"> Community Stewardship Projects - SACTCG

Community Stewardship Projects

Southern ACT Catchment Group works with our member groups on Landcare and Parkcare projects which promote community stewardship and improve our environment- often with the support of government grants.

 

SACTCG is current supporting these community stewardship projects. Expand the menu below to read more about each one:

As part of a Transport and City Services Adopt-a-Park grant, Southern ACT Catchment Group has organised three Grass Identification Workshops to help urban landcare volunteers understand and identify grass species in their local patch. The first workshop was open to SACTCG members of urban landcare groups and took place at the Bonython Community Hub on Sunday the 18th October.

Alison Elvin from Natural Capital Pty Ltd ran the workshop and shared her deep and wide knowledge of grasses and grassland ecosystems with us. It was a wonderful day of learning and cramming our brains with fascinating grass-related information from Alison.

There were about 20 attendees from urban landcare groups (groups on TCCS Land) including Holder Wetlands, Hughes Grassy Woodland, Griffith Woodlands Volunteer Group, Minders about Simpsons Hill, Tuggeranong Lake Carers and the Croton Park Carers. Together, Alison took us through the value and function of native grasslands, the impacts of disturbance, integrated weed management and grass species identification information.

We will be hosting two more workshops which are field based. The first will take place on the 8th November to look at C4 (warm season) grasses and the second to take place on the 7th March to look at C3 (cool season) grasses. If you’re a member of an urban landcare group in Southern ACT, stay tuned or get in touch for more information about future workshops.

Thank you to Alison Elvin for sharing with us her time and endless expertise.

Thanks to an ACT Government Environment Grant, Southern ACT Catchment Group will build the biodiversity of the newly established Holder Wetland Precinct in collaboration with the Holder Wetland Volunteer Group. It will develop bird and bee friendly gardens to improve the abundance and diversity of native species on the urban edge of Weston Creek, whilst engaging and educating the local community. It will also develop patches of native grasses to trial the transition of an exotic urban grasslands to native grasses and install bee hotels across the site.

As a significantly sized natural zone on a suburban edge this precinct can provide prime habitat for native wildlife particularly small birds. Further naturalising this area will begin to develop a wildlife corridor out of the suburbs through woodland on rural land (the large Yellow Box Red Gum patch in the National Equestrian Centre) to the Murrumbidgee River Corridor.

SACTCG is working with the Holder Wetlands Volunteer Group on this project, due to be finished by the end of 2022. 

SACTCG is working on Biodiversity plantings at Simpsons Hill to restore habitat and engage the local school community.

Simpsons Hill is a 10 hectare open woodland reserve with the suburban areas of Chisholm. Urban patches are important stepping stones for bird and animal populations that share the city with us and this patch is 1km away from woodland over the Monaro highway. Building ecological resilience and strengthening the ecological value of the Simpsons hill as an urban natural area is a priority for SACTCG and MASH.
 Vegetation cover and corridors will also assist bird and small mammal dispersal through these suburbs.  The project will improve climate resilience of the habitat by planting species that will withstand extremes such as extended periods of heat, wind, frost and drought. Threats to biodiversity will be managed by treating of African Lovegrass and Blackberry in the project area to reduce the weed seed load and competition with native species allowing them to flourish.
This project will engage the local community through facilitating community members and a school to care for the ecosystems on Simpsons Hill and this will improve it’s ecological health and ongoing stewardship. A key benefit of the project is to build the next generation of environmentally concerned Landcarers by engaging with local youth.

SACTCG has been working with friends of Mt Taylor, as well as Friends of Tuggeranong Hill and Farrer Ridge Parkcare Group to protect Pink-tailed-Worm lizard (Aprasia parapulchella) populations. SACTCG has been working to treat invasive plants impacting on significant habitat patches in line with the ACT Action Plan for the species, the Canberra Nature Park Draft Reserve Management Plan 2019 and the Osborne W and Wong D 2012 case study on the long term survival of Pink-tailed –Worm lizard on Mount Taylor Reserve. Significantly this project builds on the work of two previous SACTCG projects on Mt Taylor to protect stronghold populations of Aprasia parapulchella and will facilitate a wholistic approach to protecting this habitat in the southern system of reserves in Canberra Nature Park.


Key activities to be undertaken on Tuggeranong Hill will be the removal of pest plants invading the edges of this high and medium quality habitat and treating early incursions of African Love Grass (ALG) along walking and fire trails running within and along the habitat edge to prevent greater incursions of this weed into the reserve. On Farrer Ridge invading weeds impinging the habitat will include Verbascum.

 

 

Skeleton Weed

Southern ACT Catchment Group (SACTCG) partnered with the Hughes Garran Woodland Landcare Group (HGWLG) to undertake control strategies for two invasive plants within the Hughes Garran Woodland site; African Love Grass and Skeleton Weed. African Love Grass is the predominant species in the area closest to the road verge on Kitchener street, and can be found in small patches throughout the reserve. Skeleton Weed is a difficult weed to remove due to the very long (up to 1 metre) tap root,
which can resprout if damaged. The weed was found in a few medium sized patches in the reserve, and were controlled before it established across the site.
As the Skeleton Weed is a difficult species to properly control, and research, backed up by the experience of the contractor, suggested that the plants should be treated twice, to ensure the plant dies. Therefore the focus of this grant was chemical treatment on the Skeleton Weed and manual techniques on the African Love Grass.
Native grasses where included in the grant to increase the native grass complexity at the site and to provide further competition to exotic grass species. It was decided that grass seed would be more successful than individual plants

SACTCG worked with Urambi Hills ParkCare Group to restore a dam at Urambi Hills Reserve thanks to an ACT Environment Grant in 2018. The aim of the grant was to rehabilitate a dam on Urambi Hills Reserve which had been previously used by cattle, who were used by PCS to reduce fuel loads in the reserve through grazing. The dam is within a Box Gum Woodland area.

A key part of the project was to change the fence lines to restrict access by the cattle to reduce grazing pressure and allow natural regeneration of native flora. The habitat qualities of the area were further strengthened by the planting of shrubs around the dam which have greatly increased the opportunities for native wildlife to access water. The project will also significantly increase the amount of suitable nesting habitat for small birds. This project reflects the objectives of the SACTCG and the Urambi Hills ParkCare group to replace and strengthen connectivity across the reserve between patches of Box Gum Woodland habitat.

SACTCG is working with Red Hill Regenerators to protect and improve an area of significant Yellow Box - Red Gum woodland on Red Hill reserve.
Red Hill is regarded as a high-quality biodiversity reserve within the ACT, and home to a number of significant species. Horehound, which is present in high densities this year, is a threat to suitable habitat for Superb Parrots, Gang gangs, Small Ant Blue butterflies (critically endangered) and their host species, Coconut Ants. ACTMAPi shows that the project area also has populations of Hoary Sunray, Button Wrinklewort, and other identified rare plants.
The control of Horehound in this area will facilitate the reestablishment of native species, decreasing competition and improving the ecological complexity of the site. Over sowing of native groundcover and planting of native shrubs will increase the biodiversity of the treated area, reduce future invasive plant incursions and provide more food and habitat to the diverse a range of native species in the reserve.
Activities within the project will consist of:
• Herbicide treatment, initial and follow-up by a qualified and experienced contractor.
• Over sowing of an appropriate competitive native grass/ forbes mix, predominantly by an experienced contractor.
• Planting of understory native species in the treated areas.
• Hand-weeding by the ParkCare group to remove smaller isolated patches of weed and where there is risk to significant plants.

 

The Hughes Garran woodland group has been working to control African Lovegrass, St John’s Wort, and other woody weeds, but have not yet been able to take on Skeleton weed. Skeleton weed is particularly concerning threat to Hughes Garran Woodland due to its increasingly rapid spread throughout the park- and when fully grown it is impossible to walk through. Taking on Skeleton weed is difficult: establish plants cannot be dug out due to their deep root system, and hand pulling just breaks the plant at ground level, allowing for more seed spread. Glyphosate based herbicides have little impact on Skeleton weed. SACTCG has received a grant from the 2019-2020 ACT Environment Grant Program. These funds will employ an approved contractor to spot spray skeleton weed with effective herbicide during the most effective stages of growth; allow the purchase of native grass seed to reseed sprayed areas, and support volunteer working bees to continue removing other invasive plants by hand.

As part of the 2014-2015 ACT Environment Grants, this project utilised erosion reduction methods such as using local rocks, and coir logs to impede erosion on the creek banks. Works were completed for three creeks using appropriate methods for each site. This required large machinery and a labour force to execute the work well, with preparations made to ensure minimal impact to the soil and wider environment. Monitoring of the site is ongoing, and so far the works have proven to be very effective in erosion management.

A revegetation project for the frontage of a degraded river adjacent to Castle Hill Homestead in Tharwa. The aim of this project was to improve the complexity of the vegetation, improve the soil quality and reduce the amount of sediment entering the river during heavy rain events. A contractor was engaged to dig holes, and Conservation Volunteers Australia teams worked to plant approximately 2000 native seedlings: nine hectares were planted over 3km river frontage. Trees were planted in an identified riparian zone as well as into the property to adjoin to a large area of EPBC listed Red Gum Yellow Box woodland on the property. Trees were planted in clumps with spaces between to allow for movement of wildlife and vehicle access if required. The planned planting at Castle Hill was completed on time with some funding left over, which was re-allocated to planting on Pine Island to increase native understory.  SACTCG received an ACT Environment Grant 2015-2016 for continued planting at the Castle Hill property to provide connectivity between all the existing patches along the river and with the surrounding EPBC listed woodland. 

 

DCIM/100MEDIA/DJI_0215.JPG

SACTCG worked with two landholders on contiguous land on Spring Station Creek to reduce Blackberry infestations in the riparian zone and significant patches of EPBC listed Yellow Box - Red Gum Woodland in the catchment. With 7.18 ha treated over the project, activities complimented efforts undertaken to control Blackberry by these landholders and by neighbouring properties and reduced seed load in the catchment and potential down steam contamination into the Murrumbidgee River.

The project also provided an opportunity to assess the effectiveness and affordability of unmanned aerial spraying for chemical weed treatments and compared this to a traditional treatment technique using a twin real manually operated QuickSpray trailer. The trial of the drone provided local farmers with access to new technology and informed potential future use of aerial treatment methods on typical terrain in the region. See the full report of the trial here.

This project was funded by 2018-2019 ACT ENVIRONMENT GRANTS

 

This project undertook a targeted approach by Gudgenby rural lessees in partnership with the SACTCG and the Namadgi depot of Parks and Conservation Service (PCS) working together to attack the most severe infestations of woody weeds in the Gudgenby River Catchment.

Large groves of exotic fruit trees were removed using a forest mulching machine (a ‘slashbuster’). This was combined with foliar spraying to successfully clear the riparian zone, permitting future access for weed control maintenance.

Follow up regrowth treatments and plantings is planned to ensure site stabilisation and reduce reinvasion of exotics.

Key achievements of the project were:

  • Limiting the spread of the weeds into the adjacent Namadgi National Park (NNP) and addressing infestations at the top of the catchment to reduce weed dispersal via the Murrumbidgee River Corridor.
  • achieving fast and efficient results with treatment methods catered for different infestation densities and terrain.
  • the successful partnership and engagement between SACTCG, rural Landholders, NNP staff, and ACT Government.

See our other projects at the pages below:

Rural Landcare

Urban Waterways

Catchment-Wide Projects