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Sep 1, 2015 6:40 EST

Scott Creek Conservation Park – Almanda Project – Year 2

iCrowdNewswire - Sep 1, 2015

Scott Creek Conservation Park – Almanda Project – Year 2

This Project began with a concerted fund-raising effort last year. With this very important and ambitious project, we hope to achieve, not just the restoration of native habitat to these creek systems but create a model for other Friends Groups and private land managers, for the way it can be achieved.

The most important aspect of the Almanda Project is that it will entail monitoring of every aspect of our restoration work, pre and post on ground work and crucially, we will be auditing this work to ensure the best outcomes for all native species, not just plants.

We believe that for the long term recovery of degraded ecosystems, comprehensive and pro-active monitoring is the only way of measuring success. It is not good enough to view the eradication of weed species and the return of a few native species as an end in itself.

An overall long-term plan for this restoration work is essential as the work needs to be conducted in a staged and methodical way. This will prevent too much habitat loss in the short term and to allow the recovery of these areas before moving on. The welfare of all native species dependant on these areas, from invertebrates to reptiles, birds and mammals, is central to our work.

By carrying out detailed surveys using a system called ‘BushRAT’ (Bush Rapid Assessment Technique), regular, future follow-up surveys will then be measured against the baseline surveys. This will allow us to see gains, losses or no change to native vegetation, weed cover/density and bird and mammal numbers. Every aspect of this project will be monitored regularly to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Since fund-raising ended in 2014, the Friends of Scott Creek CP have organized biological surveys of three of the eight targeted creek systems. Once the surveys were completed, blackberry spraying and brush-cutting of tracks to assist access to difficult to reach infestations began.

Work has commenced on the Almanda Creek System with all the infestations of blackberries sprayed or hand weeded along the system. During the survey Slender Twig-rush, Baumea gunnii ,Rare for SA, was discovered which is the first time it has been recorded in the Park. The Ruddy Ground-fern (Hypolepis rugosula), Rare SA, was also found during spraying. This fern had not previously been recorded in this part of the park before and is known only from a few small populations in Scott Creek CP. This creek is a safe refuge for the Mountain Galaxias. As trout and red-fin perch are unable to access this creek, the Galaxias are safe from predation. Working bees have targeting this area removing blackberry, introduced mint, water cress, introduced grasses and medics that were choking the system. An extensive Erica infestation has been eradicated at the headwaters of Almanda Ck.

In the Viminaria Creek system a new population of the State Vulnerable Water Blinks (Montia fontana), was discovered. There are only two other populations in the Park and this is the largest. Yorkshire fog grass is encroaching on this site and much of it has already been manually removed by the Friends. A nearby infestation of the sticky weed Stinkwort, (Ditrichia graveolans) has also been eradicated.

In Bush Rat Creek tracks were slashed up the middle of the targeted area of the creek line as the blackberry infestation is very wide. Blackberry spraying has been carried out with the mid-section of creek line being left until the end sections have recovered and begun to regenerate. It is important that the work be carried out in an orderly fashion so that wildlife, such as the Nationally Endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot, are not threatened further. Several side creeks were also treated. A significant section of this creek line is a Manna Gum Woodland over Silky Tea Tree, both of which are rated as Vulnerable in the MLR. Much of the tea-tree was swamped by blackberry with no likelihood of recruitment; many plants are senescing and would have disappeared in the next few years. On the nearby North Bushrat Ck, Friends and a contractor have slashed tracks through blackberry and freed up populations of many small, uncommon & rare bog plants. Regrowth willows have also been treated

All funds raised will allow us to continue this important work. Donations to this project will be accepted by the “Friends of Parks Gift Fund” – A Public Fund Registered as a Tax Deductible Gift Fund.

Contact Information:

John Wamsley

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