Third Falls Project SiteThe Third Falls track runs from Moores Road to the Third Falls. If you walk along this Track in Spring you will be able to see about 70 different species of plants in flower. Numerous birds, animals and reptiles are regularly seen in this area of the park. Work on this project commenced in 1994, weed control continue in the neighbouring projects:
- private property to the East,
- Pylon Track Project to the West
- Moores Road Group to the North
- Climbers Project to the South
Third Fall Track Project 2017This year has seen us complete over 100 hours of work in and around the Third Falls Track Project site. This included
- patrolling the Third Falls track & old broom hedge (20 hours), and
- follow up or maintenance weeding in areas treated in the last few years, (50 hours) and
- initial weeding in some areas above the Third Falls (20 hours)
- weeding adjacent to Green Army areas around Hiker's Hill, Rocky Hill Track and Moores Road. (30 hours)
This increase seems to be linked to the increase in the combined efforts of the many people, groups and organisations that are currently undertaking conservation efforts in the Morialta and Black Hill Conservation Parks.
The other possible driver for these comments is the change in the landscape itself that is bought about by removing woody weeds. Woody weeds tend to be vigorous pioneer species that form a monoculture, whereas the bush tends to have a more complex plant community that has open & varied lines of sight, variation in colours, variation in the sound of wind and birds, variation in the shadows, and if you stop to look, no two squares of bush are the same.
We plan to continue our efforts in 2018, and if you see us in the Park, you are welcome to stop and have a chat, and help pull out a weed or two.
Paul and Maureen
2016 Activity ReportIf you take the time to visit the top of the 3rd falls at Morialta you will see a lot of change. This year, 2016 has seen a large amount of weeding work in this area. Of note are:
- Looking North East, the final clearing of small broom seedlings around the boot scraper by Maureen & me.
- looking North up the steep slope, completion of the removal of broom & gorse in the triangle between the Colonial Track and the Third Falls track by Maureen,
- Looking upstream, broom and gorse work by Josh and his team, and work further upstream by Jacob and his team from the Green Army.
- Looking south, up the steep slope, basal spraying of olives by Josh and his team.
- Looking west, above the falls, Maureen & I have continued to remove weeds from this area. By removing a large blackberry, I have uncovered a number of Australian Hollyhock that flower with large white/pink flowers in spring.
- Along the Third Falls track to Moores Road, Maureen & I have completed the, now, annual patrol of this part of the project.
This year has also seen the heavy rains later in the season, which has scoured the creek bed. We will continue work in this area to protect the native plants that are already regenerating in this area.
It is pleasing to see the changes in the areas where we have worked previously, each year the small seedlings of native plants that we have carefully worked around, get a bit bigger, the understory of the small bulbs, herbs and orchids gets a little thicker.
This year we have again seen the tree martins along the creek.
Paul & Maureen.
2015 Activity ReportThis year saw us cross the Fourth Creek above the Third Falls. Work included
- removing the blackberry and broom copse immediately above the falls
- treating the willow (thanks to Garth)and a number of smaller willows
- planting 50 Leptospermums in the creek line (thanks to the Parks team)
- treating a number of large olives on the southern slope.
- Keeping the mint down to allow room for the leptospermums.
- Treating watsonias
We plan to continue our work in this area next year.
We have patrolled the rest of the Third Falls Track and remove the very sparse weeds as we find them.
See you in the park.
Paul and Maureen
Third Falls track report 2014This year has seen Maureen & I continue our efforts along the Third Falls Track. We spent about 40 hours in total this year, with three main areas. It was a pleasure to host the Friends group at the site and share their enthusiasm for the Park, and have them pull a few weeds too!.
We spent about 4 hours patrolling the Third Falls Track, that is the 1.9km of trackside from Moores Road gate to the Twin creek track, this work is focussed on removing scattered and small weeds from areas that have been previously treated for weeds.
Second, was a 4 hour focused patrol on the "hedge" area, this again focussed on removing scattered weeds. The slow and steady germination of native seedlings in this area is good to see.
The third area has taken up most of our time this year, this in the area above the third falls. There has seen steady weeding over the last few years, with the resulting reduction in the density and size of the weed seedlings. Native plants are now dominant in this once weedy area. Olives are occasionally found under the blue gums and have been removed. The efforts this year has seen us reach the creek line above the Third Falls.
As noted above the Friends group visited the site this year, and we have also had visits from an Echidna, a young koala, a group of spitfires, nesting tree martins, blue wrens & many numerous small birds. A small brown/ginger animal was sighted one misty morning, but did not stay long enough to be identified. Another mystery.
Paul & Maureen.
Third Falls track report 2013This year has seen us consolidate our efforts near the bootscraper just above the third falls track. Long term Friends who are familiar with this area of the park will recall the small shed that was there a few years back. The eucalypts here are blue & pink gums, which make an interesting contrast to the Stringybarks found from Twin creek track to Moores Road along the Third Falls track.
The change in vegetation is quite abrupt. One can imagine this edge as a wave that moves up and down the slope over the years as the dominance of the tree species in this region ebb and flow.
The understorey here is open, with predominately hop bush, lepidosperma. a stark contrast to the many species that live under the Stringybark Kangaroos & koalas live here.
The broom here is mix of leafless broom directly above the foot track above the Third Falls, and leafy broom dominating in other areas.
A few years ago the leafless broom was tackled, this has been mostly removed and the short survival of the seed bank sees these easily removed over a couple of years. A very large scrambling bind weed proved to be very effective in suppressing germination of subsequent generations of leafless broom.
The leafy broom is now confined to a small area, as we have continued to work from the 'good bush' back towards the track. Along the way we have uncovered hop bush, ferns, lilies, lepidosperma and orchids. These are increasing in numbers as the broom are removed, a little help is given to them each September & October by trimming the grass to about an inch tall to a diameter of about 600mm. Once the plant reaches about 600mm the grass tends to be suppressed by the plant.
"Patrols" have continued along the Third Falls track & former hedge site, these are now timed with the flowering of the target species to assist in the identification of the weeds.
We continue to spend time in the park, our early morning walks connecting us with Friends who make their living in the park.
The sheoaks above Kookaburra lookout continue to sigh as the early morning gully breeze tries to work out which way it will blow today.
The blue herons continue to amaze with their ability to find a large enough space to land near the creek.
The yellow tail black cockatoos that nonchalantly fly over the main ridge at Ambers gully.
The countless unidentified (to me at least) fleeting small plants that continue to surprise with the range of flowers.
Regards Paul & Maureen.
2012 Project ReportThis year has seen us continue our efforts are along the Third Falls track. In all about a dozen people have stopped and asked us about the project and we have described our efforts and the link to the Friends group. Last year, 2011, we had some unexpected helpers in the form of many small black furry caterpillars on the large leafy broom plants. These appeared just prior to the flowering and significantly reduced the flowering in these plants.
It's hard to describe the impact we have had on the area, but perhaps an example from the weekend may help. Maureen & I spent about 1.5 hours 'patrolling' the track from Moore's road to the pylon on the top of the Pylon track, the sign here says it is a distance of 1.3 km back to Moores road. Our activity found about 50 weeds along this stretch. Compare this with when we first started, about 400 metres of the this section had large flowering broom.
2011 Project Report2011 for the third falls track project was a year of steady effort to continue to remove the weeds along the track. These are now mainly small seedling of broom (both types), muraltia along with the odd pittosporum, rose or blackberry to deal with.
It is a great pleasure to spend a few hours in the bush on a winter's day. Passing walkers or runners occasionally stop to chat & acknowledge our efforts. They are amazed at the scope of the project site and the results that have been achieved. Some obviously get the idea, as occasionally we see a few 'extra' weeds on the track. Every little bit makes a difference.
The kaleidoscope that is life continues to throw up surprises. This year saw a huge germination of greenhood orchids in an area that was overrun with broom only a few years ago. Along the fire break there were a few large patches where Ixodia germinated in huge numbers - in places where there were only a few scattered plants in previous years. The flowering of the Xanthorrheas will always be a spectacle. The work by the Parks to upgrade the Third Falls track has been completed with no impact on the project site. The upgrade has resulted in better control of rain run off through the project area with resulting decrease in run off disturbance.
We look forward to continuing our efforts in 2012.
Paul & Maureen
2010 Project Report. Work on the project site this year involved hand pulling of broom and muralita seedlings. The work of previous years is starting to pay of with very low density (< 1 per square metre) ov er a lot of the patch. There has been a noticeable increase in small native plants in most areas.
In the old hedge site there is the beginnings of the establishment of larger plants such as acacia pycnantha, acacia myrtifolia, pultenaea, hakea and a couple of eucalyptus. It is expected that this will be a slow process due to the changes in soil structure in this area from the previously well established hedge.
Above the third falls the removal of the broom is allowing the establishment of dodonaea and hakea under the eucalyptus.
We look forward to continuing the removal of woody weeds from this area and watching the changes to the plant & animal communities through the seasons.
Paul & Maureen
The Third Falls
2009 Project ReportThe project site is along the Third Falls Track & adjacent sections of the bush. It includes variety of different types of work including in the bush, along the trackside & a closed section of old track.
We waited for the 2009 rains to commence with great anticipation, not only to see how much germination of the woody weeds, but also of the seed from the bush. On both counts we have been surprised, there has been a significant reduction in the germination of woody weeds (broom etc) in the project area. There has been good survival of the 2008 germinated bush seedlings and some further germination this year.
As in previous years, as the numbers of weeds (& weeding time) are reduced in the project area, there has been a small increase in the project area. We look forward to continuing our efforts in the control of woody weeds within the project area.
Maureen and Paul - Project Coordinators
2008 Project ReportDuring 2008, work has continued on the removal of weeds along the Third Falls Track. Weeds here include; Broom (both leafleass and leafy), Watsonia and Murialta.
When the project first started, mature seed bearing weeds were found in large (greater than 10 square metres) and very dense. Given the number of years that the project has been underway, there is now very scattered distribution and low density of weeds. Now, immature, non-seed bearing weeds are found in densities of less than one per square metre.
The plan for 2009 is to continue to patrol the area and to continue work on the edges, the project site started as a small area near the Moores Road gate and now stretches to the Third Falls and the Gully Track.
Maureen - Project Coordinators
2007 Project ReportFor those not familiar with this project site, it is located along the Thirds Falls Track, heading south from Moores Road. Work started in 1997 with a focus on woody weeds along the track sides. These were predominately adult Broom (both types) plants. The removal of these, by hand weeding and cut & swab resulted in germination the following seasons.
On average, it appears if mature plants are removed germination will occur, with decreasing density over the following years:
- Leafy Broom - 7 years
- Leafless Broom - 5 years
- Watsonia - 3 years
- Muraltia - 4 years
Over the years of work on this project site, we have expanded the site to adjoining areas, and the full project site covers the track edges from Moores Road to Twin Creek Track, and a few isolated weed infestations in the bush nearby.
We aim to continue to work on this site, and as the seasons and time allow expand the area of weed free bush.
Maureen and Paul - Project Coordinators
2006 Project Report
The Third Falls
Third Falls Track - clean sweep of broom (nearly)
Going on for 12 years now and still the broom germinates - in much reduced numbers, but still comes up, prompting us to ask: "How long, O Lord, how long?"
Timely and targeted weeding activity allows for regeneration of native plants without excessive damage to the bush. We continue hand weeding along the Third Falls Track below the bandicoot sanctuary. Less time required here means more time can be spent dealing with isolated plants and the nearby bush.
While we are quietly weeding we are aware of lots of birds going about their business, including one day, a great convocation of crows which seemed quite extraordinary in that setting. Less unusual but just as welcome are the parrots, cockatoos, wrens, currawongs, robins, honeyeaters and many fitting that all encompassing category - little brown birds. It's wonderful!
Maureen and Paul - Project Coordinators.
2005 Project Report
View from the track
This year has seen us continue weeding throughout the project area. The section along Third Falls Track from Moores Road to Twin Creek Track requires a few hours patrolling for weeds during Spring - this is a good time to spot blooming Muraltia. The "Broom hedge" (on the track below the sanctuary) is now well under control with less germination of Broom each year and the incremental return of the bush to this area.
For those who never saw the broom hedge, imagine 50 metres of track full of dense Broom well over head height.
Now that we have the hedge in a holding pattern, we are able to work through the bush on its upside. Cutting and swabbing is the best method here because it does not disturb the soil and arouse the multitudes.
We appreciate the next door neighbour's efforts to control Broom on their side of the fence. The adjacent area which was control burnt is regenerating. Along with native plants, there are considerable numbers of African Daisy and Black nightshade.
Maureen and Paul - Project Coordinators.
2004 Project ReportWe are in our 10th year working in this area, which has mainly been a holding operation, with work continuing along the Third Falls Track, the former broom hedge and adjacent bush.
We concentrated for ten years on preventing the flowering and seed set, and still broom germinates. It is tenacious, and so are we.
In October, NPWS did a controlled burn in the gully near the site, with one edge of the burn ending on the lower side of the former hedge. We will be interested to see results of this fire/
Marueen - Project Coordinator.
2003 Project ReportThe areas along Third Falls track are now virtually free of broom, with just the occasional plant evading us until it flowers and gives itself away.
This our ninth year working along and near the Third Falls track has been spent working mostly in the bushland adjacent to the former hedge. Here we are removing scattered broom plus a few plants of sweet pittosporum, blackberry, olive, African daisy, watsonia, weed erica and gorse. This area is a delight to work in with many orchids and other lovely small things.
It is horrible to think that this area would have become increasingly choked with broom and other weeds if we had not been working here. We have not seen any more of the Monadenia bracteata that made its appearance last year and was swiftly dealt with.
Also pleasing to note is that the neighboring land holder has done a lot of good work on the broom on his side of the fence, thus reducing a source of recurring infestation of the park.
We hope to be able to maintain weed control in our particular areas of interest and as the need for activity reduces we will have more time to focus our weed control efforts on adjacent areas.
Paul and Maureen - Project Co-ordinators.
2001 Project ReportSo far this year we have put in 39 hours of work on the Third Falls Track Project area. Most work has been done on the former broom hedge site, and the bush adjacent.
Part of the Third Falls Project area is within the restricted Phytopthora zone. Although we were given permission by NPWS to enter the area provided we use the necessary boot hygiene measures, we decided to stay out of that area as much as possible. Our efforts of previous years meant that only one "patrol" circuit comprising Third Falls track and Pylon track removing scattered muraltia, broom, boneseed, African daisy and gorse was required. Also, fortunately, the former hedge is not within the restricted area.
Good results and progress on our first patch gave us confidence that we could work elsewhere with the same enthusiasm and commitment while access to our original patch was restricted. We looked for other areas to work on that adjoined this original patch. We identified two; the first is near the top of the Third Falls, and the other near Colonial Drive. Gorse and broom are rampant in these areas and a good subject for a new (to us) technique of cut and dab. The shoe cleaner type of applicator that works well on Wateonia and is very neat and direct and avoids a lot of the mess and accidental swabbing of native plants that happens with a bottle and brush.
After a hot and dry summer it is a joy to see the bush respond to the wet winter with growth and flowering of so many and varied beautiful plants. Working closely in the bush one comes to appreciate the differences in plant associations that are found as a result of the various soil types and aspects. These associations, combined with the seasons, also lead to noticeable differences in the animals and birds seen there.
Maureen - Project Coordinator, and Paul.
2000 Project ReportThis year we have made good progress on the site of the former Broom hedge, and the surrounding bush. We have removed any Broom plants likely to flower this year, and confident that the hedge has been contained, have moved out into the surrounding bush to get rid of old scattered Brooms, and other associated weeds such as Sweet Pittosporum, Tree Heath, African Daisy, Muraltia and Blackberry, The wet season has made hand weeding easier and is no doubt responsible for the plentiful orchids that have made work very slow and careful.
Who would be brave enough to name their favorite orchid when they are all so special? Those familiar with the Buschcare principle of starting in the good bush first and then moving towards the worst affected areas might observe that we have done the reverse of this in this situation. However, had we not tamed the Broom hedge first, there was a possibility of being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task facing us and giving up.
One of the most interesting aspects of working on the same area is to observe the coming and going of various types of plants as the seasons change. As the first rains of Autumn wet the soil the fungi emerge in all their wondrous forms. They seem to be visitors from another world, as indeed they are, the underground world.
Maureen Redfern - Project Coordinator.
1999 Project ReportYear number five has been one of holding the line rather than extending it. Broom is still germinating in areas weeded four or five years ago, and those cleared since, so my first job each new season is to do a sweep through the whole project area getting rid of all I find. Then I usually concentrate on a new area for intensive work, but this year I have gone back to some particularly bad sections near the sanctuary fence and the former broom hedge. English broom is the worst weed here. There are some patches of watsonia which are gradually receding. My method with watsonia is to wipe the leaves with herbicide in a shoe cleaner applicator - no drips and no effect on non target plants.
I've taken photos in 1995, 1997 and again this year to show progress. I do advise others to set up photo points early in a project - it's very encouraging to look back at the way it was and see the changes you have brought about.
1997 Project Report
Dealing with Broom
In June 1994 I started work clearing away established populations of Broom and other weeds from the Third Falls Track. Work has continued on most weekends during winters since, and now both sides of the track are free of large Broom plants. Some regrowth of broken roots and new germinations will be taken care of as they appear.
The site is a fire break either site of the track which is slashed every four years or so. Because of this large shrubs and trees are absent, but the understory plants grow well without the canopy and it is a good site for spotting all sorts of wonderful bush plants. I am also working on the Broom hedge which is a disused track south of the Bandicoot santuary. Good progress was made with this past winter, removing big old plants and now the main target will be plants in adjoining bush and the prolific germination. Several nearby patches of Watsonia have responded well to wiping with herbicide.
The dry winter has restricted work times, but the flowering of the bush plants has been outstanding. I have seen a flower on the Red Beak orchid Burnettia nigicans whose flowerless leaves I have watched and puzzled over for some time.
I am very pleased with progress made and look forward to continuing my work at this site.
Maureen - Project Coordinator.
Page updated 4 December 5 July 2017
2016 Project report added.
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