By: Michael Fox

Jonny and James (top) clearing weeds and installing habitat

Restoration of Zone 13 is now expanding to include Zone 8 with the Fishbone Fern being cleared from the slope and our Griffith University team install old railway sleepers to stabilise the slope, improve access and provide habitat.

The pile in the foreground is composting weeds. Our best-practice approach means that we recycle 80% of the weeds on-site, reducing workload and fuel used in removing weeds from site while retaining valuable nutrients.

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FWR Group starts restoration – Sept 2010

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Zone 13 restoration started in September 2010 with the FWR Group corporate team.

We considered using poison to clear the massive Fishbone infestation. However an on-ground survey found four local fern species surviving among the weeds. Rather than risk losing the surviving specimens we started the

Restoration progress – Sept 2012

slower but, long term, more effective manual removal of the weeds.

Two years and we are past half way. There is still a lot of weed removal to be done but nature is working with us with natural regeneration restoring the native grasses, lomandras, Scrambling Lily and Soapy Ash.

We have achieved a dramatic

No CCA poison – just lots of holes for hiding

reduction in resources required with no new plants or mulch required to achieve this result.

I am particularly proud of our latest initiative, reusing old hardwood railway sleepers – remains of steel spikes can still be seen. Roger, one of our gully neighbours recently replaced a retaining wall built about thirty years ago with second hand railway sleepers. Our fit young Griffith students pitched in loading the sleepers into Roger’s ute and then carrying them down to our work site. Rather than going to landfill we are reusing these sleepers to stabilise slopes and improve access for restoration work.

The sleepers are a particularly valuable resource because they have NOT been treated with copper-arsenate which would kill the wildlife we are working to restore. The solid hardwood has survived insect attack well with softer timber eaten away leaving hollows and cracks providing invaluable habitat for the many species of insects and lizards vital to the health of our bushland. A key finding of last-year’s BAAM report was the lack of fallen timber so these sleepers are addressing that issue.

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