Protective bush seal to surround reserve
|LOTA CREEK CASE STUDY|
|Location:||Lota Creek, Queensland|
|Funding:||$218,000 (excluding GST)|
|Partners:||Bayside Creeks Catchment Group Incorporated, Mookin-bah Bushcare Group, Brisbane City Council, local community|
Local community groups are teaming together to restore and protect the 93 hectare Mookin-bah Reserve. With its diverse species and native fauna, it has significant conservation value but is threatened by surrounding urbanisation and fragmentation of native vegetation.
The Mookin-bah Reserve is located in a coastal area east of Brisbane, within the Lota Creek Catchment Area. The Mookin-bah Bushcare Group and Bayside Creeks Catchment Group have been working in the area for more than 15 years. Regular volunteer groups clear weeds including lantana and Brazilian nightshade, and replant when needed after storm damage or fire management.
With this funding, they can now create a corridor connection to protect local species and their habitats, and establish a perimeter of native vegetation around the reserve to control weeds and exotic plants.
|Local community groups are teaming together to restore and protect the 93 hectare Mookin-Bah Reserve.|
Clearing and monitoring in stages
Keith Brown is the Secretary of the Bayside Creeks Catchment Group and a volunteer with the Mookin-bah Bushcare Group. "As the area became increasingly urbanised over the past few years, we've had more exotics and weeds creeping into the reserve," he says.
This project focuses on clearing a track 40 metres long by 20 metres wide each year for five years, removing weeds and exotic plants. The long term goal is to replant the entire perimeter. "Revegetating a targeted area around the perimeter will protect the much larger area behind it," Keith says.
By completing relatively small patches in stages, Keith says the native fauna can adapt easily and won't be disturbed. An edge seal 2.5 metres wide will be created on one side of the track to protect the area from weed encroachment. As well as planting additional native trees in the edge seal such as Casuarinas, ground cover and smaller bushes will also be planted to keep the weeds at bay.
Landholders adjacent to the other side of the track will also be involved in the process. "They can learn more about bush control and regeneration through this program," says Keith.
The native plantings will be carefully monitored before the next stage of clearing and planting starts. Keith describes the process of weed monitoring "like that of an archaeologist. They put down quadrants, literally count all the weeds and mark changes over time. It's quite a scientific process."
|Weeds and exotics will be cleared, with the hope that the entire perimeter can be planted over time.|
Bringing together a committed community
A crucial part of this project is local community education and involvement. The Group will run education days to train community members in weed recognition and removal. There will be public signage at the edge seal to explain its importance in protecting the core habitat of the reserve.
The Gumdale Scout Group will support the group with weeding working bees, volunteering their 40 active members. The Bayside Creeks Catchment Group has also approached the Wynnum Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation to seek their input throughout the project.
Keith expects to have as many as 40 to 60 people at regular planting days throughout the year, thanks to the volunteer involvement and commitment of the local community.
Creating a sustainable reserve for future generations
With so may stakeholders involved, making sure everyone agrees to the plan will be the project's first challenge. The area has state, regional and local significance, and the local catchment group (Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee) will also support the project through its Environmental Service Unit.
In the long term, there are plans to create a trail through the reserve highlighting points of interest.
"This funding will achieve a lot for this area. I sincerely hope that the edge seal will be effective. It will have a very positive impact on the entire reserve and this will allow more people to enjoy the diverse area 窶ウfrom wetlands, salt marsh and estuaries to grasslands and bush." says Keith.