CATCHMENT WIDE PROJECTS

Southern ACT Catchment Group is currently managing several projects which span throughout the catchment and collaborate with multiple member groups. Below are some examples of recent and ongoing catchment-wide projects. 

Approximately 80 percent of Namadgi National Park burnt in the devastating fires of 2019/2020 which significantly affected local plants and wildlife. SACTCG has been working with Landcare ACT (LACT) and the ACT Parks and Conservation Service to host a series of events for members of the community to get involved in the bushfire and wildlife recovery effort. This program has helped volunteers address high level risks to biodiversity in Namadgi National Park. Volunteers worked with SACTCG and Park Rangers to weed and replant areas subject to significant weed infestation and reduced habitat for native animal’s post bushfires. There has been a total of 9 events run by SACTCG and LACT, across 2 grant programs funded by the Landcare Australia Bushfire Recovery Grant Program and WIRES – Landcare Wildlife Relief and Recovery Grant Program, in partnership with the ACT Government. Extra funding has come from the Walk for Namadgi Fundraiser held earlier last year.

Volunteers who have taken part described the emotional effect of seeing the park in its current state. This opportunity to work closely with ACT Parks has given volunteers a sense of ownership and agency and the program is important for both environmental and human wellbeing outcomes.

Outcomes achieved across 9 events at Namadgi VIC and Glendale Picnic Area:

  • No. volunteers: 94
  •  Total volunteer Hours: 400+ hrs
  • Area weeded: 25+ hectares
  • Plantings: over 350 native habitat trees, shrubs and groundcovers planted.

 

Southern ACT Catchment Group is also the recipient of funding for bushfire recovery through a Landcare Australia grant, as well as a grant from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. SACTCG is working in Namadgi National Park alongside ACT Parks and Conservation to continue supporting bushfire recovery in our catchment region. This work includes community working days, funding for weeding and fencing contractors, as well as citizen science monitoring and mapping and more. 

 

For more information about Bushfire Recovery Programs in Namadgi, contact Jeff Eichler at ruralprojects@sactcg.org.au. 

 

SACTCG has established an innovative program to safely treat invading weeds in urban reserves and open space in the ACT. The Environmental Steam Weeding Program provides a solution to the risks and growing fears of chemical spraying impacts on the health of environmental volunteers, waterways and native environments, with the availability of a trailer mounted Satusteam™ machine. As this is the first of these machines to be available for community use in the region, community interest is extremely high.

The Satusteam machine uses super saturated steam to effectively kill weeds by destroying plant cell walls. The steam weeder is trailer mounted and features a 1000L tank, petrol pump, and diesel burner to heat the water. Steam is applied to weeds via the mop head in a sweeping motion or via spikes for targeted weeding.

The Steamweeder provides a solution to the risk and growing fears of chemical spraying impacts on the health of volunteers, waterways and native environments. Up until now, weed control by volunteers has been limited to intensive labour (hand pulling) or chemical use. Steamweeding also means there is no need to adjust for growing phases of plants, unlike chemical weeding.

SACTCG have extensive experience in delivering similar machinery lending programs for community weed control.

The new steam weeder was trialled at several different sites across the ACT on several different weeds including Serrated tussock, Patterson's Curse, Vasbascum, Horehound, Blackberry Nightshade, Sticky weed, Chilean Needle Grass and Couch Grass- all successful. Like any weeding, depending on the species the plants may need to be treated multiple times.

The steamweeder is available for hire, or use by ParkCare and Urban landcare groups. Please contact Martine at info@sactcg.org.au for more information. 

 

Thanks to a Commonwealth Environment Program Grant, SACTCG launched a project to deliver a citizen science program which monitors the health of restored patches of native woodlands and grasslands in nature reserves in Southern ACT.

Volunteers from local Landcare groups have taken aerial images using a drone with centimeter-accurate GPS resolution in valuable ecosystems.  These areas will be mapped and monitored for floral density and condition of box-gum trees, native grassland, ground cover, erosion, and weeds. On-site training in the use of equipment will take place during data collection on-site.

Project activities will provide valuable baseline ecological information whilst informing on the impacts of restoration works and engaging and educating volunteers in citizen science activities. 

Dr Adam Carroll, from ANU, will train volunteers during their first use of the drone, he will also assist with developing operating procedures, data analysis and the platform to house collected data.

 

Current progress

SACTTCG and researchers from ANU have trialled drone image mapping at sites including Urambi Hills. Initial assessment of the posssibility of the drone being used for species identification and weeding priorities for parkcare groups is underway. 

If you are interested in using the drone, please contact Fiona at projects@sactcg.org.au

--This grant project was completed in 2021, however, equiptment is still available to loan for future projects- If your member group is interested please contact communications@sactcg.org.au-

Through the Australian Government’s Communities Environment Program, we’ve purchased equipment for wildlife monitoring, and tested a woodland wildlife citizen science program with volunteers. We have successfully recorded some micro-bats with volunteers from Red Hill, and have also managed to get some wildlife monitoring cameras out on Tuggeranong Hill and Cooleman Ridge with the Parkcare groups. Through this process we hope that we can contribute some data to the local wildlife database (Canberra Nature Map) and train volunteers on how to use the equipment. Next, we can lend out the equipment to any groups or individuals who are keen on getting involved in wildlife monitoring. We have 8 wildlife cameras and 8 bat detectors available. If your group (must be a member of SACTCG) is interested in seeing what’s around your reserve, get in touch. The best time of year for bat monitoring is spring/summer. The wildlife cameras need approval from the land manager, which is easiest done through SACTCG – and approvals can take a few weeks.

--This grant project was completed in 2020, however the technology is still open and available to continue use for future monitoring--

Southern ACT Catchment Group has partnered with ACT Government’s Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Department to develop a survey to record data on tree health, in response to community concern about the health of some of their local trees- particularly Yellow Box E. Melliodora and Blakely’s Red Gum E. Blakelyi. This monitoring follows on from a previous ACT Government survey of tree health across the ACT. The aim of this new citizen science monitoring program is to re-collect data on tree health to monitor for improvement or decline in the condition of these previously monitored trees. Ultimately this will contribute to an increased understanding of the patterns and causes of dieback in the ACT and inform future management actions in our parks and reserves.

Some amazing Landcare and Parkcare volunteers have been learning how to use the survey tool, and will be heading out in their local parks and reserves to collect data on tree health.

If you are interested in helping out with the tree health survey, please email Correa at communications@sactcg.org.au.

--This grant project was completed in 2021, however, we are continuously looking for ways to improve participation of the younger cohort in Landcare. If you are a young person, check out the facebook group here for new updates and connections --

 

Landcare for our Future is a landcare program run for young people, by young people from 2020-2021.

We want to re-energise landcare in Canberra, make sure that this generation has the knowledge and connection to our local parks and reserves so we can continue landcare into the future- after all- it’s our future 🌱

The Landcare for our Future program is designed to get young people aged 18-35 involved in landcare activities such as planting, pest control, erosion control, track maintenance, litter removal and ecosystem monitoring. The program aims to link young people with existing groups and projects to build the Landcare movement into the future, develop skills and knowledge in environmental management and also facilitate devolving of knowledge and expertise held by local volunteers through mentoring activities.

To find out more about the program, see our summary here. 

If you're a young person keen to stay connected to others in the landcare space, check out the facebook group.