By: Michael Fox

As reported in last week’s Southern Star, positive action by Brisbane City Council teams has reduced or stopped illegal downhill mountain biking in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

I inspected the tracks on over the last two Sundays and I could not see any

Southern Star – Letters – 22 August 12

evidence of bike activity.  Walking from the top with the Council Ranger we noted that the track is now covered with mulch and log barriers were in place.

When I checked the tracks from the bottom the biker bridge has been removed and I could not see any signs of recent bike activity.

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Barrier sawn-off beside No Bike sign

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However, I did find further evidence of past vandalism. A barrier had been neatly sawn-off and torn away from the post to allow bikes to exit to the road right near Gertrude Petty Place. This had been done so neatly that I walked past this before without noticing. It was only when I found the sawn section thrown into the grass that I realised what had been done.

Sawn-off and torn away to allow bike access

The barrier has sawn-off some time ago and this has been a well used mountain bike track coming out right beside a Council sign showing that mounting biking is illegal.

Council officers will repair the barrier to help ongoing management of this vandalism.

Report illegal mountain biking to the BCC Call Centre – 07 3403 8888

8:30am Briefing the team and taking their minds off the cold (Photo: Alan Moore)

By: Michael Fox

7:45am The first participants have arrived even before I have finished setting up … and it’s cold!

8:30am The team is assembled, time for briefing: we have over 200 plants ready. Plants selected included vines like beautiful butterfly plant Sarsparilla Vine Hardenbergia violacea, trees like Coast Banksia Banksia integrifolia
– food plant for Sugar Gliders, and trees like the Blueberry Ash Elaeocarpus reticulatus with its fascinating pretty pink downward facing flowers. Downward hanging flowers are a valuable food source in rainy periods when nectar is washed out of Banksia and Grevillea flowers.

9am Ross & Barry planting large Hickory Wattle (Photo: Alan Moore)

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9am Planting is well underway with people scattered all over the slope. Ross Vasta MP Federal Member for Bonner and gully neighbour Barry work together planting a large Hickory Wattle Acacia disparrima.

9:50am Miranda and Scott

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9:50am Must be time for morning-tea.

Looking around it is a real pleasure to see our neighbours engaged in a cooperative effort to restore this corridor for our wildlife.

9:50am (l-r) Alistair, Lyn, Ray & Trey

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Three generations of the Fulton family have been strong supporters of our restoration work with members involved in every planting day since 2008 when they planted two trees in memory of Lyn’s mother. Ray has also propagated Lomandras and potted Acacias that are now thriving in bushcare site.

10:45am Community at work

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10:45am Planting is almost complete so the team starts moving up the gully clearing Madeira Vine anredera cordifolia and Devil’s Ivy Epipremnum aureum.

Madeira Vine is a major problem in the gully, smothering trees and spreading aggressively with hundreds of potato like tubers which can each shoot into two or three new vines.

Devil’s Ivy or Pothos
is another invasive weed in the gully, climbing and dragging down trees. Devil’s Ivy, a common house plant, is also toxic to dogs and cats.

10:50am Ann Moran – Field Botanist

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11am Installing Men’s Shed nest box – a new home for Scaly-breasted Lorikeets

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10:50am Further down the gully Ann Moran a Field Botanist with decades of experience, generously shared her amazing knowledge of our native plants. I didn’t realise what looks like multiple leaves on the Black Bean Castanospermum australe are actually one leaf and if you sniff the end of the stem it smells of cucumber.

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11am Installing our first nest box. Logging and farming of the mountain habitat means that the forest is less than one hundred years old. Nest hollows typically start to form once trees are over one years old and then can take another fifty years to create. Therefore there is a shortage of nest hollows available for birds and gliders. Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed have now partnered with Mt Gravatt Environment Group to produce high quality nest boxes designed to the needs of local species. Scaly-breasted Lorikeets – all green with flecks (scales) of yellow on the chest, are smaller than Rainbow Lorikeets and have lost out in the fight for available tree hollows. This box with its smaller entry hole which excludes the larger birds will remain available for our Scalies.

Mt Gravatt Environment Group sell Men’s Shed nest boxes for $50. Boxes are available for a number of bird and glider species. For details email: megoutlook@gmail.com

11:20am Andrew with native grasses

11:20am Native grasses like Rainforest Grass Oplismenus aemulus, Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima and Scented Top Grass Capillipedium spicigerum  operate as Green Mulch suppressing weeds, retaining moisture and reducing erosion. These grasses are also caterpillar food for butterflies like the Orange-streaked Ringlet.

Andrew get special attention from the photographer: his wife Kerry. A participant in our 2011 Photography Workshop has developed a real skill in capturing the moment and the wildlife.

11:30am Susan (left) and Don clearing weeds

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11:30am Susan Jones, Mt Gravatt Environment Group Secretary, pitches in with gully neighbour Don to remove Madeira Vine.

12noon Planting done. Now nature takes over to complete the job

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12noon Over 200 plants in place. Now we hand over the nature to complete the job. Come back for the 2013 Community Gully Day to see the results of our partnership with nature.

Thank you to all participants. It is inspiring to be part of such an amazing community event. Also thank you to Annette & Genevieve who hosted the event, Don & Clair, Ray & Lyn and SOWN who donated plants and Jason & Tash who donated timber for the slope.

Some neighbours who were unable to participate on the day made tax-deductible donations that paid for the tube stock.

By: Michael Fox

Our community speaks out against destructive mountain biking on Mt Gravatt:

Southern Star – 1 August 2012

Local Councilor Krista Adams has reconfirmed the Council’s long standing commitment to keeping Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve free of mountain bike riding.

Letter of support – Whites Hill-Pine Mountain Community Group Inc.

BCC Local Area Services are providing strong on ground action – closing illegal tracks, mulching damaged areas and increasing their presence in the Reserve to catch riders still ignoring our community’s laws. Riders, who apparently could not see multiple signs saying “No Motor Bikes No Mountain Bikes”, have now been told very clearly that off road riding is illegal and subject to $500 fines.

We have also received emails and letters of support by community members and groups heartened by our action and the support we have received from Council.

We are proud of our community

Track exit beside No Mountain Bikes sign

and appreciate the recognition of our work however we know from past experience that illegal mountain bikers will be back fast if we, as a community, don’t stay alert.

As recently as Wednesday last week, National Tree Day, I found fresh bike tracks on in the area just down hill of the water reservoir. I was walking those tracks to document the erosion and tree root damage caused by mountain bikes.

New mountain bike bridge

These were not just tracks cleared through the bush, I even found a what looked like a fairly new timber bridge.

Mountain bike activity in that area has caused erosion up to half a metre deep in places and extensive root damage to mature Koala food trees.

What action can you take?

Illegal mountain biking can be reported to the BCC Call Centre 24/7 on 07 3403 8888

Please be careful about approaching riders by yourself. These riders are already acting illegally and we have had a number of reports recently of community members being subjected to aggressive and violent verbal abuse.

Track erosion

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Roots damaged and under mined by erosion

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