What is Landcare Fire Recovery?

Upper Goulburn Landcare Network
Since the devastating Black Saturday bushfires of Feb 2009, the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network has been working with landholders and local communities in the Murrindindi and Mitchell Shires to rebuild and rehabilitate the local environment on private property.
This blog presents some of the stories.
To find out more about our program or to volunteer with one of our projects contact Landcare Coordinator Chris Cobern on 5736 0104.
Or by email on ugrecovery@gbcma.vic.gov.au

Saturday, June 19, 2010

ANZ volunteers in Kinglake

Volunteers from the ANZ's Queens St office (Trade and Supply Chain-Institutional; did I get that right?) went to Karen & Bernie Ostenried's place in Kinglake yesterday.

It was a freezing day in Kinglake. We started planting in fog & mist, with the temperature around 3 degrees (well, that's what it felt like) and a strong wind in the afternoon .

We were very happy to have the new shed to shelter in at lunch time. Karen and her mum supplied fabulous pumpkin soup and bread sticks to supplement our BBQ lunch .

This great team of workers created new windbreaks for the house (when it is rebuilt) and shelter for the horses, by planting, staking and guarding 320 plants.
Had an interesting chat with Karen at lunch time about the fires and how the community is recovering.

Thanks David , Adam , Ankit , Gavan , Catherine & Gary . (if only Susan had come!)
I hope you all warmed up in the car on the way home.

The ANZ at 'Tranquil Rises', Flowerdale.

Today was a Landcare & Treeproject partnership at Ray Butterworth's, Flowerdale, where we are revegetating the VERY STEEP hills at the back of the property (but we need a good pair of gloves first).

25 ANZ volunteers plus 2 Treeproject & 2 Landcare support staff managed to.....

Plant 1100 trees!
Erect a marque for Sams 40th birhday party!
Sort the Glove Box!!!

A cold and showery day but great facilities and a warm fire supplied by Ray at "Tranquil Rises" trout fishing school .

Here's a rowdy group of (GO DOGGIES!) Bulldog supporters from the ANZ bank, helping at Ray Butterworth's.

Great stakes available in Seymour

Load number 1: the first 3000 of the 20,000 timber stakes the Fire Recovery Project has ordered from GATE Enterprises Seymour - that's about six pallet's worth of stakes!

G.A.T.E offers employment to people with a disability in Seymour and the surrounding district. Skilled supervisors work with employees, assisting them to develop new skills, confidence and self-esteem. An extra night shift worked for a few weeks to complete our order.
These stakes are made from waste timber collected from demolition sites and sawmill off-cuts. Another great example of this project's community-focus.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Map of burnt areas & paying homage to our volunteers

This is a map of the areas burnt by the Black Saturday fires and the proportion of that area in the Upper Goulburn River catchment. Also, part of our homage (below) to the hundreds of fencing & clean-up volunteers that are making such an importatn contribution to the cause.

Landcare Coordinators tour fire affected areas

It's now 16 months since the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network (UGLN) began its fire-recovery program, helping landholders rebuild fences, revegetate bare areas, install nest boxes for homeless fauna etc.

It was time to let Landcare Coordinators from other parts of the catchment (GBCMA) know what we've achieved, as well as the huge challenges still facing the community and environment.

Rain following the fires did incredible damage in some areas, turning clear-flowing streams into sludge and silting up dams and stream-beds throughout the catchment. This (at left) used to be a lush, wet gully above a sizable dam. The gully is gone and the dam full of sediment.

The town of Marysville is slowly starting to re-build, and the scars on the surrounding mountains will also take a long time to heal.

Still, the bush is regenerating well in many areas. Although most of the Alpine Ash and Mountain Ash forests still look like a matchstick landscape, many trees have re-sprouted and are covered in new shoots. And the dead, standing trees are not wasted. They'll provide important hollows for lots of different animals in the decades to come, once the re-sprouting trees recover and seedlings grow to form a new forest. Possums, gliders, marsupial mice, parrots, kookaburras etc all require hollows for denning and nesting, as well as a healthy forest, for survival.

And regeneration on the forest floor in many areas has been spectacular. In some areas plant species that had all but disappeared from the landscape are making a comeback; their seeds have lain dormant in the soil for perhaps decades, waiting for the right conditions to germinate and start a new cycle of life - 'Acuna Matata'.

We've even been told of a rare marsupial mouse, the not-so-Common Dunnart (Sminthopsis murina) that has been found, for the first time ever!, in the Cathedral Ranges. Presumably it was there before, but in such low numbers that no-one ever saw them. Dunnarts, along with many other species in our landscape, are known to be post-fire specialists; they need the occasional fire to create the right kind of habitat for them to flourish, and the species-rich regrowth that's regenerated after the fires is perfect.

Just like the example at left on a peak overlooking Marysville. here there are grasses, lillies, flowering peas, creepers etc and in spring there will likely be orchids and other wildflowers. It'll be worth visiting again in Sept/Oct/Nov!

Friday, June 11, 2010

South Cathederal Lane

Had a very constructive day tree planting with 40 NAB volunteers today.
Visited 3 properties , planted , staked & guarded 900 trees and shrubs.
Misty weather conditions with occassional showers. Impressive views of Cathedral Range.
Wet and slippery under foot.
Huge bus / coach did manage to get reasonably close to the planting sites without mishap.
Great team of workers , quickly got into the groove of planting and stormed across the landscape planting every three metres.
We really pushed them for the last hour to get the job finished which they did half an hour ahead of schedual - they deserved their trip to the Buxton Pub and long weekend .
Thanks Guys
Note from happy landholder attached:

Thank you SOOOO much for all the trees, but especially for organising all the NAB staff to come and put them all in!
Apart from the fact it would have taken us days to do it on our own, finding the time (especially now the cottages are starting to be rebuilt next week) would have been something of a challenge.
Please pass on our sincere gratitude to all the good folk from the NAB.
Thanks again J
Megan Buntine and Marty Slade
South Cathedral Farm
Award Winning and Pet Friendly Luxury Bed and Breakfast Cottages
53 South Cathedral Lane, Buxton, 3711

The Lorax: A sneezy mascot for our revegetation project.

"Mister!" he said with a sawdusty sneeze, "I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees." (from The Lorax, by Dr Seuss)

Dr Seuss' Lorax was a revegetation advocate of the first order and obviously a Landcarer. His task was to redress the devastation wrought by the Once-ler and nurture trees back into a denuded landscape. And that's our aim too!

This project is growing thousands of seedlings of local provenance with the help of:

* Euroa Arboretum,
* Rotary Club of Templestowe
* Tassmanian Understory Network
* Landcare Australia Limited
* Kevin Heinz School of Horticulture

The seedlings are then given to fire-affected land-holders that need to revegetate parts of their properties.

Our part-time Landcare Coordinator Bridget Clarke and Janet Hagen (Coordinator for the Hughes Creek Catchment), have spent most of their time since the fires working closely with community groups and land-holders to begin the mammoth task of rebuilding fences and rehabilitating a burnt landscape. They did a brilliant job coordinating hundreds of volunteers, pulling down kilometers of burnt fencing, building new fences and taking trailer-loads of rubbish to the tip.

In Feb. 2010 our new Fire Recovery Project Officer, Mr. Chris Cobern, started and has hit the ground running. Chris, together with Bridget and Janet, manage a variety of fire-recovery projects, including:

-Fencers without boundaries: Pulling down burnt boundary fences and building new ones.
-Lorax Project: Revegetating burnt areas with indigenous plants.
-Operation Coughing Parrot: Installing nest-boxes for animals without homes.
-Community Training: Weed ID, ACUP, .....

Most initial work was in the Flowerdale and Kinglake districts, but now the team is also working hard with landholders in the Marysville.