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Natural Regeneration Projects

Natural regeneration projects at Sportsman Creek Conservation Area

Sportsman Creek Conservation Area is happy to announce an application for a Conservation Partners Grant with the Biodiversity Conservation Trust has been approved within a three year term of operation. This grant will support the continued restoration of our riparian zone along and near Sportsman’s Creek and to increase the overall protection of significant old growth trees within the target area. The work area has been identified as having one of the highest stocking rates for arboreal mammals in the Clarence Valley. Continuing weed eradication programmes are underway and one hectare of previously cleared pasture is being prepared for plant-out with native species in early September 2019.

Slashing rampant Blady grass for site preparation

Soft twig rush or Buckie rush

Sportsman Creek Conservation Area is engaged in growing and planting this native twig rush. Commonly called Buckie rush and used extensively by the Indigenous Bundjalung peoples for basket weaving and net string bag making. A compact slender native bog grass, thrives in standing water and around flooded soils, making it the ultimate landscape plant for wet areas in the garden or for landscape re-vegetation.  

Description – Hardy native grass with
slender attractive lime green foliage and reddish-brown flower spikes.

Location – Will grow in up to 25cm of
water, in full sun or part shade. Hardy tolerating frost and low nutrient
soils.

Uses – Oxygenates and removes nutrients
from pond water and provides habitat keeping ponds cleaner and healthy. THE
STEMS ARE ALSO USED AS EXCELLENT FIBRE FOR BASKET WEAVING.

Care – Low maintenance, trim by half every
two to three years and water if the bog begins to dry out. For weaving harvest
by gently pulling out individual stems.

Three hundred and fifty metres of high quality post and wire fencing has been completed in the Conservation Area along the riparian zone next to Sportsman Creek. This new fence is designed to exclude domestic stock accessing the 30 hectare regeneration area, riparian zones and billabongs. This project completes over one and a half kilometres of new fencing allowing for improved property management, continuing recreational use, research and further species study of our local flora and fauna.

New Fenceline

 

Three year growth of  natural seeding on the wildlife refuge. The competitive nature of  Black Sheoak, Red Ash and young Swamp Turpentine out-competing rampant Blady grass at the rear of image. Evidenced by  new grasses and perennials taking hold in the enriched podsolic  profile. Over time the dominance of the Black Sheoak will be replaced by a more balanced open forest profile. The faster growing (and dying) Black Sheoak will eventually break down to provide soil stability in the sandy terrain and assist against soil erosion.

Scroll image to enlarge and magnify.

A natural regeneration project is currently underway near the riparian zone on Sportsman Creek . unslashed Blady Grass (Imperata cylindrica var. major) is being used as the pioneer plant to allow natural selection of  local species to take hold and regrow forest. Results so far are impressive with healthy saplings of Red Gum (Euc. tereticornis), Swamp Turpentine (Lophostemon suaveolens), Red Ash (Alphitonia excelsa), Pink Bloodwood (Corymbia intermedia), Black Sheoak (Allocasuarina littoralis) and Soft-fruited Tea-tree (Leptospermum brachyandrum) all out-competing the Blady grass.

The following is an excerpt of a published article on  Blady Grass courtesy of  Patricia Edwards.                        Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition.

“Nature designed native grasses to provide for native animals and to help the soils in climates in which they all evolved. In Australia, the importation of domestic livestock forced landowners to replace native grasses with exotic grasses, to provide for a higher nutritional diet for their stock. Blady grass occurs naturally in sparesly scattered tufts through forests on light infertile soils. In cleared areas, however it can put on abundant growth with no nutritional value after its first young flush, taking up vital space in a paddock and quickly becoming a worrying fire risk. For years a solution for its control was fire, until it was realised that burning only brought it back thicker and more prolific than before. In some areas a more effective control is by grazing the young shoots and trampling mature plants before they can produce seeds. But what about areas where there are no cattle? A recent study undertaken to ascertain why this grass can run out of control and to gauge its proper place in the natural cycle revealed some surprising facts and showed it to be not the perennial pest it is generally seen to be. Armed with a plan for fire control, wetland restoration and a wildlife corridor an overview of an area choked by Blady grass for several years showed the tops of young trees poking above the impenetrable swathe. Interestingly, these occured in only the thickest clumps which had been thought to be smothering all natural growth. Examination also revealed that while the surrounding earth was hard and dry, the soil within the swathe was deep, soft and fertile and still retained moisture even after several weeks of  drought. The grass was not growing in a preferred patch of soil, as previously thought, but was in fact creating its own soil, by its quick cycle of regrowth and breakdown of its dense thin leaves and cataphylls. Also surprisingly, the soil proved to be alive with worms, frogs, insects and burrowing blindworms, all uncovered in a single search. Far from stripping nutrition from the ground, the patch of ugly, problematical grass was protecting a complex variety of natural organisms – including fragile sedges and ground covers from the searing heat and winter frosts, while maintaining a rapid creation of deep fertile soil. The Blady grass helped rather than hinder the restoration plan…”.

First described by Stan Blake in 1977. Corymbia henryi has generally larger and coarser leaves and bigger buds than the other two core forms of Spotted Gum- Corymbia citriodora and Corymbia maculata. The leaves in the image are 12 inches long, C. henryi is restricted in distribution between Brisbane and Coffs Harbour and described as a Significant species. “All spotted gum species are important and well known in forestry, silverculture and horticulture and there is considerable merit in recognizing specific distinction between the 3 core forms”.

Reference; C.S.I.R.O .

This Ironbark tree produced  1 strainer posts,  10 fenceposts, 1tonne of firewood,  a large quantity of bark used as kindling (could have been cut into sheets and used for roofing a rustic shed) and a large quantity of  branches which were used for rustic furniture making. All of the remaining tree crown was bundled into Fascines and used to promote healing in some erosion affected gullies on the property. End products included 3 large rustic chairs and 2 sidetables. The tree has since re-sprouted and will continue to sequester carbon into the future.

Further uses for this tree could include – hedging, rakes, brooms, decorative framings, hurdles, peaframes and charcoal to name a few.

Click to enlarge image.

 

 

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