67

0.30

0.61

0.66

Billardiera scandens

0.67

0.22

0.41

0.48

Glycine clandestina

0.67

0.22

0.41

0.47

Sarcopetalum harveyanum

0.56

0.18

0.44

0.40

Hibbertia scandens

0.56

0.12

0.28

0.26

Hibbertia dentata

0.33

0.09

0.30

0.21

Stephania japonica var. discolor

0.33

0.10

0.30

0.21

Cayratia clematidea

0.44

0.09

0.30

0.19

Kennedia rubicunda

0.33

0.09

0.30

0.19

Morinda jasminoides

0.56

0.07

0.17

0.15

 

 

 

Weekend weed bash – 17.03.2019 – 2 hrs

After getting the majority of Mist flower and Crofton weed out from the bottom of Dick’s creek fall a few weeks ago, the remaining has been niggling me to finish it off.  My kids kept me company while I addressed the section under the overhang.

Daniela took a photo of us tackling the crofton weed and mist flower

It was a short session but I achieved my objective only to notice I didn’t have to go far to find more crofton weed infestations a little further along the creek. Next week…

On the plus side, I had a chance to remove the ‘tree of heaven’ which can be seen in the photo above (behind the large gum on the left hand side). I had wanted to dig it out completely but the angle of the slope and some rocks made sure that was not going to happen. I will need to keep an eye on it to make sure it does not resprout from the remaining root system.

Dick’s Creek Landcare Group is Official – 14.03.2019

Had a call from Dick’s Creek Landcare Support Officer today (Daniela Oldfield) who confirmed that Dick’s Creek Landcare Group has been officially approved and I can now start to build the group.

I am not sure how many local residents will be interested in weeding on their weekend but I intend to find out. I will need to get the information together for the brochure that Landcare uses.