Mt Gravatt Environment Group


Track sign Roly Chapman - 29 Oct 2014 - lowres

Cr Krista Adams – new bike path map

By: Michael Fox

Photography: Alan Moore

Inspecting the new bike path through Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve today with  Cr Krista Adams, I commented on the professionalism and design sensitivity the BCC Bikeways Project team and contractors working is a sensitive habitat area.

Cr Krista Adams is a strong supporter of our bush restoration work and keen to explore ways to balance pressure of our urban environment with valuable bushland remnant habitat.

Brisbane best bike path - 29 Oct 2014

Path curves to minimise tree loss

The Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan identified the bike path will support long term investment in habitat restoration within Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve as community access is enhanced. The more community members value the Reserve as peaceful place to walk or ride, the more the City Council can allocate to habitat restoration and building wild life corridors.

Connecting with the existing path, near the Hoad Street entry to the Reserve, the new bike/walking path weaves its shady way among valuable Ironbarks, Scribbly Gums and Queensland Blue Gums – Koala’s favorite food tree, before crossing Mimosa Creek to link with the Klumpp Road Park & Ride.

Vegetation Communities and Connectivity Options BAAM

Vegetation Communities – BAAM 2011

Thoughtful planning has been critical to minimise impacts on vegetation as it is boarded by two significant remnant vegetation communities identified in the 2011 BAMM corridor assessment report.

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Restoration Mimosa Creek crossing

Aside from minimising tree loss with carefully planned curves, the design required the path to be laid above ground to reduce the impact excavation would have on tree roots. Running cabling for lights still required excavation however impact was reduced by use of vacuum excavation around significant tree roots. Were trees did have to be removed the logs were distributed in the bush to create habitat required by species like Echidnas that dig for insects living under fallen timber.

Wildlife Furniture - Mimosa Creek - 30 Oct 2014

Flow disruptors to support fish movement in flood conditions

Crossing Mimosa Creek was sensitive and restoration a work particularly important to manage erosion. One  bonus was removal of a large area of invasive Balloon Vine Cardiospermum grandiflorum and Madeira Vine Anredera cordifolia, as well as, a large Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora.

One unexpected design feature was installation of animal or wildlife furniture in the creek crossing. I had never heard to term “wildlife furniture” before Krista introduced the term when we inspected the creek crossing. BCC designers draw on a range of “furniture” used to create wildlife corridors for everything koalas and gliders to lizards.

In this case heavy water flows in local flood conditions required the installation flow disruptors to allow fish and turtles to move upstream.

Working with the huge City Council bureaucracy can be frustrating, however, the size of the organisation means that it also has the capacity to draw on high quality expert teams for projects.

Pollinator Link

Team briefing - 14 Oct 2014 - Larissa Roberts “Ok team, this is the plan.”

By: Laurie Deacon & Larissa Roberts

A team of 27 Griffith Mates students and community members! “Ok team, this is the plan. We have thirty plants to go in, logs and mulch to stabilise the banks reducing erosion.”

Sheamus shows how to plant on a slope Sheamus shows how it is done.

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First Sheamus shows how to plant the Lomandras, Wombat Berry and Scrambling Lilly generously donated by SOWN (Save Our Waterways Now).

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Then the team gets down to action.

PLG 14 Oct 2014Our photographer Larissa also interviewed participants as part of her university project about activism.

2014-10-12 16.22.58Phoebe: What made you come along today? “I’m part of the Griffith Honours College and we were looking at some way we could get involved with the local community and one of the girls from Griffith said Griffith University had a partnership with the bushcare people and we could come along and help out so…

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By: Michael Fox

Masked Lapwing nest with camouflaged eggs

Masked Lapwing nest with camouflaged eggs

Some parents, like our Brush-turkeys Alectura lathami, take a very hands/wings-off approach to raising their young. Male Brush-turkeys put a lot of effort into building a huge mulch pile for the eggs and monitor the mound temperature closely but once their chicks are hatched they are on their own and able to fly within a few hours.

Masked Lapwing (Spur-winged Plover) Vanellus miles parents couldn’t be more different. Given their approach to nesting, I am amazed that these birds seem to thrive in our urban spaces.

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How can eggs survive in a space like this?

In early September I  photographed this nest in the mown area between the Southern Cross Sports Club and Logan/Klumpp Road intersection. Very different from the Brush-turkey mound, this nest was just a shallow depression in the sand with a few twigs. With hundreds of cars passing, pedestrians, mowers and football fans, this is not an ideal place to hatch eggs.

Masked Lapwing - defending nest - 2 Sept 2014

Don’t come any closer!

However, Plovers are very protective parents using tactics ranging from moving away from their eggs, to threatening and sometime swooping. These very protective parents put on a very threatening display with loud squawking, spreading wings and running towards you showing their sharp wing spurs.  Simply moving away is usually enough and swooping birds rarely actually make contact … it is mainly bluff.

The Backyard Buddies team have a good guide for kids on relating to Plovers – http://www.fnpw.org.au/PDFS/Resources/maskedLapwing.pdf

My photos of the nest were all taken from about 2o metres distance, as I was already upsetting the parent birds and I didn’t want to make things worse.

So, that was early September, early October and our proud parents are now protecting four tiny balls of grey/white fluff … with powerful feet and legs that look like they belong to a miniature Emu.

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Plover chicks or miniature Emus?

The parents were still very protective as the chicks hunted for insects and grubs on the Vulture’s football field. Environmentally friendly solution to lawn grub problems?

Particularly interesting was the change in behaviour of the parents. Their calls now seemed to serve two purposes. As I approached well outside the fence the parent’s calls seemed to trigger the four chicks to immediately move away from the fence and further into the field. At the same time the parents made it very clear to me that I was not welcome. I wonder how they get on with the football players?

 

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Nest box monitoring - 3 Sept 2014

(l-r) Marshal, Alan, Saki and myself. Liz is on the camera

 

By: Michael Fox

Kyoto University student, Saki, joined Marshal, Alan, Saki, Liz and myself at Bushcare on Wednesday to check the nest boxes providing important habitat for hollow dwelling wildlife.

We the GoPro camera to  drop in on the Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis family were at home in one of the glider boxes.

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Squirrel Glider family

Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis family

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A bundle of Gliders.

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Brushtail & baby - 3 Sept 2014

Brushtail Possum Trichosurus vulpecula & baby

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Then we visited mother Brushtail and her baby (called a joey like Kangaroos) in the Kookaburra nest box. The Brushtail took over the nest box not long after the installation by Hollow Log Homes. The Kookaburras took over the Boobook Owl box to raise their family.

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Michael Fox – Fox Gully Bushcare

By: Michael Fox

I was honoured, yesterday, to present to  about 40 bushcarers attending the Habitat Brisbane and Wildlife Conservation Partnerships, Orientation day.

Preparing my presentation was a very positive experience as I reviewed and reflected on what I have learned and what out bushcare teams have achieved.

Download a PDF version of presentation

I used a number of videos from our CD Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve and our website. A sample:

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Asparagus Fern - 2 Prong Hoe - June 2014

Cyclone 2 Prong Hoe

By: Michael Fox

Garden escapees like Asparagus Fern Asparagus aethiopicus are one of three key threats to the long term future of the two hundred sixty-nine native plant species found in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Weeding a 66ha reserve is a bit more of a challenge than managing the average backyard and the bushcare workforce are all volunteers. So getting the “right tool for the job” is critical for team productivity and workplace safety.

Asparagus Fern - 2 Prong - edges - June 2014

Waging war on weeds

The Cyclone 2 Prong Hoe is an excellent general purpose tool for restoration work:

  • light weight allows longer periods of continuous use; and
  • long handle reduces back strain by reducing bending and allows for safer access to weedy slopes.

Most important the 2 Prong Hoe is the ideal weapon for attacking the prickly difficult to tackle Asparagus Fern.

Asparagus Fern - seeds - close - 3 June 2014 - Alan Moore

Major source of re-infection

The strong narrow prongs easily hook in under the crown of the plant allowing the whole root mat to be lifted out in one piece. For larger plants where to root mat for one plant can be cover more than one square metre use the hoe to lift the root mat around the edges to reduce the weight before lifting from the crown.

Remember to wear gloves when you attack this prickly weed. I like the Flex Tuff gloves which offer good protection while allow a good sense of touch.

Asparagus Fern is highly infectious with dozens of seeds that birds love so every plant removed is one less source of re-infection.

By: Michael Fox

As part of the continuing development of Mt Gravatt Environment Group, Laurie Deacon has taken on the role of President. I will continue to work closely with Laurie, continuing as Editor of Mt Gravatt Environment Group blog and Fox Gully Bushcare co-coordinator.

IMG_20140412_132834Over the past decade the team has, expanded restoration activities in seven sites surrounding the Mountain, strengthened relationships with community, university and school stakeholders, contributed to research of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve, increased use of the Reserve by community members and developed community education. Membership is strong and members have received local, state and international recognition of their work in Nature Conservation.

Laurie brings a wealth of experience with volunteer groups and environmental work ranging from membership of the management board of a national environmental NGO, protecting endangered Cassowaries in the Daintree, presenting at the UN Congress for Environmental Education: June 2013 in Marrakesh and working with turtles and the local Majestic Park Scout Group.

Laurie is currently taking our Pollinator Link initiative Queensland wide, gaining political support and showing the way with the Pollinator Link garden in Mt Gravatt State High School.

So how does the world create such an amazing person?

 

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Laurie was born at Tewantin and grew up on lake Doonela catching mud crabs and feeding pelicans. A family heritage based on  Maroochy River cane farming Grandparents  and Palmwoods orchards Grandparents. Laurie, went to  Nambour State schools doing Agriculture and Animal husbandry with the vision of a future as a vet.

Then changed direction with a Degree in Occupational Therapy specialising in the human species rather than other animal species. Laurie has provided Rehabilitation across a range of physical, paediatric and mental health patient/client groups; across Acute Hospital, Community Health & Tertiary Health Service Models.  Including a time working as Director of Occupational Therapy (OT) at Nambour General Hospital. Laurie’s roles have included designing and developing these services including research, development of standards, planning and implementing interventions and services.

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This broad OT therapy experience allowed allowed Laurie to appreciate the necessity and responsibilities of  providing a healthy natural environment in which humans can learn, grow and thrive. Her interest has always been in getting people to reach their potential for a healthy well balanced life …. doing things of real value! “It’s the people that make the difference but it’s the environment that makes the people.”   Scientific evidence supports the encouragement of  everyone to be active in their neighbourhood doing things they care about … and everyone has a special skill  that is needed to achieve a healthy local community.

As Laurie says: “I am involved in many ‘whole of landscape conservation programs’  as well as individual species programs. Estuaries full of fish and birds and wildlife corridors of any habitat through cities, farms, and bush …I love them, I see them. Biodiversity in all its glory is better than going to the Paris Louvre.

I started my interest  in community service with Save the Franklin Dam campaign at uni in 1982 and then later FIDO as a ‘formal’  socially active community person.

I have seen that folk need to have a one off visceral experience with nature or a ‘over period of time relationship with nature’ before they will care and value it. So getting your feet wet in creeks and looking deep into the eyes of a koala up close and personal is vital for our people to really come alive.”

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