Minnamurra Rainforest Walk

A simply beautiful day was spent in the calm ambience of the Minnamurra Rainforest on Sunday 30th October. Sixteen expectant walkers gathered at the Visitors Centre of the Budderoo National Park ready to face the climb up to the Falls. Because of trackwork the walk was in two parts: the steep walk to the waterfall followed by the lovely Minnamurra River walk.

The first part of the walk was a challenge made esasier by the regular path and rewarded by views of the deep chasm and distant views of the higher falls. After rain the water flow gushed down into the deep canyon. The bush was damp and fertile and the birdlife kept us company.

We returned to the picnic area near the Visitors Centre for lunch then set out on the shorter walk along the river.

The walk was glorious with added excitement provided by the two suspension bridges. The views up and down the waterways and down into the deep limpid pools were memorable.

And there were monsters too – a monster strangler fig and two delightful dragons on rocks by the water (somewhat smaller in size).  Along the walk there were information signs to help us understand our surroundings.

All in all it was a top day with the drive down the coast being no obstacle to our fun.

Report by walk leader Julian Sheen       CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM

Lions Festival 2016

img_0974This year’s festival was superb, sunny with a light breeze, and well attended. OFF’s stand, was adjacent to the Bush Care and Oatley Heritage sites, and we all benefited from the locations with the public going to each of our stalls. img_1045

OFF had a good range of materials, both free and for sale. Our Oatley Park brochures were popular, particularly the bird brochure, and Shaun Keys-Burn produced a nice set of greeting cards using the brilliant photos of Peter Mercer. These sold well and raised over $100.

img_0972We had a good range of plants for sale, courtesy of the East Hills Aust Plant Society and Menai Wildflower Group. We sold about 75% of the stock and were very happy to share the proceeds with the suppliers.

img_1037 This is OFF’s best opportunity for public exposure. We benefited by gaining 5 new memberships on the day, and distributing many membership packages. It was a good day; many thanks to the volunteer staff, and to those who arranged our stall

Capertee National Park Field Trip

capertee-crossingFifteen OFF members and friends enjoyed our annual weekend field trip on 24 & 25th September to Capertee National Park. Heavy rain overnight presented the visitors to the national park with a swollen river crossing. It was a challenge to smaller cars, but all crossed it.

dscn8713The highlight was seeing gorgeous gold and black Regent Honeyeaters at close quarters. It was a fitting reward for those who had made artificial nests for a predation experiment run by ANU postgraduate student Ross Crates. One night Ross showed photos of predators, including Brush-tailed Possums, Sugar Gliders and Grey Shrike-thrushes, that had raided the artificial nests.

capertee-np-24-26_09_2016-042There were ambles along trails through different habitats that offered plentiful subjects for the photographers in the group. On the upland Airstrip Trail four different orchids were flowering and there was a sweeping vista of distant peaks that included Mt Marsden and Tayan Peak in Wollemi NP. By contrast the shaded grassy banks of crystal clear Ullumbra Creek sheltered maidenhair ferns and native violets, and supported massive river sheoaks on which fine-leafed mistletoes were flowering.

 

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walarooDriving back to the homestead after a late afternoon visit to the Valley Lookout, we were treated to a magnificent rainbow and encountered Wallaroos and Common Wombats venturing onto the river flats for their evening meal. Recent rains had put a fresh in the Capertee River and encouraged a chorus of frogs and crickets at night.

Many thanks to Deb Andrew who shared her intimate knowledge of the park and its rich flora and fauna.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM

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What Next for Oatley Bowling Club Site?

p1000594It is disappointing that the Georges River Council is pursuing action to alienate public land.

A development application to consolidate the lots at the former Oatley Bowling Club (OBC) site was approved (9/9/16) by the Independent Hearing Assessment Panel (IHAP). Whilst this DA does not include any construction and operational works, community members addressing the panel stated that it is integral to the rezoning planning proposal submitted in conjunction with this DA. 

p1000351Despite the consolidation, the OBC site is STILL in Myles Dunphy Reserve, given the following statements in the IHAP report…. ” The lots will remain in one ownership and still form part of the public reserve and community land. ” See Friends of Oatley Website for more on the campaign to keep public land public

In September 2010 the former Hurstville Council decided to rezone the former Oatley Bowling Club site in Myles Dunphy Reserve from Open Space to Residential. Georges River Council is now proposing to rezone the site to SP2 Infrastructure (Seniors housing) as per 2014 council resolutions.  There are no height limits in SP2 zones whereas residential zones are limited to three (3) storeys. Documents from two closed door meetings in 2014 have been finally made public (3/8/16). It appears council resolved to build more than 80 seniors residences including tower potentially up to 9 storeys  for it to be financially viable. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

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p1000362A Planning Proposal Should be in the next few months – This should include traffic and access, contamination, train noise and vibration, hydraulic services, as well as bushfire, ecological and planning studies.

As part of this stage there will be opportunities for the community to provide their feedback to Council via community information sessions.

 

The community can to keep up to date on this issue

pop-up-picinic-group-21-aug-2016by following Friends of Oatley website ; and Facebook sites  Myles Dunphy Reserve ;

Myles Dunphy Reserve Backyard ;

Oatley and Surrounds

Georges River Councilmail@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au
State Member Mark CoureOatley@parliament.nsw.gov.au
Federal Member David Coleman  - david.coleman.mp@aph.gov.au
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bird on the Brink – Regent Honeyeater

P1000348Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society (OFF) volunteers have been helping ANU PhD candidate Ross Crates with his research into the ecology of the Regent Honeyeater, one of the most endangered birds in the country.Capertee NP Regent HE  12-18_10_2015 174There may be as few as 600 individuals remaining in the wild. 

25 Flora and Fauna Society members and friends helped to make 80 Regent Honeyeater and Friar Bird nests over a two week period in August. Ross will use these artificial nests (with false eggs) in Capertee National Park to ascertain which birds and mammals predate on the Regent Honeyeater eggs and young. The nests are now in place with cameras to track predators.

P1000286Ross’s research is aiming to identify the major threats to the survival of the Regent Honeyeater in its woodland habitats. Reducing threats such as nest predation and loss of woodland habitat can contribute to the Regent Honeyeater’s long term survival in the wild.

 This work follows on from his fieldwork into their habitat when he used motion sensor cameras, including one donated by Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society. Ross will present his findings at one of OFF’s regular monthly talks in 2017.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM

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New proposed legislation threat to Biodiversity

The NSW Government has drafted legislation that will weaken protection for biodiversity in our state. The titles of the legislation – Biodiversity Conservation Bill and Local Land Services Amendment Bill are misleading and obscure their true purpose.

The bills will actually allow increased damage to the natural environment through less-regulated land-clearing. The bills will remove a legal requirement that  land clearing should “maintain or improve” biodiversity and will facilitate widespread destruction of native vegetation in both country and urban areas. Nature will pay the bill for this ill-conceived legislation.

In 2014 the 10/50 Clearing Code of Practice was introduced to allow residents to remove vegetation to protect their homes from bushfires. It was so widely abused by landholders clearing vegetation for other purposes that the code had to be modified only two months later. Government data shows the state’s farmers have lopped paddock trees at an accelerating rate in the past 18 months even before a new land-clearing law eases controls further.

One of the key changes in the draft bills is the expansion of the use of self-assesable codes – these will allow land-holders to clear trees more freely, with less supervision. Often these paddock trees will include old trees with hollows that provide shelter and nest sites essential to birds such as owls and parrots, and many other animals. They are nature’s boarding houses. “The Offset” plantings proposed in the bills won’t provide hollows for many, many years.

Our Society does not want to see another vegetation-clearing fiasco in our leafy neighbourhood, or in the rest of the state. We have taken a symbolic slice of wood (salvaged from a tree removed under the 10/50 Code) to Oatley MP Mark Coure’s office to express our concern. Written on the wood (pictured) was the message. “We ask that you urgently withdraw the draft  NSW Biodiversity legislation & act to ensure strong laws to protect our wildlife, amenity, soils & climate. Gymea Biodiversity Review Community”

Concerned residents throughout Sydney have been have been contacting their local Members of Parliament. OFF members also attended attended a protest on 24 June outside Premier Mike Baird’s office in Manly.

For more information, sign petition or help to make submission see Stand Up For Nature Website Submissions are due 28 June 2016.

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Longwall Coal Mining is Jeopardising Water Supply

cordeaux 239 people participated on our Picnic at Cordeaux dam on 1/5/16 to protest about environmentally damaging longwall coal mining projects in the Metropolitan Drinking Water catchments.  Most of those were members of Oatley Flora and Fauna who sponsored the day, but there were also  some present from The Georges River Environmental Alliance and National Parks Assn, Macarthur.

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Our particular focus was to oppose the proposal to extend the Dendrobium mining operations in the Cordeaux and Avon Dam catchments, as that was our location for the day. This project has done the most harm yet seen in terms of both draining  precious water yielding swamps and tributary streams, and yet the state government is on the verge of a further approval.

Attached is a report that some participants urged me to compile. It summarizes the current dam threatening proposals; The Metropolitan Mine in the Woronora, The Russell Vale Project in the Cataract as well as the aforementioned Dendrobium project. Included is some scathing evidence against the continuation of damaging longwall coal mining beneath our precious drinking water assets, from the governments’ own agencies and instrumentalities including the NSW Dam Safety Committee, the PAC Commission of Inquiry and Water NSW. It is therefore not surprising, that some of the comments included from participants on the fieldtrip, reveal a level of incredulity, appalling surprise,  that our state government not only permits, but even encourages coal mining that threatens drinking water supplies, and that it applies a third world standard of environmental regulation, in what is  supposedly our first world country. Apart from objecting to the appalling damage that is occurring, a discussion of the financial fragility of some of the proponents, and their poor record in terms of ethical governance added extra concerns.

Report by Picnic organiser Sharyn Cullis (1May 2016)

Please take the time to read paper by Sharyn Cullis which details why coal projects in drinking water catchments is wrong. 

Coal projects in the drinking water catchments 

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Committee member Matt Allison wins Banks Volunteer Award

Congratulations to Matt Allison  who was presented with a Banks Volunteer of Award on 6 April . The event was organised by member for Banks David Coleman with presentations made by special guest Julie Bishop MP at Club Rivers .

Matt Allison is passionate about caring for the natural environment and has contributed much to our organisation. He has been a member of the committee of OFF for 15 years and for the past six years, our Program and Publicity Officer. That role includes finding 10 speakers for our monthly meetings, up to a year in advance, and liaising with them to produce publicity and ensure the program is delivered smoothly. Matt’s selection of top-class speakers has ensured high attendances at our meetings and generated interest in, and understanding of, a wide range of natural history and conservation topics.

Matt has also provided expert advice to OFF on bush regeneration and, despite the demands of running a full-time business, contributes many hours of voluntary work to our projects, cheerfully and willingly. With another committee member, he has been instrumental in re-activating the Bushcare program in Oatley Park.

Planning Workshop

OFF Planning Meeting Sm
All members are encouraged to attend this important meeting to discuss future directions of the society in 5 key areas:
- Marketing, promotion & communication
- Activities, field days & meetings
- Projects, grants & Lobbying
- Membership & recruitment
- Finances
 
**** The meeting will be followed by Afternoon Tea *****
PLEASE RSVP SECRETARY ON 9580 6621 OR off@oatleypark.com
 

Clean-up Australia Day 2016

On Sunday 6th March, 40 people registered at Jinna Reserve South Peakhurst for the OFF Clean-up activity. Numbers from the Society were boosted by a contingent from Mortdale Girl Guides and their parents, plus some individuals who had seen our notices around the suburb.IMG_3194

Some OFF members took their canoes out onto Lime Kiln Bay to get access to what was lurking in
the mangroves, the rest picked their way around the muddy foreshores of the bay on both the
Peakhurst and Oatley Park side of the inlet.

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IMG_3173Total rubbish collected was 36 bags, nearly half of it plastic bottles; also 9 car tyres, PVC piping and metal objects. This was an outstanding result,although real success should be measures by the absence of any rubbish in our bushland and waterways. We thank all those who gave up their morning to contribute to this community event.

Report by  Clean up Site Coordinator – Alan Fairley
 

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM