Park News – August, 2014

Projects

  • Committee is currently seeking a State Government Communities for Nature grant for a project to revegetate two corridors (northern/southern – purple-shaded) along the creek over the coming twelve months shown below:

grant

  • We do hope we are successful because our last grant is fast running out!  We should know by late October if we are successful.
  • Regarding current projects, Council is due to get back to us soon with revised plans for the Malcolm Street Billabong Reinstatement project.  There have been no developments we are aware of concerning the Kalang Oval Pavilion.

60 Main Street Development  – Plan Changes/VCAT

  • Friends will remember that a developer proposed a quite inappropriate development adjacent to the park at 60 Main Street.   This was duly rejected by Whitehorse Council and the developer then appealed to VCAT.
  • The developer attempted to substitute new plans in late July. Last Friday (22/8), VCAT disallowed the substitution of the new plans after Council objected.
  • The applicant has now decided to go ahead on the basis of the original plans submitted to Council.  The original VCAT hearing day of 12 September 2014 is confirmed, starting at 10:00am.
  • Please visit here for more details.
  • We’ll keep you informed on what happens.

Working Bee News

  • Our latest Working Bee on Sunday, 24th August, 2014 mainly addressed weeds in the park at the bottom of Gardenia Street.  The primary target was Angled Onion weed – our notorious weed of the month in May which is now flowering.
  • Unfortunately, several regulars were otherwise engaged – so numbers were down a little on usual.  For a full report, please click here.

We are Pumped !

  • While neighbours sometimes provide water to us for planting from garden taps (eg our friends along Heath Street), we usually need to get water for planting from the creek.  Full buckets are heavy – so this can be hard work complicated by steep and slippery slopes.
  • Part of our Melbourne Water grant was to cover purchase of a small portable pump to extract creek water for planting activities.  Along with the pump, Melbourne Water also provided the BCAC Committee with authority to take water – provided the level of the creek is not too low (which we check via a website).  Obviously, we need very small amounts compared to the needs of sporting oval watering and the like.
  • Committee man Jim has risen to the task of finding a suitable pump for the group.  The type of pump chosen is the sort used by Telstra to pump out flooded underground cable pits.  It is operated by a small battery and quiet.  It was first demonstrated at the last working bee on 24/8.  The photo below shows the keen interest of worker bees both young and (ahem) not-so-young in the new device and Jim’s practical transport and deployment container system (ie bucket with holes drilled and light rope to lower it into the creek):

jim demonstrating pump2

  • The pump will help us conserve people-power for more weeding / digging while making our working environment safer.

Corridor News

corridor Jamieson Res and 1 lake rd

  • The seating has been installed at 1 Lake Road.  We understand that completes all works in the budget.  Council and the 1 Lake Road group deserve a big pat on the back!
  • Blackburn Lake’s next bird survey will be Saturday, 11th October at 7.30 AM.

Maintenance Team News

  • With the last working bee (24/8), planting for this year is more or less completed.  Mary, who organizes our Working Bees, says we have planted about 2,500 plants this season (!).  Most of our plants come from the local nurseries – Bungalook and Greenlink.  We also plant a smaller number obtained by dividing/transplanting locally grown plants and also plants local hero Alan Lodge propagates personally (eg Manna Gums from good specimens growing in the billabong area).
  • We normally finish the serious planting soon because the soil becomes too dry for planting – without follow-up watering.  Nevertheless, further working bees are planned for the next few months.  Click here for details.

Other work areas have been:

  • A clean-up and in-fill planting in the swampy area at the north of the Laurel Grove bridge.
  • Planting into what seemed to be a crop circle to the north of the track – a little to the west of the Laurel Grove bridge on the north side of Kalang park.  The intention is to soften the impact of Laurel Grove North housing on the park after a large tree near the park boundary came down a few years ago.
  • Planting up the area where the two Monterey pine trees and a Cypress were removed in Kalang Park south of the creek.
  • Weeding along the path from Laurel Grove eastwards on the south side of the creek.

Plant of the Month

  • Plant of the Month is Golden Wattle – Acacia pycnantha.
    Given the number of wattles flowering in the park, it is appropriate that plant of the month is a wattle – and the Golden Wattle is the official Floral Emblem of Australia.  It is a fast-growing small tree which flowers in late winter producing masses of fragrant, fluffy, golden flowers. This photo shows a sapling overlaid with a cluster from a mature tree – both in Kalang Park on the track from Pakenham Street to the Frog Bog.  The noticeboard display currently features sprigs and names of many of our Wattles.

pycnantha

WEED OF THE MONTH

  • Weed of the Month is Arum Lily – Zantedeschia aethiopica. This is a garden escapee and still seen in many local gardens – even though it is allegedly toxic to stock and humans with fatalities to both recorded.
  • It likes damp land, creek banks and has come to us from South Africa. It is a perennial that forms large clumps to 1.5m high and has tuberous underground stems (rhizomes) and fleshy white roots which can go quite deep. This often makes it difficult to dig out – and treatments like glyphosate are often ineffective.  This photo from Furness Park shows how they like to grow close to the water (nestled in buttercups) in the flood zone.  The inset shows the familiar flower:

arum lily

  • We usually wait until the water level in the creek drops in warmer weather before doing sweeps along the creek to remove the latest crop.

Sightings (and Soundings)

Sightings

  • Male Golden Whistler and Buff-banded Rail near Laurel Grove bridge (north side).
  • Little Corellas between Main Street and Laurel Grove (south side).
  • White-faced Heron on Kalang Oval.
  • First (Pacific Black) ducklings for the season on 7/8 – thanks to Ian Moodie for the following picture:

mother duck

  • If you look carefully, you can see the littlies underneath Mum – who is sheltering them from a shower.  Unfortunately, no one seems to have seen them since that day – perhaps a dog off-lead?

Soundings!

  • Frogs: They’re well disguised, but for an auditory experience, take a walk along the northern side of the creek next to the Waratah Wetlands !  Many frogs are croaking – in a good way!
  • We’ve heard complaints in the past that the so-called Frog Bog has no frogs.  Interestingly, moisture in the air reveals that there are other inhabitants there though…

webs at frog bog

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