Rain came and the wetlands refilled just 2 days after 24 Friends of Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria visited the Black Spur as part of a South Gippsland Discovery Tour. Our landcare group executive hosted the morning activities and Luke described the work he and Mel are undertaking on their neighbouring property.
Bunurong elder, Uncle Shane, welcomed everyone to country and shared the reverence, awe and excitement felt by his crew when artefacts from the past are salvaged. Archaeologist Dr Paul Kucera gave an overview of the methods and some of the discoveries including more recent objects dating from World War 1. In time, when the findings have been thoroughly studied and written up, we hope to have a more extensive presentation for the Nerrena Tarwin Valley Landcare Group.
The Major Roads Project Authority supported the Friends Tour by providing these and other speakers. Senior Project Engineer, Debbie McLees, described the very complex planning and research that has been invested into the South Gippsland Highway Re-alignment to date, especially efforts to minimise impacts on the environment. She stressed that the presence of an active Landcare Group enabled them to invest in vegetation offsets on site to retain and restore wetland vegetation communities. Work on the new highway is expected to begin toward the end of 2019 and will continue for 3 years.
Walking along the rail trail, Tania Brooker, ecologist and environmental consultant, and Matt Bowler, from the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, shared practical knowledge of the Eucalyptus strzeleckii woodlands and wetland ecosystems. Contractors, Indigenous Designs, have begun controlling weeds along the trail.
During the afternoon, the Cranbourne Friends learnt more about the upper reaches of the Black Spur Creek catchment when their minibus visited Jelbart Dairy and Valley Plains Pottery.
In the evening presentations, Dallas Wyatt, who has closely monitored Landcare sites, described how plantings successfully restore bird abundance and species diversity. Professor Roslyn Gleadow did, however, give a warning that Sweet Pittosporum trees (Pittosporum undulatum) and Blackbirds both favour themselves and each other to the exclusion of other species. She stressed again that Eucalypts will not germinate and grow beneath Sweet Pittosporum.
Our own understanding of the Tarwin River and adjoining land management was enhanced when geographer and historian, Lyn Skillern, spoke to Nerrena Tarwin Valley Landcare Group recently. Lyn was a member of the Tarwin River Management Trust from 1983 to 1988 and, as a member of Leongatha Historical Society, she had some fascinating information and photos to share.
Some members of the Landcare Group are helping Dan Drummond, from the Great Southern Rail Trail Committee of Management, plant seedlings near Hogans Road. If you’re interested in giving a hand, ring Dan on 0466 015 418. Bird monitoring continues 4 pm on the 3rd Tuesday of the month.