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Little Blue Gum Creek Rehabilitation Program 1997-98

Have you driven along Lady Game Drive, near Lane Cove National Park and the end of Grosvenor Road? You will have noticed massive changes taking place in the landscape. First the weeds were removed, then an enormous amount of replanting was carried out. Who did it all? How did it come about?

The project is a joint one including 2 bushcare groups from Lane Cove National Park who have been working in sites across the creek from the area since May 1994 and one Ku-ring-gai Council bushcare group which has been working along the creek across the road.

Aim of the project
To replant Sydney Blue Gums (Eucalyptus saligna), the forest of gums originally in this area.

There are some blue gums remaining in the area, including a stand of young specimens on the northern side of Lady Game Drive.

 Outcomes and benefits
The project has or will

  • reduce the threat of weed invasion to adjoining volunteer sites and further along the creek
  • reconstruct a self-sustaining Eucalyptus saligna community
  • improve habitat and aesthetic value near a major road
  • stabilise the creek bed and flood plain
  • give to the planners the satisfaction of a successful joint venture
  • increase public awareness of bushcare/bush regeneration programs in the local area
The site is a plot of land at the northern end of a section of mown land along Little Blue Gum Creek and Lady Game Drive, from Naamaroo entrance to the bridge under Lady Game Drive.This section is mainly owned by Ku-ring-gai Council with part belonging to Lane Cove NP. Bush regeneration was already being done at 3 sites adjoining the area and was drawing approving comments from passers-by.

After a workshop on fund-raising it was decided to form "The Little Blue Gum Bushcare Group" from members of the three groups already on site. The committee decided with the NPWS and Ku-ring-gai Municipal Council to apply for a Dept of Land and Water Conservation grant on their behalf, on a dollar for dollar basis.

A project manager was appointed, and Margaret Reidy, NPWS Coordinator Lyn Rees, and Roseanna Luca of Ku-ring-gai MC Bush Managenment surveyed the site in detail, listing species of weeds and of natives present. (see accompanying list) The decision was that 98% of the site was degraded with weeds, including dense Paspalum dilatatum and the invasive species Paraserianthes lophantha.

The grant was approved, with the variation to reduce the time of completion of the project from five years to one year.

NPWS Field Officer Trevor Prowse and K.M.C. Manager of Bushland Conservation Mark Cousten prepared a schedule of the respective contributions for the project manager and a time frame for the total project.

K.M.C. staff designed the specification of works and the method to be used, which would not damage the environment or violate any laws. 82 metres of creekline was to be heavily revegetated whilst maintaining the existing weed cover to ensure destabilisation of the creek did not occur.

Quotations were invited and on the council's recommendation the project manager contracted their preferred tenderer. Work commenced and proceeded quickly, with the NPWS Field Officer supervising the contract on behalf of all the stakeholders. First a team of contractors treated weeds and prepared the site, then 35 trees, 234 shrubs and 200 grasses and groundcovers were planted by volunteers (it wasn't quite that straightforward).

Update (4/3/99)

The success rates for the plantings have been:

Blue gums

100%

Shrubs

94%

Ground cover

47%

We are proposing to do smaller extra plantings soon.

At this time the weather is delaying the final weeding and spraying program by the contractors, which will complete their commitments.

Stage 2

Early in November, 1998 a further Rivercare grant was obtained to do similar regenerating work on the northern side of Little Blue Gum Creek. The contractor for Stage 1 was again successful and started preliminary clearing and spraying in mid-December. Unfortunately because of rain before Christmas, followed by the holiday period plus more rain, this project is already way behind schedule. It is now hoped that Stage 2 can be increased in size and that a Stage 3 grant can be obtained.

The fulfilment of the above would achieve the result of having three groups working upstream and two groups working downstream from the above sites. NPWS and Ku-ring-gai Council field staff are helping us technically and with "in-kind" assistance such as removal and disposal of weeds and where necessary some mowing.

Although the funds are in the name of the Little Blue Gum Creek Bushcare Group, the projects are sponsored by the Friends of Lane Cove National Park and most of the vounteers are members of the Friends group.

Lane Cove National Park Management is providing the supervision and their office facilities for our project manager.

November 2000 update

Construction of a roundabout at the junction of Grosvenor Road and Lady Game Drive this year disturbed some of the original work and subsequent plantings suffered through lack of rain for a while. However, Eucalypts and Christmas bush plantings are flourishing and maintenance by Park staff is continuing.

If you'd like to help remove the weeds in the park, join one of the volunteer bushcare groups. 

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Blue Gum stand near project area

Paraserianthes lophantha
Crested Wattle
Once known as Albizia, this plant looks rather like an acacia, hence its new common name. It is currently listed as the second most serious weed in Queensland. It flowers in Spring, the flowers looking like dense, greenish yellow bottle brush flowers. These small trees resemble Acacia Decurrens or Acacia Elata, especially when young and are therefore difficult to recognise and remove at an early stage. When mature the plants can be recognised by obvious glands along the rhachis ('stem' of the compound leaf).

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