Black Spur Creek Wetlands Project (BSCW) - Update 21 August 2020

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of these lands and waters. 

On the home page of this website there’s an update video (made by Jill) focusing on recent Nerrena Tarwin Valley Landcare Group’s activities. It includes virtual farm walks for the “Making the Tarwin Terrific Again” project. Jill has also helped me access Mail Chimp so that readers can easily subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter. When coronavirus restrictions have allowed, small numbers of us have continued with well spaced bird monitoring on the rail trail. 

The Great Southern Rail Trail has proven to be a wonderful community asset during the coronavirus pandemic. It has allowed people to safely exercise and benefit from natural surroundings. Many studies have confirmed that spending time in nature has benefits for mental health. Thus, we were pleased to hear from Geoff McKinnon, Sustainability Co-ordinator of South Gippsland Shire, that the shire intends to manage land adjoining the rail trail as a Nature Reserve from Leongatha to Welshpool. A management plan is being developed and Nerrena Tarwin Valley Landcare Group will have opportunities for input into the draft.

NTV Landcare Group has appreciated the efforts CPB Contractors have made to keep the rail trail open and also help us erect a sign to encourage monitoring of birds. Thanks to Amy who supplied the following CPB update:

  • “You’ll notice earthworks are well underway on the Koonwarra side of the Highway and will continue into the Black Spur area in the coming weeks.
  • Thanks to everyone for their patience while we’ve had traffic management on the road over the last few months. This has meant we’ve been able to widen the road and install traffic barriers so that workers can work safely behind them. There’s a couple of days of this to complete when the weather allows, but once done the interruptions to traffic should be much reduced.
  • As well as the bird monitoring sign that was erected there’s now two project information signs installed on the Great Southern Rail Trail in the areas where the new road will intersect with the rail trail – we encourage everyone to have a read if they want to know more about the road project.”


Debbie, from Major Transport Infrastructure Authority, says twenty new Strzelecki Gum recruits have established in the offset site. In early July I saw an echidna between the first two bridges.

Thomas H. Rich, from Melbourne Museum, with other Australian and international researchers, has recently published a paper about the Koonwarra fossils titled “A polar dinosaur feather assemblage from Australia” (Elsevier Gondwana Research 80 (2020) 1-11). The Early Cretaceous feathers are exceptionally well preserved and diverse, ranging from primitive birds to dinosaurs. They were found with fossil freshwater fish, terrestrial invertebrates including insects and spiders, aquatic invertebrates, and terrestrial plants such as mosses, liverworts, fern-like plants, Ginkgo, and conifers.

Some observations and suggestions from the community:

  1. Roz suggested we might want to start an iNaturalist Citizen Science Project based around the Black Spur Creek Wetland area. This would enable us to record and share observations (ie photographs with time & place recorded) and share them with fellow naturalists including research scientists. Experts online can help with identification and the data compiled can contribute to the Atlas of Living Australia and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Is anyone interested in undertaking this project? Please contact me (Kate at walshpk@gmail.com) if you’d like more information.
  2. We’ve heard the Barking Owl again a few times. Debbie from MTIA might be able to help us erect suitable nest boxes to be incorporated in some remaining trees in the offset site.
  3. Having read about negative impacts of light pollution on wildlife, I asked Debbie about the lights at Caithness and Minns Roads intersections. The following is her response - “As for light pollution, we have included aeroscreens at both intersection’s which direct the light onto the road and we will have two 175W LED lights on one pole.  The underpass will also be lit with a day and night time level so that it will less bright at night than during the day.”
  4. We understand weed control is ongoing on the rail trail, offset site, and new highway footprint.

Kate Walsh, Coordinator, Black Spur Creek Wetland Project, for Nerrena/Tarwin Valley Landcare Group. walshpk@gmail.com.  


Barking owl (photo top) by Vicki Nunn - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10999695; photo below Julie Edgley  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic


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