Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) Newsletter – March 2020

Woody Weeds Working Party – Sunday 15 March 2020 from 9am to 12 noon
Join FoMM for a woody weed hunt at the north slope of Mount Majura. Please schedule at least two hours of your time for this event as we will be working in a fairly remote area. This will be a search and destroy exercise to control a range of woody weeds such as Sweet Briar rose, Hawthorn and Cootamundra wattle; click on FoMM’s Woody Weed Gallery to view images of these and other common woody weeds that occur on Mt Majura.
We will be working in an area close to Federal Highway and will be leaving from The Fair meeting point at 9.15 am. It will take up to about 20 minutes to walk to the work area. There will be an induction on target weeds, the safe handling of equipment and the methods of control. We will be using herbicide and working in pairs. If you don’t want to handle herbicide you may choose to be the weed cutter and your working partner may apply the herbicide.
Where: Meet at the nature park entrance close to the intersection Tay / Ian Nicol Streets at The Fair, North Watson; click on this map to view the meeting point and the work area.
Bring and wear: Sun protection, drinking water, body-covering clothing and appropriate shoes; all equipment will be provided.
Inquires: Email
Click here for more information

Sweet Briar Rose (Rosa rubiginosa). Photo: Waltraud Pix

Mondays are the new Fridays!
FoMM held a meeting in early February, where it was decided to switch our weekly work sessions at The Fair from Fridays to Mondays. The first Mondays @ The Fair session was held on Monday 24 February. If you can make it to Mondays @ The Fair, please reply to this email. The recent good rains have been a welcome relief for the native plants and animals in the reserve, but also for the weeds. Please help us control the weeds and protect the trees we have planted in the past to regenerate the grassy woodland habitat in the reserve. Read more.

Installing tree guards at The Fair. Photo: Waltraud Pix

Water (and feed) our Wildlife. Some thoughts and observations of a ParkCare volunteer
by Waltraud Pix, Friends of Mt Majura project manager
The record high temperatures, drought and raging fires this 2019/20 Summer season have caused enormous losses of habitat, wildlife (animals and plants), and general damage to our treasured ACT landscape and woodlands. Caring people in many locations sprang into action by providing containers with water on the kerbside of their gardens as well as water and food stations in the urban Nature Reserves. A Facebook page “Water our Wildlife” (WoW) Canberra, started with people exchanging photographs, experiences and organising the provision of water and food stations using mapped locations. However, there is a downside to this kind of Labour of Love which may cause unintended outcomes.
My belief (backed up with observations as evidence) is that the main beneficiaries of water and food stations, at least within the Mt Majura nature reserve, were kangaroos, pests and urban dwellers some of which pose a threat to native wildlife.
In the reserve east of “The Fair” (Mt Majura Nature Park), we found not only rabbit and hare droppings around the water and food stations but also fox scats. Foxes, being omnivorous, have been attracted either directly by the food, or indirectly by the presence of the rabbits and hares that attended the food stations.
We were quite alarmed when we observed at one of the water points, the first Common (Indian) Myna birds recorded in the area. And only recently, Noisy Miners were observed in large numbers (up to 20) in the area whereas in previous years we observed the occasional Noisy Miner visiting the site. Most likely, the comparative absence of these two aggressive bird species has accounted for the presence of little woodland birds in the reserve east of The Fair. Read more.

Water & food point at The Fair with pellets and broccoli. Photo: Waltraud Pix

Other news and events:

Australian Native Plants Society (Canberra Region) Autumn Plant Sale – Saturday 21 March 2020 8.30 am to 1:30 pm
Gates open at 8:30 AM and sale ends at 1:30 PM or until sold out. Located at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Southern Car Park. Wide range of plants suitable for Canberra’s climate. Bring your own bags and boxes. Payment by cash or credit card. ANPS encourages card payment. An indicative list of plants that will be available at the sale can be downloaded here.

Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
The statutory review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) commenced on 29 October 2019. Professor Graeme Samuel AC was appointed as the independent reviewer. An Expert Panel will support and provide advice to Professor Samuel on specific issues. Over the next 12 months, the review will look at how the EPBC Act has been operating, and any changes needed for Australia to support ecologically sustainable development into the future. All Australians are invited to participate in the review. Australia has one of the world’s highest extinction rates and one of the highest native vegetation clearing rates in the world. Submissions on the discussion paper are due 17 April 2020. Read the discussion paper and make a submission or comment here.

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