Oatley Bay Tree Massacre

A tree massacre has been bought to our attention at the Oatley Bay Memorial Boardwalk. A nearby resident was seen removing gum trees, mangrove trees casuarinas and others on the 13th of July.

Council were notified and  on the day visited the site and confiscated a saw and ladder.  Clearing continued on  27th July and 1st August,  this was reported with photos to council.

OFF members have visited this site and seen lots of small trees and some mangrove branches cut down and the stumps pasted in black (?poison).  All the destroyed vegetation still lying on the ground. It has certainly created a ‘water view’ for the occupant of one unit in the Kingfisher block (No. 136 Morshead Drive). 

Some have noted it would seem an ideal place to erect one of those boards that blocks the view from the unit and shames the perpetrator.  It has damaged the ambience of the Memorial Boardwalk; following website says “construction was competed in October 2008 and boardwalk was officially launched by the mayor and representatives from the St George RS.  http://www.kogarah.nsw.gov.au/environment/local-projects/foreshore

Three Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos were seen climbing amongst the casuarinas that were still standing, and a Magpie-Lark was foraging on the exposed mud flat – certainly an area of significance for birds.

 

 

 

OFF Launches Council Election Campaign With Mass Planting

Today, Oatley Flora & Fauna Conservation Society (OFF) members and friends gathered to plant out a small portion of the reserve near Oatley station. The project was started in May with 300 plants and today it was completed by planting 200 more.

At the same time Society President Graham Lalchere announced that OFF has decided to take an active part in the September council elections. However, he said “We won’t necessarily be advocating a vote for any particular candidate. What we are looking for are new candidates who will give the newly merged Georges River Council a fresh start.”

“We are seeking candidates who will support:

  • Council openness and good governance

  • Protection of open spaces like Myles Dunphy Reserve

  • Effective control of developers and development

  • Protection of trees on public and private land

  • Georges River water quality improvement projects and programs; and

  • Climate change policies that enhance liveability and sustainability at the local level.

“With this planting we are putting our money where our mouth is and leading the way to maintaining healthy parks and open space” Mr Lalchere said.

So, what we will be asking the community to do is get to know who they are voting for – It really matters. First and foremost we want the Council to be well governed by ethical councillors who act honourably, fairly and solely in the public interest.

Protection of our local environment underpins the health and well-being of the whole community. Councillors have a key role in ensuring our quality of life is maintained so look for those who will be putting these policies high on the agenda.

To assist with this OFF will be raising awareness by canvassing the candidates’ opinions and positions on important local issues and publicising their responses.

“We cannot afford to sit back and abdicate our responsibility when voting on 9th September.

Show you care for our local environment. Ensure it is protected. Vote 1 for a fresh start” Mr Lalchere said.

Lime Kiln Bay Wetlands in Need of Upgrade

The efficiency of the Lime Kiln Bay Wetlands needs to be re-examined. Management Plan made in 2005 are outdated. It needs to be updated to take account of the higher peak flows and greater sediment load caused by increased area of impervious surfaces in the catchment which has developed through the building of apartments, villas and McMansions. There is a need to stop sediment entering our river. A good example is Parramatta River Catchment Group campaign -  Get the Site Right a soil and erosion control compliance blitz on construction sites around their catchment.

The 2015-16 report card by Georges River Combined Councils revealed “a slight decline” in the ecological condition of the catchment over the previous year. The catchment received a C+ (fair) rating, but water quality in some parts, including Gungah Bay (D-) and Lime Kiln Bay (D+) was rated “poor”. The outlook for the future is not promising with future planned growth according to the Greater Sydney Commission’s draft regional plan for Sydney South projecting at least 23,000 more homes in the next 40 years.

More information on sediment removal from ponds by Geoff Francis (May 2017)

Leader 26 April 2017 – Change of focus on Ponds

Leader 1 Feb 2017 Georges River Health declines as housing numbers surge

 

 

 

OFF Photographic Competition

Scroll down to read Terms and conditions

Download pdf of competition details

 

Guide to Trees of Georges River Council Area

Historically, the tree cover of Georges River has been the result of a complex interaction between soil types and topography.

Ridge Top – The higher ridgetops which dominate the former Kogarah and Hurstville Local Government Areas have soils derived from the Wianamatta Shale group which break down to clays and thin beds of shale-sandstone soils. Here most of the land has been cleared for housing, leaving only remnants of the previous tree cover. Scattered throughout this area are tall Turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera) and occasional Woollybutt (Eucalyptus longifolia), Broad-leaved Ironbark (Eucalyptus fibrosa) and Mugga Ironbark (Eucalyptus sideroxylon). It was forests of these trees which attracted early loggers who used Forest Road as their access. 

Turpentine

Woollybutt

Broad-leaved Ironbark

Mugga Ironbark

01 Syncarpia glomulifera 03 Eucalyptus longifolia 05 Eucalyptus fibrosa 07 Eucalyptus sideroxylon
02 Syncarpia glomulifera 04 Eucalyptus longifolia 06 Eucalyptus fibrosa 08 Eucalyptus sideroxylon
Syncarpia glomulifera Eucalyptus longifolia Eucalyptus fibrosa Eucalyptus sideroxylon

Georges River Shoreline – The indented shoreline of Georges River and the steep slopes running down to the shore consists predominantly of the Hawkesbury Sandstone group, with the soils a mixture of skeletal sands, blocks of weathered sandstone and some small shale lenses. Here the tree cover is more intact. On the upper slopes there is often a woodland with taller trees including Smooth-barked Apple (Angophora costata), Red Bloodwood (Corymbia gummifera) and Sydney Peppermint (Eucalyptus piperita ).


Smooth-barked Apple
Red Bloodwood
Sydney Peppermint 
09 Angophora costata 11 Corymbia gummifera 13 Eucalyptus piperita
10 Angophora costata 12 Corymbia gummifera 14 Eucalyptus piperita
 Angophora costata  Corymbia gummifera  Eucalyptus piperita

 

On the protected slopes there is a richer vegetation and more varied large tree presence. The dominant species are Smooth-barked Apple, Grey Gum (Eucalyptus punctata) and Blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis). Extensive Grey Mangrove (Avicennia marina) forests occur in sheltered areas of the Georges River but only a few individual plants (chiefly in Lime Kiln Bay) grow to tree-like size.

Grey Mangrove Grey Gum Blackbutt
23 Avicennia marina 15 Eucalyptus punctata 17 Eucalyptus pilularis
24 Avicennia marina 16 Eucalyptus punctata 18 Eucalyptus pilularis

Avicennia marina

Eucalyptus punctata

Eucalyptus pilularis


Oatley Park

One area of special interest is the sandstone-shale interface which occurs near the entrance to Oatley Park. Here there is a very localised stand of the large Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus sclerophylla), some on the margin of Oatley Park Avenue. Nearby on the slopes, benefiting from the richer soils, is the tall Brown Stringybark (Eucalyptus capitellata).

Scribbly Gum

Eucalyptus sclerophylla

 

19 Eucalyptus sclerophylla

 

 

20 Eucalyptus sclerophylla

Brown Stringybark Eucalyptus capitellata

22 a Eucalyptus resinifera

21 Eucalyptus resinifera 22 Eucalyptus resinifera

 

Guide and photos by Alan Fairley author of Native Plants of the Sydney District

 

Tucoerah – Georges River Bushcare Volunteers Newsletter

DSC01423Tucoerah – the quarterly newsletter of the Georges River Bushcare Volunteers (GRBV) will now be available on the OFF website under Newsletters

Tucoerah is the traditional Aboriginal name for the Georges River and it is appropriate to acknowledge the original custodians of the land and waterways in the area.

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Myles Dunphy Flying Fox Camp has grown to over 2000

Bats March 2017Report from our resident Flying Fox watcher Geoff Francis – About 2350 flying-foxes flew out from the camp at Myles Dunphy Reserve on 19 March 2017. This is the largest number roosting in the camp since April 2011.
 
P1010377The camp has spread out from the wetland onto the neighbouring foot slopes. The northeast end of the expanded camp is only about 35 m from the boundary of the proposed development site on the former bowling club and about 85 m from the location of the proposed five storey seniors’ apartments building. There were greater than usual numbers of flying-foxes using the northeast flight path, and many of the flying-foxes came out on the northeast flight path but swung around onto the main north flight path. Thus I was unable to count the numbers for the two flight paths separately. However, at least 200 flying-foxes flew through the airspace where the proposed five storey building would be located.
 paperbark-melaleuca-Melaleuca-quinquenerviaLilly-Pilly-FruitThe flying-foxes are feeding on flowering Melaleuca quinquenervia street trees and some flowering Corymbia gummifera in the Oatley area. They are also feeding on a few (planted) flowering Eucalyptus grandis, and numerous fruiting Lillypillies (Acmena smithii). The flowering of the M. quinquenervia and fruiting of the A. smithii which commenced early last week has significantly increased the available food in the local area, and the increase in flying-fox numbers appears to be a response to this.
 
 On evenings with good visibility I have noticed substantial numbers of flying-foxes from the Kareela camp flying west past Gungah Bay towards Oatley Park, but this evening visibility wasn’t good enough to tell whether this was still occurring.
 
 Report from our resident Flying Fox watcher Geoff Francis (20 march 2017)
 
Flying Foxes important part of an healthy sustainable ecosystem.
 
 

SE Bushland Reserves of Georges River Council

Graham Fry - mangrove boardwalk Poulton Park_20170302Four days of rain preceded the walk on the 2nd of March to explore Bushland reserves in the South East Corner of Georges River Council.  Four people started out, and the weather remained fine. Near Quarry Reserve we entered the northern end of Poulton Park where Oatley Bay Creek was flowing freely into a pool that was a popular swimming hole in the 1930s. The sewer main on the eastern side of the Park had not overflowed, a positive sign that it was not being infiltrated by stormwater.

Brian Dale - orchid Kyle Williams-1As we descended the valley, the transition from shale soils to sandstone was reflected in the trees – fewer figs, cheese trees and blackbutts, more angophoras, peppermints and bloodwoods. Graham pointed out areas formerly occupied by dairies and a quarry, where contractors had carried out bush regeneration. At the southern end of the Park a control burn about six years ago has resulted in extensive regeneration of wattles and heath species. Close to Morshead Drive we visited the mangrove boardwalk opened by Kogarah Council in 2001 with support from OFF and Coastcare.

 

Brian Dale - Kyle Bay at high tide from Kyle Williams Reserve-1Zig-zagging along streets above Kyle Bay, we entered Kyle Williams Reserve at the end of, Wentworth Avenue. The peppermint, bloodwood and blackbutt woodland had undergone a recent ecological burn; a hyacinth orchid was flowering and dark green spear-shaped leaves of bonnet orchids were common in patches. The lower slopes of the reserve were heavily infested by exotic plants but there was evidence of recent work to remove lantana and other weeds. We found an overgrown exit at the southern end and headed to Carss Park to meet up with three more OFF members.

Tim Ball provided a welcome morning tea while Liz quoted from Alan Fairley’s history of OFF, some of the obnoxious actions and words of Kogarah councillors who opposed the protection of Poulton Park’s mangroves in the 1970s.

Carrs Park Sea wallThe walk concluded with an inspection of the seawall constructed from sandstone blocks that Kogarah Council installed in 2016 to enhance the foreshore habitat.

CLICK HERE FOR OFF report on Seawall

A variety of salt-tolerant herbs and shrubs, including samphire, was growing vigorously behind a protective fence; the tide was high so we could not see if marine organisms had settled in the constructed sandstone rock pools facing Kogarah Bay. Georges River Council has just announced it will create another environmentally-friendly seawall at Dover Park West.

Living Rivers -Swimmable Urban Rivers

170227StuartKhanFor our first meeting of 2017, 60 members and guests welcomed Associate Professor Stuart Khan from UNSW School of Civil & Environmental Engineering to the podium. Stuart informed us of the current plan to ‘Make Parramatta River Swimmable Again by 2025’ which has been entrusted to the Parramatta River Catchment Group – an amalgam of River Councils, Sydney Water, Dept of Planning and the EPA.

There are currently swimming baths and beaches along the river that had been used historically (and still are) but, being a working river with a legacy of highly polluting industries along its shores, the quality of the water is dubious. Water testing over the years has revealed many and varied toxins suspended in the water column and, more worryingly, present in high densities in the sediment. Among many dirty industries Union Carbide had a large factory producing chemicals used during the Vietnam War and the resultant dioxins have entered the river and accumulated in the food chain. It is recommended that fish caught west of the Harbour Bridge not to be eaten. Industries generally do not discharge into the river anymore and there are heavy fines for doing so. However, some factories now discharge into the sewer and pay Sydney Water via a licence for the privilege.

Treatment of effluent is carried out at the ocean-end of the sewage carriers and that can prove problematic during a rain event. Stormwater enters the sewer and during heavy rain the overburdened pipes release untreated effluent directly into the creeks and river. In conclusion, swimming in the Parramatta River may well be feasible BUT unless a massive upgrade of the sewerage system is implemented then the current discharges of pollutants into the catchment during rain events will regretfully render the river risky for regular recreational revival.

CLICK HERE FOR A Pdf COPY OF THE SLIDE PRESENTATION

Members were reminded that Oatley Swimming baths have a proud and long history, with the existence of the Oatley Swimming Club at Jewfish Bay Baths since 1927 The society will work to ensure that it remains safe in terms of water quality.

 

Oatley Streams Litter Audit -Two & Half Year Report

IMG_4030The results are in from a litter audit of several urban streams in Oatley conducted by the Oatley Streamwatch Team over the period April 2014 to September 2016.

IMG_0050Audit Locations -

  • MDR Mulga Rd Site A -Myles Dunphy Reserve – Creek from sewer viaduct to 50m upstream (towards Mulga Rd)
  • MDR Kogarah Site B – Myles Dunphy Reserve – Stream flowing into MDR from pipe under the railway line draining the Kogarah side of Oatley.
  • Dairy Creek – a 50m section of the creek from the sewer viaduct to 50m upstream

IMG_4025

Results – The top 14 items collected are shown in Table below

Untitled 1 

Preliminary conclusions and recommendations

IMG_0049The item most collected was foam insulation and packaging (whole and remnants), whilst the second most collected item was plastic film remnants.

IMG_4052The foam insulation becomes a problem in the environment as it breaks up into small pieces, right down to the spherical beads ( 2-4mm diameter). At this size it would be easily ingested by aquatic fauna and birds.

Equally the plastic film remnants tear apart, wrap around vegetation and clog streams, drains and gross pollutant traps. They also become partly buried in stream bed and banks and then may be exposed in the next high flow event. They too present a threat to aquatic fauna and birds as well as vegetation due to its smothering effect.

IMG_4581Nine out of the top 14 items were based on a plastic material in one form or another. The foam (or polystyrene) form is increasingly being used for packaging, particularly around consumer items such as electrical appliances, as it is lightweight and helps to reduce transport costs. However, this material is not readily recycled in the general community as it is not allowed to be put into our yellow recycling bins that are regularly collected.

It is understood however that it is capable of being recycled and large quantities are actually processed by specialist companies. It needs to be made easier for residents to at least drop this material off at a conveniently located central depot. The proposed Georges River Council’s St George Community Recycling Facility to be located at Depot Rd Mortdale would be a good location and it is highly recommended that the capacity for recycling polystyrene foam waste be incorporated in this facility.

P1010385In regard to plastic bags and plastic film remnants community recycling of these materials is just starting to catch up. Plastic resulting from many food packaging situations such as bread, frozen vegetables, etc and newspaper and magazine wraps and a range of other items have recently become able to be dropped off at REDcycle bins located at certain Woolworths and Coles supermarkets.

In this regard it is highly recommended that Georges River Council also consider establishing a drop-off capacity for these types of plastics in the proposed new St George Community Recycling Facility at Mortdale.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL REPORT

HEAR OUR NEXT SPEAKER on 27 February 2017  -  Associate Professor Stuart Khan from UNSW Civil Engineering Faculty talking about the concept of turning urban rivers – like Parramatta River – into swimmable recreation areas by arresting contaminants.  Did you know that Oatley Swimming Club at Jewfish Bay Baths, has a long history and enduring existence of as swimming? It will be interesting  what can tell us to do to ensure that it remains safe in terms of water quality?

Recent Leader article highlights that the River health is slipping.

The recent 2015-16 Georges River Combined Council’s  report card revealed a slight decline in the ecological condition of the catchment.

With the Greater Sydney Commission’s draft region plan for Sydney South projecting 23,000 more homes in the next 40 years outlook for the waterways is unfavourable.