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This theme reports on Council’s strategic planning for and implementation of initiatives to manage native and introduced plants and animals found in the Leichhardt LGA.

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT

Natural ecosystems have been altered and fragmented by urbanisation and remnant patches of native habitat are rare. Council staff and community volunteers began native revegetation, or bushcare, in Leichhardt in the mid- 1990s. Revegetation activities aim to re-instate indigenous vegetation and provide habitat for locally vulnerable plant and animal species. Bushcare activity and the area under revegetation have both grown in 2012-13.  

View Table of Indicators

 

IMPLEMENTATION

Bushcare

bushcare-soeIn the period July 2012 - June 2013 Council and the community have continued to improve and expand areas of bushland revegetation. Thirteen new bushcare volunteers have been added to Council’s volunteer database, and the number of currently active volunteers remains steady at 35. The number of volunteer hours worked increased from 2,574 hours during the 2011/12 period to 2,832 during the 2012/13 reporting period. These figures are for regular volunteers only, and do not include one-off planting days such as National Tree Day or the EcoFestival planting.

The number of bushcare groups remains steady at 6. There is strong, ongoing interest in the weekly and monthly Callan Park bushcare groups and the bi-weekly Rozelle Bay Community Native Nursery volunteer group.

Native Tubestock Planting

The number of native tubestock planted during the 2012-13 period was 8,140 plants. This is well above the average annual number of tubestock planted in previous years. Unlike previous years where many of the plants were sourced from the Cornucopia Nursery, all tubestock planted in 2013/13 were sourced from the Rozelle Bay Community Native Nursery.

Area of Native Revegetation

The amount of native revegetation on public lands has increased from 54,500 m2 to 57,700 m2 during 2012-13. This has been achieved via an additional 1000 m2 of revegetation at Callan Park, a further 1,900 m2 of revegetation at Leichhardt Park, and extensions to the White’s Creek Valley corridor totalling 300 m2.

Bushcare Carbon Offsetting Scheme

A Bushcare Carbon Offsetting Scheme was endorsed at the May 2013 Ordinary Council Meeting. For every volunteer-hour worked, Council will purchase $1 of carbon offsets on behalf of the volunteer. The offsets will be sourced from various projects including renewable energy projects in developing countries and forestry projects in Australia. This level of funding will provide significant personal carbon offsetting for volunteers. For example, a volunteer who contributes 4hrs per week for 11 months of the year will have $188 per year contributed to the fund on their behalf. This will be used to offset approximately 27 tonnes of CO2 emissions, which is roughly equivalent to the total carbon emissions produced by an average Australian citizen per year.

The scheme is designed to contribute to local community efforts to combat climate change, add environmental value to our community bushcare program, and assist in attracting and retaining bushcare volunteers.

Relocation of Rozelle Bay Community Native Nursery

nursery-soeIn September 2012, The Rozelle Bay Community Native Nursery was relocated to Wisdom St., Annandale, and continues to attract enthusiastic volunteer involvement. The relocation enabled major upgrades to the facilities including improved glasshouse, shade and hardening-off areas, potting area and tool shed, kitchen, morning tea area, office and toilet facilities. The nursery is now an excellent space for community engagement and the environmental education of volunteers and the wider community. The increased growing capacity of the new nursery will provide opportunities for increased native revegetation in Council’s parks, and for the provision of native plants for use in residential properties.

Whites Creek Constructed Wetlands

The Whites Creek Wetland continues to provide the ecological function of filtering stormwater before it reaches Rozelle Bay & Sydney Harbour, as well as providing a freshwater habitat for a number of native species including long-necked tortoises, frogs, native fish, insects and other aquatic life-forms.

The low dissolved oxygen sensor installed in the pumpwell of the wetland system has detected low oxygen levels due to sewerage overflows on a number of occasions during the period. The LDO device senses the reduction of oxygen levels caused by raw sewerage, and immediately signals the pump control system to de-activate the wetland pump. This prevents the introduction of raw sewerage into the wetland ponds. An SMS message is automatically sent to relevant council staff informing them of incident. Appropriate action is then taken to clear the pumpwell and re-activate the pump. A new pump that is better able to handle the gritty environment and is less prone to breakdowns and expensive rebuilds has been installed in the wetland. Wetland function has improved as a result with a dramatic decrease in service requirements.

Cook’s River to Iron Cove GreenWay

The GreenWay corridor passes through the Leichhardt, Ashfield, Marrickville and Canterbury LGAs along the Hawthorne Canal and the Rozelle to Dulwich Hill goods railway corridor. It provides the basis for an environmentally sustainable transport corridor between the Cooks River and Iron Cove. An integral component of the GreenWay vision is the re-establishment of local provenance native vegetation to provide a continuous vegetation and habitat corridor from Rozelle to Dulwich Hill. Council staff are working with staff from partner Councils and Transport for NSW to finalise details of a biodiversity compensation package designed to ensure that habitat lost through the construction of light rail infrastructure is compensated by means of native revegetation established elsewhere in the Greenway Catchment. The native revegetation is to be established and maintained by Transport for NSW for a period of five years.

Class 4 Weed Declarations

Reports seeking endorsement for the declaration of Celtis sinensis, African Olive, Camphor Laurel, Turkey Rhubarb, Moth Vine, Madeira Vine and Morning Glory as Class 4 noxious weeds under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 in the Leichhardt LGA have been provided to Council. Council has resolved to endorse these declarations. Class 4 classification allows local councils to specify control measures that take local factors into consideration. Management plans can therefore be tailored to avoid potential environmental or financial difficulties. The declaration of these weeds is still under consideration by the National Weeds Advisory Commission.

Cameron’s Cove Bushcare Works

Following extensive weed removal, over 2,000 native tubestock have been planted in the area above Ewenton Park, East Balmain, recently handed over to Council by NSW Police. The plants are progressing well and increasing the habitat value of the existing native vegetation. A timber boardwalk is currently being installed through the area, linking the foreshore at Ewenton Park with Ternen St., Balmain. The Cameron’s Cove site has been included in the Leichhardt Native Revegetation and Biodiversity Management Plan.