ReGreening of the Wingecarribee River

By Lyndal Breen
 
The more or less accidental building of the Buradoo to Berrima walking track opened up a substantial access along the river which has allowed both bush regeneration and also historical rediscoveries along the riverside.  Some history was close to being lost – my father, a keen local historian wrote in the 1980s about having to wade waist deep in the river as he tried to find Lambies Well near Berrima. (Now an easy walk from behind the gaol). Other remnants of history are being rediscovered even today, at Bong Bong and Berrima, and enjoyed with interpretative signage as people walk along the river.
  
The original Wingecarribee Landcare Network worked on planting natives on some sites from about 1995, including the planting between the top of the Bong Bong track and the weir, as well as downstream. A Youth Landcare group, long defunct, did the incredibly successful and dense planting on the western side of the River at the road bridge. There were two Green Army Projects which planted some 10,000 trees, shrubs and grasses, from the road bridge downstream and at the back of Burradoo. 
 
The substantial Great Eastern Ranges Initiative / Wall 2 Wollondilly – Southern Highlands BioLink work, known as W2W, has funded various activies, bird observations, nesting boxes and tree hollow projects as well as major efforts by contractors, on blackberry and willow blocks in the river.  The volunteer Rivercare group started as part of the W2W work. Further downstream, the Council Bushcare Team works on the Berrima Reserve, around Berrima Weir, while Berrima Bushcare group has been contributing around Berrima for many years.
 
The iconic platypus is occasionally seen in the river – scientific eDNA testing as well as regular observations are being carried out to learn more about how this special creature is surviving in the area. There are a number of important plant species from Eucalyptus macarthurii (Paddys River Box) E. aggregata (around Medway) and the Persoonia glaucescens (Mittagong Geebung) to mention three of them. The local birdwatchers group, Birdlife Southern Highlands, has been surveying the riverside and taking small tours  as well. There are substantial bird lists and plant lists being kept.
 
 
 
The Oxley College Landcare group, recently revived, is highlighted on the Landcare Gateway – copied below.
 

The Oxley College Landcare Group began rivercare activities in 1989 and continued with a range of projects and improvements to the riparian area until 2011. In 2019 Wingecarribee Shire Council established the Burradoo Rivercare Group.

The Oxley College Landcare Group began Rivercare activities in 1989 with Ian Royds as one of it’s founding members. This group continued with many projects through to 2011 when Ian left the school. In that time, with assistance from grants, they restored riparian vegetation along kilometres of river frontage upstream and downstream of Burradoo, removing weed species, monitoring physical/chemical water quality parameters, did regular aquatic invertebrate sampling analyses, fenced and planted over 7000 trees, set up solar stock watering systems, released dung beetles to sequester animal faeces into the ground to reduce nutrient inflows to the river, cleared pest willows from Berrima to Joadja with the Willow Warriors group and did other small maintenance tasks along the river. In 2019 the Wingecarribee Shire Council established the Burradoo Rivercare Group to encourage ongoing work along the river. The group is only small but works with council Bushcare staff to continue restoration of the riparian zone on Council land. With the reformation of the Southern HIghlands Landcare Network we hope to continue this work on private lands as well.

 If you are interested in volunteering please complete the online application form and Council will be in touch with you. For more information contact the Environment Officer – Bushcare and Citizen Science on 02 4868 0888.

 

Wingecarribee Shire Council Programs

WSC-Rivercare

Council’s Rivercare Program will initially focus on the Wingecarribee River with plans to expand across the Shire. We live in a local government area where our waterways provide a significant amenity for residents and visitors in addition to supporting our wonderful wildlife. For more information visit www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/rivercare or join the W2W Rivercare Group

Bushcare and Rivercare working bees occur on a fortnightly or monthly basis and you must be registered as a volunteer with Council if you would like to participate. If you are interested in volunteering please complete the online application form and Council will be in touch with you. For more information contact the Environment Officer – Bushcare and Citizen Science on 02 4868 0888.

WSC-Bushcare

The Wingecarribee Shire is fortunate to have a diverse number of ecological communities and is considered a biodiversity hot-spot with many iconic species including Koalas, Platypus, Glossy-black Cockatoos and Mittagong Geebung. 

Council has the care and control of more than 30 remnant bush land reserves in excess of 3000 hectares, as well as caring for a number of significant watercourses and wetlands. To help manage these areas and to monitor changes and key threatening processes, Council has an active Bushcare and Citizen Science Program.

Wall to Wollondilly (W2W) Greening Australia

The Wingecarribee River, in the Southern Highlands of NSW, serves as a major corridor linking the coastal escarpment to the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and the Central Tablelands.

We are working with the local community, farmers and government, to help restore critical habitat for animals such as the Platypus, reduce the impact of weeds, improve water quality and return the Wingecarribee River to a healthy state.

Wall to Wollondilly is a collaboration between Greening Australia, Wingecarribee Shire Council, Local Land Services, local Landcare Australia groups and the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust, thanks to funding and support from the NSW Government Environmental Trust’s Bush Connect Program. www.greeningaustralia.org.au/projects/w2w/

The Wall to Wollondilly (W2W) Project will protect, maintain and restore the natural environment along the Wingecarribee River, in the Southern Highlands of NSW, between the Wingecarribee Reservoir and the junction of the Wollondilly and Wingecarribee Rivers. This is a major corridor linking the coastal cliffs with the Central Tablelands.

The challenge

Extensive land clearing has left the river in a highly degraded state, threatening water quality and the future of the river’s many native plants and animals, like the Platypus and Yellow-Bellied Gliders, as well as threatened woodland birds, microbats and possums. Cleared land fragments the landscape and forces these threatened species into isolated pockets.

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