CATCHMENT WIDE PROJECTS

Southern ACT Catchment Group is currently managing several projects which span throughout the catchment and collaborate with multiple member groups. 

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. SACTCG will be working in Namadgi Natoinal Park alongside ACT Parks and Conservation to continue supporting bushfire recovery in our catchment region.

 

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 program allows weeding to be extended to all year long compared to chemical treatments which occur only when plants are in full growth ie. mostly spring. SACTCG have extensive experience in delivering similar machinery lending programs for community weed control.

The new steam weeder was trialled at Cuppacumbalong Homestead near Tharwa on Saturday 26th October 2019 . A number of landholders and volunteers attended the trial event where they learnt how to operate the steam weeder and saw the impact it had on weeds in the area. Further trials are underway at several different sites.

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.

 

 

This project will deliver a citizen science program that monitors the health of restored patches of native woodlands and grasslands in nature reserves in Southern ACT.

Volunteers from local Landcare groups will take aerial images using a drone with centimeter-accurate GPS resolution in two 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.

 

Project activities will be:

·       On- site aerial imaging of over 30 hectares of restored woodland and grassland ecosystems on Urambi Hills and Mt Taylor. This includes the collection visual data on native floral density and condition of box-gum trees, grassland and understory density, percent of ground cover, erosion hotspots and invasive plant distribution and density. Selected sites are areas where recent revegetation, weed and/or erosion control has been undertaken.

·       Facilitation of community monitoring activities.

·       Training for citizen scientists whilst aerial monitoring is being undertaken. This will include how to use equipment to collect accurate and useful data for ecological monitoring of health and threats to woodlands and grasslands.

·       Liaison with ACT Government and other non-government agencies to ensure broad use of collected data.

·       Project administration and coordination of the citizen science program.

 

Aerial monitoring by local volunteer citizen scientists will:

·       Provide vital spatial imagery and information on the condition of, and threats to, two valuable woodland and grassland ecosystems.

·       Increase citizen science activity and skills of community groups in monitoring and use of UAV (drone) for data gathering.

·       Educate the community on the state of local ecosystems to encourage their protection.

·       Inform volunteers on the effectiveness of their work and assist targeting of volunteer restoration works and prioritisation of activities.

·       Provide baseline data, particularly during drought conditions, to enable ecological monitoring over time.

·       Provide a monitoring method that can be replicated in other local reserves with volunteer interest.

 

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. 

--This grant project was completed in 2021, however, equiptment is still available to loan for future projects--

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.