Fourth Creek Walking Trail Project - Morialta Conservation Park
2014 Project ReportMorialta's Fourth Creek project was a hive of activity this year with the group again holding two large community days with good numbers of volunteers coming along and the introduction of a midweek working bee in the area on the third Wednesday of every month. We focused more on the riparian zone as we have been trying to improve the Frog Habitat. This involved planting near the creekline in particular the strap leaved plants they like to hide in and putting in a greater variety of plant species to attract the invertebrates they feed on.
Of the 172 plants planted outside the fenced off area of the Fourth creek site near the Morialta Resource Centre in 2013 we had a huge failures with both the 22 local River Bottlebrush Callistemon sieberi and the 22 Silky Tea-tree Leptospermum lanigerum. Those that were not washed away in the winter rains were doing well throughout the spring and early summer, bursting out of their guards, but when the hot dry weather of January hit these plants, which prefer to have wet feet, gave up the fight to survive and by April when we received the first good rains none of the Tea-trees had survived and only 4 of the Bottlebrushes were still growing. A disappointing result. On a more pleasing note, of the remaining 128 plants we had a 82% survival rate.
We were successful in applying for a small grant from the Campbelltown Council and it was used to pay for the propagation of more plants for putting in along the creek line. The plantings in late May saw a further 365 plants go in along Fourth creek, 50 were put in by Pembroke school and the remainder were done as part of our "Feed the Frogs" community planting day. A huge effort was put in by all and over 45 people attended. Graham once again hosted a walk through the area for those who wished to learn more.
Our second community day was Bushcare's Major Day out where once again we tackled the nasturtiums. It is pleasing to see how we have pushed the weed front downstream and each year we need to walk a little further to find it. We had at least 34 people come along to help out and our frog talk was complemented by a visit from a Common Froglet at morning tea found by one of the young volunteers. They seem to be doing particularly well this year and it was a welcome visitor on the day.
Huge thanks again to everyone who has helped out along Fourth Creek. To Colin for all his advice and help collecting seed and propagating for Fourth Creek. To Russell who has taken on the thankless task of managing inside the fenced off area. To the Kiwanis Club of Athelstone for again providing much appreciated support for our community days and firing up the BBQ to feed us all lunch. To the many folks who helped lead teams of helpers on our community days; John, Garth, Carolyn, Ross, Russell and Colin and to all the folks who have helped out along Fourth Creek, in particular our regular helpers Ann, Rong, Bruno, John, Bruce, Joy, Bernice, Heather, Phil, Reg, Fiona, Jo & Barrie.
2015 and the Centenary are just around the corner. There are a number of fun community events planned which I hope you will all be able to join in. We are quite excited, we hope you will be too. Keep your eyes peeled for more details! Hope to see you in the park soon.
Liz - 4th Creek Project Co-ordinator
2013 Project Report
1 August 2012
In addition to the work that Graham has been doing with the Pembroke school along the Main Valley and the regular working bees in the area close to the Morialta Resource centre a new mid week working bee up at First Falls has been introduced. A small, dedicated team meet once a month and we have made great progress with tackling the fennel on the south side of the creek and a large area of weeds have been cleared at the south western end of the board-walk. In June this year 19 plants were put in to fill the gaps created by the weed removal. The walk into the falls benefits as well, as the team removes weeds along the access track. Many thanks go to Ann for putting in so much effort. If you are interested in joining us for a mid-week working bee please send me an email and let me know which day/s of the month may suit you.
Two of the large, seeding, non-native trees highlighted in the Fourth Creek Management Plan have both been worked on this year. The large Ash which has been producing seed next to bridge 8 has been drilled and filled, causing it to drop this year's load of seeds before they were viable. Fingers crossed it is on the way out - the native regrowth under the tree this year has been phenomenal, with the removal of the tree's shade. In April the Department sent in a crew to remove the seeding Palm near Wandilla Drive. Many hours have been spent removing the seedlings this tree was producing but the Department removed the tree and they seem to have successfully removed most of the seed bank as well as no new seedlings have popped their head back up yet. A fantastic result.
Regular working bees have focussed on keeping the weeds down in the areas which have been previously planted up near the Resource Centre and we have continued to remove Olive and Ash along the creek-line all the way from the pedestrian ford to Stradbroke Road. We all had a little cheer when the final clump of blackberry south of the Wandilla Drive track was removed in summer, we will need to keep an eye on regrowth but small wins are significant. We have had members of the Climbing Club of South Australia come along to help out which has been most appreciated.
1 August 2012
The Athelstone Kiwanis have once again provided us much needed support when we have held our community days this year, looking after the workers with some much needed sustenance. This year at the Community planting day we put in 160 plants in the fenced off area and down along the creekline where we have been working on Nasturtium removal. The following week the Pembroke kids planted an additional 36 above the fenced off area near the car park. A huge thanks to Colin, Russell and John who all helped grow a wonderfully diverse range of under storey plants in terrible conditions this past long dry summer. These are needed to compliment previous plantings and help suppress the regrowth of weed species.
Bushcare's Major day Out was the second community day held in the park early September. We once again worked on the nasturtiums which come up every winter below the Resource Centre. We had a great turnout and we managed to push the weed front even further west this year, clearing all the nasturtiums from around plantings which were put in earlier this year. The seed bank has been significantly reduced by repeatedly working on these weeds and higher up the valley the nasturtiums have been almost completely eliminated. We had a great response from the public and a few folk enjoyed a walk and talk through the project site.
Thanks to all those who have come along and helped make Fourth Creek a much improved environment for our native birds and animals. The gains we have made this year would be impossible without such fantastic support.
2014 is shaping up to be an even bigger and better year for the project, we hope to see you along Fourth Creek sometime soon.
4th Creek Project Co-ordinator
2012 Project ReportThe big news for Fourth Creek in 2012 was the release of the Management Plan for Morialta's Management Unit 20. Unit 20 covers Fourth Creek from First Falls along the creek line to Stradbroke Road. It was pleasing to see the stretch of creek line where the Friends group has been focusing on in recent years and where last year's community days were held were granted a 'Moderate to Good' condition rating, the highest rating of any of the sections covered by the plan for both riparian and non-riparian zones and the only two sections to do so. Not so pleasing, though not surprising, was to see that none of the sections along the creek obtained a 'Good to Very Good' rating (the highest possible) with most areas coming in as 'Moderate'. There were a number of areas which came in as 'Poor to Very Poor' (the lowest level possible, there being 4 levels in all). These areas will be given the lowest priority in coming years as it is more important to try and save the highest quality sites and work outwards from there.
The plan also highlighted that whilst the area around First Falls themselves is not the highest quality vegetation it is the most scenically significant section of the creek and it is a high profile site for visitors. As such it is recommended some effort also be expended here.
This year in May there were 70 seedlings planted in the fenced off area below the resource centre and around the footbridge where the nasturtiums were removed from along the creek line in 2011.
John and Russell have spent a great deal of time ensuring that both this years and last years plantings were not overwhelmed by weeds and the fenced off area has a new mid storey layer growing quite nicely under the existing eucalypts. This year in July we experimented with planting some grass seeds as part of our under story revegetation and it is pleasing to see a number of grasses have germinated in place. It will be interesting to see how these grasses progress.
September saw our working bee coincide with Bushcare's Major Day out. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the many members of the Friends group who came along and invited other bush carers to come to. The day was a huge success with 33 people registered. This number included some families who had seen the event advertised in the Library and we changed the format a bit this year which I think worked well and will continue to appeal to a wider audience.
The day commenced with a briefing about the safety issues and the types of weeds we would be tackling. We chose to focus again on the nasturtiums and fumitory as there is so much of it which is easily recognisable and easy to hand pull. As the ground was soft we were also able to hand pull some three cornered garlic bulbs. We split into two groups, one went for a walk led by Graham whilst the other got stuck into the work. After a break for morning tea the working groups swapped around and a much larger group went for a walk with Graham, most people preferring to work first, walk later. There was great excitement as the walkers managed to locate a Caladenia latifolia orchid (commonly known as the Pink fairy Orchid) the first found along Fourth Creek.
The day was very productive and the nasturtiums on the south side of the creek have been pushed back completely. Those on the north side of the creek have been pushed back to below the footbridge, a much greater achievement than was initially expecting on the day. I'm sure there will be a seed bank there waiting to test us again next year but it was very satisfying view walking away at the end of the morning. The Athelstone Kiwanis delighted us all with a sausage sizzle for lunch and we had help from members of the Australian Retired Persons Association, the Morialta Resident's Association and the Climbing Club of South Australia. Many thanks to all who attended or contributed!
The final news is that Fourth Creek has a coordinator again. From talking with other Friends members and reading the updates on the website I have a very large pair of shoes to fill. I am still very much a beginner and every day out I learn to recognise another weed and I try to identify the natives (correctly that is). I look forward to meeting with more members and picking your brains very soon.
Project Coordinator 4th Creek
2011 Project ReportMorialta Blitz Days
The Friends of Black Hill and Morialta Inc. were successful in our application for an NRM grant to fund the development of an Action Plan for the Main Valley in Morialta, and for a number on "Blitz Days" involving the community.
Our first Morialta Blitz day was held on 26 June 2011, with a follow up Blitz Day on 11 September 2011 to coincide with the national Bushcare's Major Day Out. Work on the Action Plan for the Main Valley in Morialta is progressing. The June Blitz day included people from the Athelstone Kiwanis, Morialta Residents' Association, The Morialta Rock Climbers, the NRM and the Campbelltown City Council. DENR rangers also helped on the day.
After a cool start to the day, we planted all of the plants we had available, protecting them with stakes and plant guards. This was followed by a great sausage sizzle put on for us by the Athelstone Kiwanis. The funding for the event was provided by the NRM grant, and was used to purchase some of the plants, the plant guards, plant stakes and food!
The next Morialta Blitz day was help on 11 September 2011. This date was chosen to coincide with BushCare's Major Day Out, a National initiative that seeks to give to Bushcare what Clean Up Australian Day has done for removing rubbish and litter from public places.
As the goal was to get members of the public involved, we needed to identify some simple tasks that anyone could do. As the nasturtiums in the project site are starting to work their way up the creek, these seemed to be an ideal weed species to tackle.
On the day, the threatening rain held off, apart from some light drizzle and we had 18 volunteers, plus 3 rangers from DENR deal with the nasturtiums on both sides of the creek for about 30 metres. It was very satisfying to put them back in their place, and reclaim the creek back for the native species in the Park.
We saw some new faces, including a couple of people from the Australian Retired Persons Association joining us.
The Athelstone Kiwanis were there in force, and cooked the sausages for us at the conclusion of the working bee.
Can you help with publicity for the next Blitz Days? We want to get more people out and involved with helping in the Park, so anything you can do to let other people know about upcoming events is appreciated. In addition, a publicity officer for the Friends of Black Hill and Morialta Inc,. would be a great assistance to getting our message out into the community. Let me know if you are interested.
Some flyers were produced o help people understand what we are doing on the Blitz Days.
- Annual Veldt Grass - native to South Africa, a weed in South Australia
- Fumitory - native to Europe, a weed in South Australia
- Nasturtiums - tasty in salads, but not the right plant for a Conservation Park!
- Tangier Pea - native to south western Europe and North Africa, a weed in South Australia
John Fleming - President.
2010 Project ReportAs previously reported, this project site does not currently have a project coordinator, however the committee decided that this year, we should increase our activity in this site, to raise the profile of the work we do in the Parks with the hope of attracting new members.
Unfortunately this project site is quite weedy, with pest plants being brought down from upstream continuously. But DEH organised a group of Green Corp trainees to help right along the creek line this year, and we have seen evidence of their work in the reduction in the extent of the blackberries in the project site. Of interest, there is also native raspberry in the project site.
Our first priority is to address the priority species identified in the Morialta Management plan, specifically Acacia iteaphylla, Desert Ash, Olive, Rubus sp. and Rice Millet. Seasonal factors, weather conditions and the availability of volunteers impacts on how closely our activities in a specific working bee align with these priorities.
Finally the Fig tree in the creek line appears to have succumbed to our efforts, and has died. This Fig tree was particularly persistent, and several smaller trees had started growing nearby, increasing the level or urgency to address it.
Spraying Rice Millet with glyphosate appears to have be successful, however the timing appears to be critical. There are accounts that Rice Millet is particularly stubborn and persistent, so I am sure we have much more work to do before we get this pest plant under control.
Now that part of Lot 100 (now known as Lot 23 following its subdivision) has been purchased, we can work with greater confidence along the northern boundary of the project site, knowing we are still within the Morialta Conservation Park.
Next year, we have plans to plant out an area near the Resource Centre, currently infested with Sour Sob and Rice Millet. Propagation has begun on the plants to be used there.
Thanks to Ann Taylor, Colin Sparrow, Raelene and Graham Churchett, Joy and Bruce Stewart, Liz and Garth Wimbush and Russell Dahms for their assistance with this project during the year.
John Fleming - President.
2009 Project Report
Planting at a working bee
This years activities have included drilling and filling olives, clearing nasturtium, and other herbaceous weeds by hand pulling, and grubbing rice millet. We have also planted along the river bank, and so far, all of the plants have survived.
Thanks to all members who have helped with this site, but especially Don, Graham, Raelene, Anne and Russell.
John Fleming - President.
2008 Project ReportOur longstanding project coordintor, Don has resigned from the Project Coordinator role due to ill health. We are now looking for a new project coordinator for this high profile site.
With many people walking through the site on a daily basis, it is an ideal project to showcase the work of the Friends.
Our records show that the site had 248 working visits resulting in more than 462 volunteer hours worked and 411 plants placed in the site. We will continue to hold two working bees a year here that the committee will coordinate until a new site coordinator is found.
John Fleming - President.
2007 Project ReportIt's been a difficult year. I'm not going to comment on the weed problem this time; it's all been said before. It would be very interesting for someone who is familiar with weeds to do an audit of this area over a twelve month period; the number of species is truly amazing.
The drought made caring for last year's plantings hard work. However, by carting water (a very time consuming and tedious task), I managed to save most of the new plantings. I guess we have to accept that there will be the occasional reminder from Mother Nature that there is a natural cycle that we cannot do much about.
I can also accept that there is a level of vandalism in our parks that we cannot do much about; the sight of markers next to plantings is too much for some people.
But I was upset by the slashing of new plants by contractors to National Parks, especially when there were markers clearly on view. Markers and all went!
We continue to work with the Department to improve communication and generate better outcomes in the future.
Don - Project Coordinator
2006 Project Report
I am pleased to report that the Bridal Creeper rust referred to in my 2005 report has "taken". Further applications of the rust were applied in August and I am quietly confident that this is one pest plant that can be controlled. If only a virus or rust could be found for all the other pest plants that thrive in the area.
The heavy rain in November last year (I recorded 94 millimetres in a 48 hour period), caused significant scouring along the bank and worst of all, the floodwaters brought down and deposited seeds from pest plants growing further upstream. A few earlier plantings also disappeared.
The work undertaken by National Parks adjacent to the main road leading to the Falls required some fill to be brought in and it came as no real surprised to me to find pest plants emergning in the first rains.
The working bee this year was devoted to planting - together with my specimens, a further 130 trees and shrubs have been added to the area.
Don Project Coordinator
2005 Project ReportAs in previous years, the Number One priority in this project area is weed control. Unfortunately there seems to be a rich source of pest plants upstream. Boneseed has made an unwelcome return along the creek line, easily controlled, but there are obviously some healthy seed producing plants outside my project area.
At the beginning of September, areas of bridal creeper on the northern boundary of the project area were treated with rust virus. I am hoping that the rust 'takes' because there are areas of bridal creeper in inaccessible areas adjacent to the project area.
Additional planting has been undertaken. Since the project began in 1996, I estimate that approximately 300 local trees, shrubs and grasses, etc. have been planted and survived. This, together with the work of the Morialta Residents Association, is transforming the area.
National Parks have inspected the hazard referred to in previous reports and indicated that perhaps the Green Corps could address the problem. No action has been taken to date.
Don Project Coordinator
2004 Project Report
I have had some success, however over the years. Fennel has all but been eliminated, as has Salvation Jane. Broom, Rice millet grass and Bridal Creeper in particular, continue to pose a threat. This year, a new pest plant has appeared to add to my problems, white flowered fumitory. It is widespread and not only in the project area.
Apart from trying to keep the worst of the pest plants under control, my emphasis has been (and will continue to be) the planting of indigenous plants. I am currently raising Bursaria spinosa which I will plant next year. I am pleased I took some cuttings of the sole Correa glabra in the project area, as it was washed away in the recent August flood.
Don Project Coordinator
2003 Project ReportWeed control and revegetation continue to be the priorities in this project area. National Parks responded to my request to spray Blackberry infestations along the northern boundary of the project area. Given the proximity of pest plants, however, spraying is likely to be an on going requirement.
Last year's chain sawing and swabbing of some large olive trees was successful. Other weed control measures have included clearing around new plantings and some spraying. Losses of previous years' plantings have been minimal.
This year's working bee was directed largely towards planting, complementing my own earlier plantings. Over 130 plants, comprising 15 different species, have been planted this year. I have taken some cuttings from the sole Correa glabra in the project area and hope to plant these next year. A male Gang-gang Cockatoo was sighted at the working bee.
A works request form has been submitted to National Parks asking them to attend to some serious erosion on the walking path on the northern side of Fourth Creek. The erosion, caused by people climbing down the bank to get to the creek, is gradually encroaching onto the path and has become hazardous.
Fourth Creek Walking Trail Project.
Planting during working bee
2001 Project ReportSometimes I wonder if I will ever get on top of the weeds in thia project area. The area is too infested with weeds to ever be returned to its original state so work has been directed to keeping the worst under control. Even so, as one species is controlled another takes its place.
Work in previous years has resulted in Fennel being largely eliminated, as has Broom. However, the neighboring property continues to be a rich source of pest plants, in particular. Broom and Bridal creeper.
Last year's report referred to some smaller plantings being given a whipper snipper "hair cut" the previous year. This year some were trampled by construction workers while working on the car parking areas at the end of the project area.
I am waiting to see whether railing taken down during the construction phase is replaced - new tracks have already appeared.
In 1997, a number of Acacia retinodes were planted along the creek line and until recently, were thriving. Most have now died, along with a large self sown mature specimen of the same species.
The Morialta Residents Association has continued its planting and weed control work.
During the last twelve months I have participated in Bird Australia's national bird count, with my project area included in one of my sites. I have been surprised at the scarcity of species in the area, particularly smaller birds.
Don - Project Coordinator
2000 Project ReportWeed control, as in previous years, continues to be the priority in this project area, which is now in its 5th year.
Of particular concern is the private land adjacent to the project area which is heavily infested with olives, broom, bridal creeper and blackberry. It is important for the long term future of my project and of the park that the private owners are required to address these infestations. Nevertheless, with the-possible exception of bridle creeper, I have been successful in keeping our land relatively clean of these pest plants.
The hard work done in previous years to combat fennel appears to have paid off. A rough count in September showed that approximately 200 of the trees planted since the project began in 1996 are alive and well. I will take great care this year to ensure that some of the smaller plants that were given a whipper snipper "haircut" last year are more clearly visible.
Large numbers of people walk through this project area and there is a need for interpretive signs and also a wonderful opportunity for National Parks to educate visitors on the work being done by the Friends on its behalf.
The Morialta Residents Association has again been active in part of the project area with plantings and weed control.
This years working bee was devoted to hand pulling an extensive path of Euphorbia and on spraying along the creek line.
Don - Coordinator
1999 Project Report
Planting during working bee
I spent most of last summer eradicating noxious plants along the creek line. Fennel was particularly rampant. I cut and swabbed my way from the end of the walking trail downstream to the old fig tree (which incidentally appears to have finally succumbed), removing Fennel, Blackberry, Broom, Dog Rose and Ash. It will be interesting to walk the creek bed this summer to see the extent of any regeneration.
A working bee in September was largely devoted to planting - Acacia pyenantha and Acacia rupicola, Callitris preissii, Allocasuarina verticillata. Eucalyptus leucoxylon, Xanthorrhoea quadrangulata and Dodonaea viscosa. Earlier in the year I planted a number of Leptospermum lanigerum along the creek line to replace those planted last year, most of which did not survive the dry summer. The Morialta Residents Association has continued planting along the creel line in the area downstream from the old fig tree.
1998 Project Report
The fig tree
Much of the project area is degraded with large areas of weeds which can not be realistically eliminated so efforts will be largely directed towards eliminating the more invasive weed species and protecting the better areas from degradation. Earlier plantings are flourishing with almost all having survived the combined efforts of dogs, humans and slashers.
Andrew and Graham removing the fig tree
This year has seen over 70 Acacia pycnantha, Leptospermum lanigerum, Callistemon sieberi, Lavatera plebeia, Hardenbergia violacea and Themandra triandra planted.
The large fig tree which was mentioned in last year's report was given the chainsaw treatment at a recent working bee and can now be easily monitored for any regrowth. Not everyone was impressed by our efforts. There is an urgent need for some sort of permanent interpretation in this busy area of the park (as in all project areas). The Morialta Residents Association has adopted a section of the creek and has planted indigenous species along the creek bank.
Fourth Creek Walking Trail Project.
1997 Project Report
Removal of exotic plants
Work on the project has been mainly directed towards weed control and I am pleased to report that there is far less Salvation Jane in the area than there was 12 months ago. There is however, more Bridal Creeper than I had initially located along with some revegetation of Fennel and Millet in previously sprayed areas. Millet in previously sprayed areas. Millett. paspalum and Blackberry persist and a concentrated spraying effort will be required to control these weeds.
Planting in Fourth Creek
A good deal of planting has been undertaken, firstly with our 70 Acacia retinodes seedlings supplied by Ron Saers, nearly all of which at the time of writing were thriving and recently, at a group September working bee, 48 plants consisting of Rubus parvifolius, Allocasuarina verticillata, Psoralea australasica (now Cullen australicum), Dodenaea viscosa, Ixodia achillaeides and Hardenbergia violacea raised by the group, were planted. I have collected seeds for Callstemon sieberi, Leptospermum lanigerum and Bursaria spinosa which I will sow this spring for planting next year.
Fourth Creek Walking Trail Project.
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Updated 26 December 2016
2013 project reports added.