Park News – July, 2017

Pollution Events

  • The bad news for July was a series of water pollution events in our creek.
  • Firstly, we believe there were two instances of house paint being dumped into a stormwater drain in Main Street on the 4th and 7th July – most likely related to a new house being constructed in Main Street.  The pollution appeared to result from paint being washed out from drums/equipment into the drain.
  • Council accepted the builder’s explanation that a “few buckets of plaster” had been accidentally knocked over on the driveway and that some residue was detected in the gutter after the clean up.  This was despite there being a strong smell of paint (plaster does not smell strongly) being reported in the two separate events by several witnesses including committee members.
  • The paint entered the creek from a drain near the Main Street bridge.  Melbourne Water subsequently attended the site and gave an “all clear”.

  • Worse still, a serious pollution event involving a significant spill of diesel fuel was discovered early morning on Friday 28th July.  We’ve been informed that a a diesel tank belonging to a garden supplies business in Forest Hill was tampered with following a break-in.  Spillage of fuel into drains resulted which then flowed down to the Creeklands through the storm water network – probably starting at Blackburn Road.   Our photo below shows the pollution in the creek water – a week after the spill (!).

  • Although the tank had a capacity of 2,000 litres,  it is not known how much entered the creek – though definitely a lot.  A petrochemical smell is still obvious along the creek now – nearly two weeks later!

On for Young and Old – Working Bee Report

  • Despite our best attempts at lining up the ducks for the working bee (photo courtesy of our friend Ruth), numbers were down at our 9th July working bee – possibly due to the school holidays.  Nevertheless, our group had an enjoyable morning weeding and in-fill planting near the bridge in Blacks Walk.
  • Ruth’s photo below shows some of our younger participants fascinated by a demonstration of planting techniques.  By the way, our Committee people have been busy obtaining or updating their Working with Children Checks at Whitehorse Council’s request – given kids sometimes participate in our activities.

  • Our next Working Bee will be this coming Sunday, 13th August at the same site (on the northern side of the pedestrian bridge in Blacks Walk).  The work will consist of weeding and then planting.  We’ve been promised that the planting will include orchids and other wildflowers.

Maintenance Team Report

  • Our Maintenance Team has been very busy weeding, mulching and planting on the north side of the creek between Main Street and Laurel Grove.  About ten loads of mulch have been spread at the back of the private properties towards the Laurel Grove bridge and about 300 plants have gone in filling in gaps.
  • This is the third season we’ve worked on rehabilitating that site. It is a difficult area to work given the steepness of the creek banks, the dryness of the “soil” (mostly fill) and the need to carry water long distances.

Events and Notices for Your Diaries

  • The Shared Use Path (SUP) from Blackburn to Nunawading Stations is now open and ready for use.  There was no official opening.
  • Mayor Denise Massoud has told our people that VicRoads accepts that Elmore Walk is off limits for the final Laburnum section of the SUP.  Otherwise, the final route remains unknown.

Sat 21st

  • Our Spring Bird Survey is planned for Saturday, 21st October at 07:30.
  • Please see our Bird Survey page for more details.

Plant of the Month

  • Now that some wattles have begun flowering to help us shake off our winter blues, our Plant of the Month is the Myrtle Wattle (Acacia myrtifolia).   Here’s an example from Furness Park:

myrtle wattle

  • This is a small to medium sized shrub (up to 3m x 3m) you might care to consider for your garden – it is quite dense with medium to large oval leaves and those wonderful large bright yellow flowers in winter.
  • For wattle lovers (and perhaps Wattle Day), there will be a display of wattles flowering in the park going up on the noticeboard soon.

Weed of the Month

  • Weed of the Month is Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides).   It has been defined as a Weed of National Significance – being regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia because of its economic and environmental impacts.  It was first introduced from South Africa in the 1850s.  bridal creeper
  • It has small, bright shiny green leaves and pendent white flowers during winter and spring.  It is a scrambler and/or climber and can reach 3 metres in length.   The picture above shows an example in Furness Park where it is commencing to compete with the good, indigenous Mountain Clematis (Clematis aristata) [larger, darker leaves].
  • It tends to smother native vegetation upstairs and downstairs – firstly, with its thick foliage and, secondly, with its thick underground clumps of tubers which restrict the roots of indigenous species.  The seeds are readily spread in the droppings of birds, rabbits and foxes that eat its berries.  It also spreads by extending its root system.

Sightings

  • Ruth’s interesting photo above shows three Tawny Frogmouths in the one tree in Blacks Walk west of the bridge.  She thinks the third bird is likely to be a “teenager” who has not quite left home.   A less reliable and less educated guess is that he looks like he’s making a move on someone else’s partner.  This would explain the bird on the left sleeping with one eye open!
  • In addition to our permanent residents such as the Tawnies above, there have been several interesting bird sightings:  Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos, Gang-gangs, Eastern Rosellas, White-faced Herons (nesting again in Linum Street), and pairs of both Long-billed and Short-billed Corellas in the same tree to “compare and contrast”.

Current Noticeboard Display

  • Our current Noticeboard display (thanks Anthea and Graeme!)  is entitled Our Changing Creek and shows dramatic photos of flood events as well as other interesting historical information.  Take a look on the creek side of the Noticeboard when you get a chance!

nb - our changing creek

  • As previously mentioned, our next display will be samples of wattles flowering in the park – going up on the noticeboard soon.
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