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Placement GIFNewsletter of the Friends of Scott Creek
Conservation Park

No. 149, Febuary-March, 2013

The President's Words:

The 13th year of the millennia is looking increasingly unlucky for our environment. Coming hard on the heels of the announcement to re-gazette some 64 parks to ease the access of inappropriate activities under the guise of “simplifying management issues”, is yet another Strategy. This one is the “Linking Adelaide with Nature” Strategy.

This new document heralds the beginning of what could be a protracted process of implementing a trails network in some 24 parks of the MLR including Scott Creek. Despite the release of this Strategy and the stated intentions to establish “shared use trails for walking, horse riding and cycling” and eleven other priority actions, we have not had any indication as to how Scott Ck will be impacted. One action I would most definitely welcome is “implement a three year program to identify and repair sections of existing trails that could place natural or cultural values at risk”. As some of the tracks within Scott Ck have ruts and erosion channels getting on for 30cm deep in places, we volunteers would be most keen to see rhetoric replaced with ACTIONS.  I think the cost of the People and Parks Strategy would have easily covered our repairs and many more besides.

In the Strategies section No 5 “Open selected management vehicle tracks to cycling”, cycling and horse riding although treated as separate strategies, (5 and 6) were just cut and paste mirror images of each other. (Apart from the words “public benefit” in cycling being supplanted with “public demand” in horses). The implication here is very clear; the impacts are seen as the same.

 Perhaps anticipating some pointed questions as to the environmental and bushwalker impact of this latest trail blazer, the conveners opted to skirt the pesky old Friends Groups when writing this Strategy. Apart from David Mitchell from FOP Inc, who no doubt argued our corner very ably, the Advisory Group consisted of three representatives from Biking/Mountain Biking Associations, (plus another committee member who helped  deliver the Mountain Bike Strategy for SA), one Horse SA, Tourism, Wilderness Soc, Nature Conservation Society, NRM etc. Given that in the initial plan 24 parks are involved it could be argued that we were slightly under-represented. Perhaps we just didn’t have the requisite expertise to see the “bigger picture”.

As with any good Strategy there are visions and goals, there is even a passing reference to environmental challenges. Unfortunately there was no vision for all the cyclists and horse riders to be able to ride through a weed free environment. In fact, being able to enjoy the sight of truly tremendous weeds is evidenced on page 17 of the Strategy, where a photo shows a young couple gazing in wonderment at a waterfall which is being partially obscured by the 6 metre exotic giant reed “Arundo donax”. Perhaps the greatest challenges for our environment lie in the reluctance of so many levels of management to recognize that our Conservation Parks are, as their name suggests, primarily for conservation and preservation. They are not playgrounds for the tourism industry or special interest groups to exploit and the department vested with the responsibility of caring for them should stop sounding like the PR arm of the Tourism Board and concentrate on what should be their core responsibility, protecting irreplaceable species and their habitats.
The Federal Government recently called for submissions for their “Inquiry into the effectiveness of threatened species and ecological communities’ protection in Australia”. There were numerous submissions although our own Dept. of Environment was silent so I can only surmise they are happy with the state of things. Of the few that I have read they seem to be of one accord and that is Australia as a whole has a lamentable record of species protection. Federal laws are under increasing pressure from the States who want these laws administered by them; this will see an even faster deterioration of species decline. I recommend reading some of the submissions. There are over 150 but several that I have read include No’s 15, 55, 127 and 157.  The common thread of many, as Prof David Lindenmeyer puts it, is that “by any measure, Australia has an appallingly poor record of biodiversity decline, biodiversity loss, and poor environmental management”. Number 83 from the Australian Deer Association is also worth a look; they lament the fact that deer were listed as a key threatening process, arguing it was a misuse of the Precautionary Principle. Pity about that.

A few months ago Tim Flannery wrote an article which, in part, documented the recent extinction of the Christmas Island pipistrelle, a very small bat. This extinction was avoidable; a relatively small amount of money could have averted the loss. What makes it even more poignant is that it is the first Australian mammal extinction in sixty years. One very salient point Tim Flannery makes is “First and foremost, the problem stems from the delusion that that the simple act of proclaiming a national park or nature reserve will result in the protection of biodiversity. Parks must be proclaimed and effectively managed if biodiversity is to be protected”.

Go to this web site and have a browse the submissions.   
http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=ec_ctte/threatened_species/submissions.htm

Back in our own patch we are continuing to erode the more persistent weed incursions, Bushrat and Mackereth Creeks and Hadrian’s Gully continue to have broom and blackberry removed. The park is not getting any smaller but we have made some significant inroads over the years. This was very much in evidence at the last working bee along Cascade Creek where large erica and boneseed once dominated. At times we were struggling to find even a juvenile plant of either and regeneration of the whole area has almost completely erased evidence of the past infestations. What a great problem to have-not enough weeds.

Helping with this pursuit our Ranger Jen, has been purchasing more equipment in the form of gloves, saws, secateurs and loppers and assorted weaponry from part of a Caring for Country, Healthy Habitat Projects Grant. This, together with the spray unit purchased last year is being put to very good use and I believe, like any young woman with a credit card, Jen quite enjoys the vicarious spending. 

Birds, Birds, Birds!!!

A small group of members braved the cool(?) conditions on the morning of the 3rd. February, turning up at the Laratinga Wetlands, Mount Barker, at 8 am. to have a look at what was in residence. We did very well, spotting 53 species in 2 hours. Of particular note was the occurrence of both Spoonbills, Freckled Ducks, Pink-eared Ducks, both Spotted (numerous) and Baillon’s Crakes and Latham’s Snipe. Reed Warblers were plentiful, at times hopping around us on the paths. Towards the end of the visit, a sole Australian Hobby got the locals ducking for cover.

A few photos (following) show our group in action.
    
Lara outting

Laratinga Bird Excursion-Treasurer (right) looks for funding opportunity

 

 

Lara outting
Bored with Spotted Crakes, Peter looks for starlings

Lara outing

       Someone said “Lathams Snipe”

lara outing

 

            The End

Bird Banding:
Our programme has continued after the long break last winter. We managed weekends in December, January and February.
Here is a summary of our results.

December 16th.            Mackereth Creek         40 captures including
                                                                         6 recaptures.
                                                                         9 species caught inc. 21 Silvereyes
                                                                        21 species observed
January 19th.                 Gate 4                          38 captures including
                                                                          8 recaptures
                                                                        12species caught inc 4 Golden Whistlers
                                                                        28 species observed
January 20th.                 Gate 4                          17captures including
                                                                         8 recaptures
                                                                         8 species caught
                                                                        23 species observed
February 16th.              Scott Creek                  30 captures including
                                                                         6 recaptures
                                                                         8 species caught
                                                                        21 species observed
 The most notable recapture was an 8+ Whitebrowed Scrubwren at Scott Creek.

Liz Campbell has produced a preliminary draft of her final report. This is a present being looked at by our bird group, to see where we may be able to add some meaningful input to her conclusions.  Liz’ work contains a mass of detail, but her graphing of this is quite revealing in showing trends. The report is still a work in progress.

 

                                                                                                                                   

 

Programme February – April  2013
All working bees meet at 9.00am at G18 (now Gate 16)

February

16

Bird Banding

Scott Creek, 7.00 am.

 

17

Bird Banding

Scott Creek, 7.00 am.

 

23

Saturday Working Bee

Revisit Panhandle

 

24

Warrawong

Final visit, meal and evening walk; see email from Tom and Jenny

March

2

Bird Banding

Derwentia, 7 am.

 

3

Bird Banding

Derwentia 7 am.

 

5

Tuesday Working Bee

Gate 17 – Broom etc opp

 

10

Sunday Working Bee

Near ETSA spur track- Boneseed

 

14

Business Meeting

Thompson’s 7:30PM

 

16

Bird Banding

Gate 19, 7.30 am

 

17

Bird Banding

Gate 19, 7.30 am.

 

23

Saturday Working Bee

Gate 7 – Broom etc

 

29

Good Friday Walk

Gate 21-Leave from top of Greenhood Tk -9.30am

April

2

Tuesday Working Bee

TBA

 

6

Bird Banding

Gate 3 – Crossroads, 7.30 am

 

7

Bird Banding

Gate 3 – Crossroads, 7.30 am

 

14

Sunday Working Bee

TBA

N.B. Wed

17

Social Committee

Montagna – (Blackwood) 12:00pm

 

20

Bird Banding

Gate 9, 7.30 am.

 

21

Bird Banding

Gate 9, 7.30 am.

 

27

Saturday Working Bee

TBA

There is a calendar on the website which will send you reminders of any of these events the day before. Just let the web master slave know, and you will be put on the reminder list for which ever events you wish.

 

PLEASE PUT THIS DATE ON YOUR CALENDAR
 JUNE 9th SUNDAY WORKING BEE, 9am: PLANTING IN SCOTT CK CON PARK OF TREES AND SHRUBS ALONG SCOTT CREEK IN PADDOCK JUST UP FROM MACKERETH COTTAGE CAR PARK
URBAN FOREST UNIT WILL BE BRINGING TOOLS AND A MARQUEE AND
120 HAKEA CARINATA TO GIVE AWAY ON THE DAY

 Any queries on Friends activities, please contact your office bearers.

President          Tom Hands       8388 2150         RMB 691, Cherry Gardens , 5157      Email: almanda11@bigpond.com

Secretary         Don Reid          8388 2123     224 Mt. Bold Road, Bradbury,  5153                         Email: dre00249@bigpond.net.au

Check this Treasurer          Donella Peters     8339 5639          P.O. Box 426, Blackwood , 5051 Email : dld@internode.on.net

Saturday Working Bee Coordinator: Tom Hands      8377 1749      8388 2150         RMB 691, Cherry Gardens , 5157      Email: almanda11@bigpond.com

Tuesday/Sunday Working Bees Coordinator: John Butler           8278 2773    5 Trevelyan Court , Coromandel Valley, 5051      Email: jhbutler@chariot.net.au :

Friends Website:  http://friendsofscottcreek.org

 

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