Black Spur Creek Wetlands Project (BSCW) - Update 19 April 2020

Much has happened since the last update 2 months ago.
There has been tragedy and loss and there has also been construction, building, nurturing and regeneration.
We have moved from group gatherings to social distancing whilst social cohesion, cooperation, communication and caring have become more important than ever.
Our sympathy goes to all those affected by another fatal car accident involving two well known, respected and loved members of the community, one of whom lost her life. We also sympathise with everyone negatively impacted by the pandemic and accompanying restrictions.
CPB contractors, based at the Koonwarra Saleyards, are actively constructing the South Gippsland Highway realignment and we hope they enjoy their time in South Gippsland and stay safe.
During this process, it’s sad to see the trees go – especially those that are effectively irreplaceable because of their size and age. We appreciate that CPB and Major Roads Projects Victoria have been updating our landcare group on some of the activities. Before being cleared, the trees were surveyed by an ecologist who identified those with hollows or where wildlife needed to be re-located.
NTV Landcare Group had been assured that some of the fallen trees could be retained on the vegetation offset site as habitat. Fallen wood and debris are known to be valuable to enrich and restore ecosystems and for wildlife, fungi and plant survival. They can provide places to hide, shade, moisture, nutrients and shelter. The wood, leaf litter and fungi growing on them can be valuable food sources for invertebrates and, ultimately, mammals and birds. Snakes and lizards often use horizontal logs for basking in the sun and antechinus use them for social and territorial purposes. Seed is released to aid natural regeneration. The logs can also stabilize the soil, reducing erosion.
Although it is logistically difficult, CPB have undertaken to work so that at least some of the logs with hollows are provided to Indigenous Designs to incorporate into vegetation restoration.
Meanwhile Indigenous Designs have been removing Eucalyptus strzeleckii seedlings from the work zone and transplanting them to the vegetation offset zone (45 seedlings at the last count). I was pleased to see them with wallaby guards because I photographed a wallaby close by on the same day!
Sacred Kingfishers were amongst the birds sighted on Landcare’s monthly “bird monitoring walks.” This activity, like the Koonwarra Park Run, has stopped for now but we can continue to observe birds as we exercise on the rail trail.
Prior to restrictions, Luke and Melissa invited the Landcare executive to meet 37 “Birdos” from Birds Australia who spent 5 days documenting birds in South Gippsland. They were very interested in the wonderful waterway and land restoration work that Luke and Melissa (with the WGCMA) are undertaking and we were also able to tell them about the BSCW project.
Meanwhile the Landcare Group has been busy with organising a bird monitoring sign for the Rail Trail and administering and implementing the Making the Tarwin Terrific Again project.
On Arnold’s Road, we’ve treated roadside weeds (including Blackberry, Hawthorn, Sweet Pittosporum and feral Fruit Trees) from the South Gippsland Water Pumping Station to Minns Road. We’ve ordered seedlings to plant in the roadside in a few months. Reid’s direct seeding of indigenous trees and shrubs are looking very successful.
CPB Update (previously circulated locally)
Traffic management on South Gippsland Highway
• From Tuesday 24 March, traffic will be reduced to one lane in approximately one kilometre sections between 7am and 5pm on the South Gippsland Highway between Koonwarra and Meeniyan.
• Work crews will be installing barriers, and realigning line marking to enable access to the work area.
• This may mean traffic delays during these times.
• Speed will be reduced to 60km/h on this stretch of road.
Delays on the Great Southern Rail Trail
• Rail trail users may experience delays of up to 15 minutes while equipment is moved safely between sites along the rail trail between the Koonwarra Recreation Reserve and Minns Road.
• This will occur on weekdays only from Monday 23 March to Friday 1 May between 7am and 5.30pm.
• Traffic controllers will be on site to guide rail trail users through the area safely.


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