Park News – June, 2014

Malcolm Street Billabong Reinstatement Project

  • We understand that Council funding for the Malcolm Street Billabong Reinstatement Project has been approved for the coming financial year!
  • The following sketch plan shows the reinstated billabong conceptually:

billabong sketch plan

  • The billabong and associated ponds are located just south of the creek in central Kalang Park.   The billabong occasionally holds water for a very short time after heavy rain.  It currently does not behave as it historically used to – ie holding water for longer but still ephemerally.  This would be due to the combination of:
    • the creek’s water level dropping significantly (due to more drainage going into Gardiner’s Creek as Melbourne’s development burgeoned eastwards increasing water flows and hence erosion)
    • less water reaching the billabong from the Malcolm Street slope due to the installation of street and housing storm water drainage.
  • The broad concept is to help reinstate its normal function  by taking a feed from a nearby storm-water pit which serves Malcolm Street.
    • The pit would be fitted with the ability to control how much water is diverted to the billabong (to tune it).
    • Storm water will flow into the main billabong and then overflow (depending on the volume of water) through two shallow overflow ponds on the creek side of the path via connecting pipes.  These ponds will have the effect of slowing flows to the creek down and performing additional filtering.  Large flows will eventually enter the creek over a rock treatment to prevent erosion.
  •  The desired result would be that the main billabong holds water longer supporting reintroduced water-loving plants such as juncus and carex while providing restraints against flooding and benefits in cleaning any re-directed water eventually going into the creek.
  • The controls in the off-take will be cunningly designed to direct the “first flush” of storm water (which would contain most of the pollutants from the Malcolm Street roadway etc) into the storm-water system as usual – only cleaner water will go to the billabong where the plants etc will act like a rain garden to further cleanse the water.

The Mating Game

  • We’ve noticed several “opens for inspection” of potential nesting sites perhaps starting a little earlier than usual due to the mild autumn – for example: see Mr and Mrs King-Parrot below seeking a “renovators’ delight” near the Garie Street playground:

mr and mrs king-parrot

  • This underscores the importance of leaving old or dead trees in the park because they often provide excellent hollows and other habitat for indigenous fauna – especially nesting.

Army in the Park ?

The son of one our Friends found a series of photographs on Trove of pictures of Second World War Volunteer Defence Corps battle practice in the so-called “Blackburn Woods” in 1942 and 1944.

home guard

We’re not sure what they mean by the “Blackburn Woods”– could this be Blackburn Creek?  We would be delighted to find out – if you know, or have a relative or friend who might!

Corridor News

corridor Jamieson Res and 1 lake rd

Below the Lake

  • The “Below the Lake Friends” have made good early progress planting out Jamieson Reserve.
  • They meet on the first Saturday afternoon each month meeting at “The Cage” below Blackburn Lake wall between 2-4PM (winter) and 3-5PM (summer).  Next working bee is 5th July.  For more information, please call Lynette on 0416 178 945.

1 Lake Road (aka 36 Central Road)

  • You could be excused for thinking the block at the corner of at the corner of Lake Road and Central Roads is part of the Regis Aged care facility.  It’s not, Council acquired it several years ago with federal, state and local government funding.
  • Council is currently putting paths/plants in – and developing street treatments and fencing to link it to the Blackburn Lake Sanctuary.

one lake rd

  • Volunteers have been active too – they already have some excellent indigenous grass regeneration to show for their efforts since mowing was stopped and weeding began.

Your Own Piece of the Corridor ?

  • If you’d like to do your bit for the corridor and put some indigenous plants (ie native plants local to our area) into your own garden, please visit either or both of our local volunteer based nurseries:
    • Bungalook:  63-107 Fulton Road, Blackburn South (Melway: Map 61 J4) – open on Wednesdays 9.30-12:00 and Fridays 9.30-1:00pm.
    • Greenlink:  41 Wimmera Street, Box Hill North  (Melway: Map 47 E6) – open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays  9.00-12.00.
  •  Occasional Sale Days occur on Saturdays.  Next Greenlink sale day is Saturday 23rd August, 2014.  Both groups are friendly, inclusive and would welcome new volunteers – no special skills or experience are needed – it’s a great way to learn and to “put something back” into the community.
  •  We have links to their web-sites on our Useful Links page.  We should note gratefully that they provide most of the plant stock used for re-vegetating the Creeklands by Council, our working bees and by our Monday/Thursday maintenance team.

60 Main Street Development  – Off to VCAT

  •  We now have a date – the VCAT hearing of the applicant’s appeal against Council rejection will take place on Friday 12th September, 2014 at 10:00 for 1 day at 55 King Street, Melbourne.
  • We’ll send a reminder closer to the date to remind Friends who wish to attend the hearing.

Whitehorse Housing and Neighbourhood Character Review

  • The Whitehorse Housing and Neighbourhood Character Review has concluded and the results have been approved by Council for inclusion n the Whitehorse Planning Scheme.
  • This is now before the state Minister for approval but will not take effect from 1/7/2014 as expected.  We do hope the delay will not result in projects adverse to the park being approved “by default”.  For a brief summary, including links to the Council minutes, please visit:  https://blackburncreeklands.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/new-residential-zones-in-whitehorse-delayed/

Maintenance Team Report

  •  We have been weeding and doing in-fill planting westwards along the creek from the billabong to the Noticeboard/Pakenham Street area and on the north side of the creek to the Frog Bog ahead of the recent Working Bee.
  •  Lately, work has moved to the Middleborough Road end of the park.

More Vandalism

gloom

  • On the night of Saturday 7th June, some vandals went on a spree between Pakenham Street and the Laurel Grove bridge breaking saplings and small trees.  The park has lost several eucalypts, acacias and melaleucas.   If anyone has information please let us know or report directly to Council on  9262 6333 (all hours).
  • We know of yet more mindless vandalism that has occurred near the park in Laurel Grove North since.

Secrets of the Creeklands

Plants of the Month

  • Plants of the Month are the early flowering wattles – the Spreading Wattle (Acacia genistifolia) and the Myrtle Wattle (Acacia myrtifolia).  Here are the two together in Blacks Walk:

early wattles

Give it the Flick!

  • Weed of the month is Flickweed (Cardamine hirsuta) – an annual plant native to Europe and Asia that is beginning to reappear in the park.   Here is a cluster in Furness Park north of the bridge:

flickweed

  • It grows best in damp, recently disturbed soil – eg (ironically) following weeding.  These conditions are prevalent in plant nurseries and it may be introduced with nursery plants.  It gets its name from its “explosive” habit of flicking its ripe seeds when the plant is touched – so it is much better to weed out before it flowers and sets its seeds in Spring until Autumn.

Sightings

  • The most interesting sighting has been White Faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) – a fairly large bird , mostly light grey (except for its white face as you no doubt guessed! and yellow legs) – regularly seen flying around the park and the creek during the month.
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