- Eat Local Month 2016
- Reining in Blackberry
- Joseph Paatsch Nature Reserve
- JPNR North side
- East of Forest St
- St Lawrence Works Crew
- Holiday Program
- Walk & Squarks
- Walk & Squark 2
- River Health/Waterways
The Barongarook Landcare Group are working on a project to compliment the hard work of the Rotary Club of Colac West.
Over the last few years the Rotary Club of Colac West has been instrumental in converting a degraded section of the Barongarook Creek (between Forest St and Wilson St) into a walking/cycling trail and bushland reserve.
The revegetation has been growing for seven years and has totally transformed the landscape.
There are currently several projects happening in this area with several partnerships and contributors.
Mulching and planting - BLG are working with Colac Otway Shire and the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority to map the reserve and determine the amount of mulch required to develop islands of vegetation. This would minimise the maintenance demands of the Rotary Club of Colac West, help manage weeds and be a step towards planting an understory below the established vegetation. This stage of the project has been supported by a works crew from St Lawrence and two school groups from Colac College (VCE Outdoor and Environment Studies and VCAL students) .
Willow removal - The Rotary Club of Colac West has been successful in securing funding from the CCMA to remove the Willow sp. from the creek between Forest and Wilson St bridges. This work took place in November 2012. Willow has been cut and poisoned at the stump. Branches have been carefully stacked nearby and burned at an appropriate time. Prior to Willow removal BLG will conduct a Bird Survey using the technique highlighted on the Birds Australia Birds In Backyards website. This process will take place each year following further revegetation works.
What will happen to the north side of the creek after the willows have been removed?
BLG have been in touch with the landholders on the north side as well as Corangamite Catchment Management Authority and Colac Otway Shire. Members of the industrial estate have also shown interest and given in principal support to this project. Early in 2013 we where successful in securing fund from the Department of Environment and Primary Industries through the Communities for Nature program.
BLG have drafted a Three Year Weed Removal and Revegetation Plan for the north side of the creek. This is complimentary to the Colac Otway Shire’s – Lake Colac Revegetation and Weed Control Plan 2009.
The BLG currently have a $2000 Grant to contribute to this project care of the Victorian Landcare Project Facilitator Initiative ‘Start Up Project’ funding from the Victorian Government. A working bee will be held on Nov 8th 2013 with staff representing several industrial estate businesses as a result of this funding.
The group has completed weed treatment and removal in preparation for revegetation works (3000 plants have planted in the restored billabong and along the creek side). Over three years the project will be broken into three stages. These three stages correspond to the landholder boundaries working down stream.
Whats planned for the East side of Forest St?
The Otway Community College Conservation & Land Management Students have worked with the landholder on the south side of the creek to fence 200m of riverbank, preventing stock access.
The students have already started working on weed treatment and removal. This includes spraying of Gorse (Ulex europaeus L.) and Boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum), both Weeds of National Significance (WONS).
The St Lawrence works crew will continue work on woody weed (Hawthorn, Boxthorn, Gorse, etc) removal over the summer. More recently – The Landcare Group has supported the Colac Lions in delivering a Communities for Nature Grant over 2014-16. This included weed treatment and removal (Willow, Hawthorn, Gorse, Blackberry and Hemlock) and planting of 2000 native trees, shrubs and grasses.
Mid August 2013, after several months of negotiation, a works crew has been contracted to support Barongarook Landcare Group projects. The first contract is for six months with the option of continuing for three years. The group are supervised by Peter Crowcroft for two days per week. They hit the ground running, starting with planting 6000 trees as part of a River Health Project in partnership with the Catchment Management Authority on Boundary Creek. They have also planted about 800 grasses, sedges and shrubs at Joseph Paatsch Nature Reserve and about 2500 plants on private shelter belts. On additional days the crew have been working on restoring an old Colac water supply dam by removing woody weeds and preparing to plant 1200 seedlings.
The first Holiday Program activity was held in January 2013. A ‘Creatures of the Night’ walk entertained 25 participants in the Barongarook Trust for Nature Reserve (See News feeds for details). As a result of this session the Otway District Cubs and Scouts and Colac Mens Shed have built 12 possum boxes and added branches and perches for access. In the summer holidays these boxes will be installed in the reserve.
In October 2013 ten intrepid adventurers donned the hiking boots and waterproofs for an off road stroll. With a weather forecast of several showers we where delighted to have ten participants join our first ‘Walk and Squark’. Feedback from our community survey drove the demand for us to engage in our waterways in a more meaningful way. What better way than to walk from source to Lake Colac over two stages.
Land owners from Shorts Rd to Kettles Rd along the creek have been great sports in letting the Landcare Group wander through their properties for ‘Stage 1′. From the beginning, it was made clear this was not an exercise in challenging land owners in neighborly issues. This was an opportunity to discuss the story of this place. True to its name, conversations ranged from successful revegetation projects, past water flows, weed management, sustainable water use, erosion control and unfortunately the dumping of fox carcasses in the river. Some conversations have also lead to land holders planning revegetation project for the coming months.
One enthusiastic ‘twitcher’ noticed the unusual sounds of a bird not often heard in this area for several decades. It seems there where a few Magpie Geese flying around at the junction of three sections of the creek. What a treat, considering these birds are technically extinct in Victoria. This population are thought to be decedents of a breeding program from the 1960′s. They are listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (FFG) as near threatened.
Planning is already underway for ‘Stage 2′ as all participants are keen to complete the walk to Lake Colac and I’m sure many more will join us will better weather more likely in the coming months.