By: Michael Fox

Compost pile Creeping Lantan - 15 Aug 2017 lr

Creeping Lantana removed into piles

The old car park area will be restored as the 500 plants mature and spread.

Nature will now take over natural regeneration of the 500 square metres of Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses* cleared by the Lantana Buster Team on National Tree Day.

Seed stock of native grasses like Creeping Beard Grass Oplismenus aemulus will still be in the soil and with the Lantana not suppressing regrowth the grasses will return with the summer rain.

Griffith Mates - 25 April 2015

Griffith Mates clear the last weeds

 

The work of our Griffith Mates partners shows the effectiveness of natural regeneration techniques. The team removed the last Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia* from Fox Gully Bushcare Zone 8 in April 2015. Note the bare ground.

 

 

Graceful Grass - Ottochloa gracillima - 14 Aug 2017

Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2017 and Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima is returning naturally. Second hand decking timber is reused to manage erosion on the steep slope and collect leaf litter to retain moisture.

 

Shelter for lizards - 15 Aug 2017 lr

Lizard highways

 

 

 

Providing Shelter for wildlife helps nature bring the wildlife back to the site.

The piles of fallen branches are restored to the site to create lizard highways across the areas cleared of Creeping Lantana.

Eastern Bearded Dragon - Pogona barbata - 1 Aug 2017

Eastern Bearded Dragon Pogona barbata

 

 

 

Lizards like this young Eastern Bearded Dragon Pogona barbata are at risk crossing the bare weed-free ground. Creating lizard highways allows these cute creatures to stay safe while they hunt for lunch.

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Isotropis filicaulis

By: Michael Fox

The rain is frustrating when we have to cancel Bushcare events, however, it is also bringing the forest alive with three new plant species added in one week.

Susan Jones has found that removal of weeds and restoration at the Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare site has allowed natural regeneration of a number of plant species including this rare/threatened Fabaceae species Isotropis filicaulis.

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Polymeria calycina

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Swamp Bindweed Polymeria calycina a delicate creeper with pink flowers.

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Plantago debilis - 7 Apr 2013

Plantago debilis

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Plantago debilis a small native herb that provides seeds for native birds. Addition of these three new species means we now have 268 native plant species in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve.

Thanks to Ann Moran, Jaeger-Moran Environmental, for help with identification.

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On the other side of the mountain Alan Moore got this amazing close-up of an Eastern Bearded Dragon with its beard on display in Fox Gully Bushcare.

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Bearded Dragon - Mar 2013 - Alan Moore

Bearded Dragon Pogona barbata – Photo: Alan Moore

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Madeira Vine regrowth

By: Michael Fox

As we are still not allowed to work in our Fox Gully Bushcare site, Tuesday Bushcare moved to our Community Gully Day restoration site where Madeira Vine Anredera cordifolia regrowth has been prompted by the rain.

Madeira Vine is fast growing and extremely difficult to eradicate. When I was first researching Madeira Vine I was advised that digging out the tubers was the most effective technique. A special mix of herbicides and penetrant works however it has limited effectiveness and recommended practice is to: Target tubers as a priority, scrape, gouge and paint large ground tubers/roots.

Madeira Vine tuba - 5 Mar 13

Madeira Vine tuba

If we had to dig to uncover the tubers it seemed easier to simply avoid poison, dig the tubers out and remove from site. That is the practice we have been using successfully to eradicate Madeira Vine in the Fox Gully wild life corridor.  Clearing the vine, digging out tubers then targeting regrowth has resulted in large areas almost completely free of Madeira Vine.

Oplismenus aemulus - 5 Mar 13

Natural regeneration – Rainforest Grass

One of the tubers dug out today shows why this vine is so resistant to eradication with poison. The size of a large potato this tuber would not be greatly affected by poison simply applied to the vine leaves.

Eradicating this weed is frustrating, however there are also positive signs with natural regeneration restoring native species like Rainforest Grass Oplismenus aemulus and Scurvy Weed Commelina diffusa. Native grasses like Oplismenus aemulus are an invaluable restoration tool as they create Green Mulch which suppresses weeds, retains moisture and controls erosion.

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.

Mai enjoys her first Aussie bushcare experience

By: Susan Jones

Persistence pays off … for several weeks now, on Wednesday afternoons,  students from Griffith Uni have been helping Mt Gravatt Environment Group eradicate Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidensis from an area to be planted out on National Tree Day 2012.

Sheamus, Jonny & Mirandha do a sweep looking for Lantana regrowth

It has been a long and tedious job, but finally, the end is in sight!   What was once a thick weed mat is now clean and native grasses, lilies, lomandras and ferns  are reappearing of their own accord. The chemical action of Lantana species appears to surpress growth of native plants so removal allows natural regeneration of the plants indigenous to the mountain.

Group Leader, Jonny, has been the backbone of the GU student group, and we say a big thank you to him and all the students for the volunteer hours they are contributing to improve our bushland.

Sheamus, Tekee, Jonny, Mai & Mirandha enjoy a well-earned muffin break.

Well done everyone!

What is the Koala’s favourite food tree?

How do I photograph the feeling of being in the bush?

These were some of the questions answered for participants at our first Environmental and Photography Workshops held at the Fox Gully Bushcare site. The workshops were made possible by a 2010 BCC Environmental Grant.

Visit Mt Gravatt Library during October to see our display or view online The Mountain Through Other Eyes The Mountain Through Other Eyes

Field Botanist, Ann Moran, has thirty years practical experience in biodiversity assessment, weed management and revegetation planning. Ann also has a passion for working with people: indigenous communities, teaching at university or simply sharing her knowledge on guided walks.   I first met Ann in 2007 when she was doing an environmental survey on the mountain. Since then Ann has generously shared her expertise by identifying plant species I have photographed. Ann’s commitment to community groups has allowed me to quickly nail invasive weeds like Whiskey Grass, while adding one hundred native plant species not previously identified in Mt Gravatt Reserve. Ann is currently helping us edit the first published version of Flora & Fauna of Mt Gravatt Reserve.

Ann’s presentation built up our understanding of the complexity of our local habitat starting with the basics: understanding the importance of wildlife corridors for movement,  the major threats to biodiversity (like the clearing of native vegetation and invasion by alien species through garden waste dumping), changed fire management practices and global warming. All this information was related to our local flora and fauna species with powerful insights into the relationships between the plants and their dependent animals.It was a real pleasure to watch Ann’s information being soaked up by participants who took lots of notes and asked questions as Ann led a short walk around our restored areas.

As Ann was depending crutches that day, I led the group on a tour of the less accessible restoration areas explaining the effectiveness of natural re-generation. Nature is now repairing the area where Fishbone Fern has been removed in Zone 13. In less than twelve months native grasses have already covered cleared areas and is now suppressing weed growth, all with no action other than weed removal. Ann calls this Green Mulching: using native grasses to control erosion, retain moisture and suppress weeds. We also inspected the native grass lawn established at the rear of Heather and Alan’s house: taking the bush into the backyards to reverse the edge-effect.

Local photographer, Alan Moore is a passionate amateur who has that rare ability to capture the elusive feeling of being in the bush so you can put it on your wall at home. At Christmas 2009 Alan blew me away when he presented me with a custom made professional quality 2010 calendar with these extraordinary photos that truly captured our bushland home. So when it came planning our workshop I asked Alan if he would share his knowledge and creativity with our community.

Alan’s presentation, Pixplore, introduced simple techniques like the flat plane concept to manage the very short depth of field typical of macro photography: hold the camera parallel to the subject to ensure the best focus for the whole subject. Now I understand why I often have trouble when photographing small insects with the head in focus but the body blurred.

Following the presentation Alan sent the group off on assignment to apply their new knowledge to capture the feeling of being in the bush. Alan shared his creative insights and introduced participants to new ways to see the bush, new ways to experience the flora, fauna, geology and human structures in the landscape.

On return from assignment the participants shared the most amazing range of photos that captured our bushland and showed me new insights to this special place. Alan has kindly critiqued a number of photos from each participant and provided valuable comments. Click to see “The Mountain through other eyes”.

And what is the Koala’s favorite food tree?

Qld Blue Gum or Forest Red Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis

These beautiful straight trees are also a favorite of the forestry industry because of the rich red timber colour, thus Forest Red Gum.

Campbell Newman & Ian trying Treepopper

We were honoured to host local LNP candidate Ian Walker with Campbell Newman and Jeff Seeney at our Fox Gully Bushcare site yesterday.

Late in day and the light was fading however our visitors were still keen get out into the bush and see our restoration work. Campbell was particularly impressed with the elegant design of the Treepopper we use to remove difficult weed trees like Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis and Micky Mouse Plant Ochna serrulata. Specialist tools like the Treepopper dramatically increase productivity of our bushcare team allowing us to start getting ahead of these invasive weeds.

(l-r) Michael Fox, Campbell Newman, Jeff Seeney, Ian Walker

Jeff Seeney, with his Landcare experience, was particularly interested in our focus on natural regeneration. I was happy to show how, in less than twelve months, native Graceful Grass Ottochloa gracillima has returned to act as Green Mulch in the area cleared of Fishbone Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia.

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Briefing on Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan

I was proud to explain that sixteen households in our community have committed to restoring the gully wildlife corridors on their properties. However, briefing these experienced professionals on the Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan was challenging, with Campbell in particular, cutting right to the core in critiquing our cost estimates for some initiatives. So we can be proud as a community group to have Campbell Newman sum up the visit with: “Having seen first hand what is being done here I am not surprised that MEG has won two Spotless Suburbs awards in the recent 2011 announcements.”

My thanks to Ian Walker for the opportunity to present our community initiative and Alan Moore, a Fox Gully Bushcare volunteer, who tackled to fading light to provide our excellent photos.