FoMM Newsletter June 2012

Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) Newsletter June 2012

  • Working Bee planned for June 17th at the Majura Paddock
  • Report on Rabbit Control Project
  • Fleabane situation
  • Report on Planting Party Old Sheep Camp – Sunday 20 May

Dear Friends

I have the task of standing in for Waltraud during her absence as the sender of newsletters and updater of the website.  I hope I can keep things up to her exacting standards!  Please could anyone with pictures from Mt Majura or something interesting to report send me an email and I will try my best to include it on the website or in the next newsletter.

Working Bee at Majura Paddock – Sunday June 17, 2012

When: Sunday 17 June, 1pm to 4pm

Where: Meet at the Hackett reservoir off Rivett / French Streets

Bring: Sun protection, sturdy shoes, gloves, and a rake or mattock if you have one

We will be weeding around the trees and shrubs that were planted during last year’s National Tree Day. It is necessary to hand weed close to the young plants rather than use chemical weed control. In addition we have Drooping she-oak seedlings and native shrub seedlings which have been hand-raised in Hackett and are now ready to be planted out, watered in and mulched. Tools will be provided.

Click here for more information.

Rabbit Control Program Update – by Margaret Clough and Waltraud Pix

From October 2011 to March 2012 volunteers of the Friends of Mount Majura, the Mount Ainslie Weeders and the Watson Woodland Working Group joined forces with members of the wider public to map rabbit warrens in the Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie nature reserves. They volunteered 753.9 hours surveying an area of 1332.25 hectares (over 13 million square meters) and recorded 1167 rabbit warrens and burrows (0.876 records/ha) scattered throughout the reserves. Volunteers involved with rabbit mapping since the start of the control program noticed a significant decrease of large multi-entrances rabbit warrens compared to the first survey in 2008-09. In addition to the field survey work, volunteers clocked up over 343.4 hours training with GPS, data processing and project coordination.

Please click here to go to the website where you can see the maps of the GPS’ed warrens, photos of volunteers on the mountain, and reports from the rabbit control programs in previous years.

Staff of Parks and  Conservation and Service and contractors began work to control rabbits in the second half of February 2012.  Some follow up treatment of reopened warrens in areas of high rabbit activity was completed in early May.

Many thanks to all volunteers for generously giving their time. Thank you also to the Molonglo Catchment Group, the North Canberra Community Council, and staff of Parks and Conservation Service for support with training, advice and resources to successfully accomplish the survey.

Fleabane – advice from Steve Taylor, Senior Invasive Plants Officer PCS

Flax-leaf Fleabane (Conzya bonariensis) has become widespread in the ACT this year.  It is primarily a weed of disturbed sites but it does spread easily, being a daisy, into inter-tussock spaces.  It also spreads easily into more open pasture and cropping areas.  It is normally more of an issue in humid areas – but clearly our wet summer has allowed it to become more prevalent in the ACT.

What we know:

  • the respected ‘Weeds of the SE’ reference book by Richardson et al classifies it as a widespread weed across a variety of habits in SE Australia.  Not regarded as a serious invasive plant or environmental weed.
  • being a daisy, it does spread well into disturbed areas and open vegetation.
  • it won’t form mono-cultures in un-disturbed areas
  • it fills inter-tussock spaces where it can temporarily (because it is an annual) outcompete some small native wildflowers
  • it is very conspicuous
  • it is less common in Canberra during El Nino periods due to less rain and lower humidity
  • it is a problem in some cropping areas

So it spreads well but the impact is relatively low in native grasslands. That being said there may be a limited number of sites where we would like to control it.  These are: some rec-areas because it looks untidy, or if it spreads into an endangered wildflower site like a Hoary Sunray area, or it is affecting a crop.

The next problem becomes what herbicide would you use in such situations.  It would be easy if we were managing a crop because we could boom spray all the broadleaf rosettes in the area with a selective broadleaf herbicide(eg. MCPA, or 2,4,D, or Brush-Off) and that would solve the problem in the short term.  This approach may also damage legumes – depending on the herbicide.

But as conservation managers we have to conserve our wildflower sites.  Broad acre treatment is not an option as it would kill the native wildflower rosettes as well.  Spot spraying of rosettes could be done in later winter early spring with Brush-Off at 10g per 100L water under our ACTPCS off-label permit no. 13420.  That would be very time consuming, and as you know there are far greater invasive weed priorities.    But if there is a localised infestation in a reserve and Parkcarers have time – then hand removal before seeding would be useful to protect a wildflower site.  But again – if the Fleabane is already widespread it would be a poor use of time to work on Fleabane control at the expense of time that could be spent on controlling the mono-culture forming invasive grasses.

Planting party Old Sheep Camp – held on May 20

On a glorious autumn afternoon, 40 strong and healthy Drooping she-oak seedlings were planted at the old sheep camp. We were very pleased to have two new people join the regular volunteers and to be able to spread word of the work of FoMM to passing joggers and bikers. Thanks to Peter for the fantastic planting holes at the sheep camp; thanks to Luke for bringing equipment up and Noel for taking it down and to Margy for the scrumptious cake and thanks to everyone there who helped with the planting, watering and mulching.

Click here for photos.

Warm regards


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