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ourimbah creek
30 Oct 2008
Description

In 2003 the Australian Government gave the group more than $27,000 to start work, and in 2006 provided a further $45,000 to continue their efforts.

With further financial assistance from the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority, Wyong Shire Council and industry funding through Landcare Australia, the volunteers have devoted two mornings each week for the past six years to replanting and weeding the rainforest.

As Brian Patterson, the Landcare Conservation Officer said,"By 2000 the original trees were coming to the end of their life. That prompted us to get permission from the two owners, the Roads and Traffic Authority and Wyong Council to work on them,"

Volunteers planted wattles to shelter the seedlings from frost and heat waves, and their work has paid off, with the area transforming from 90 per cent open land to 60 per cent of dense forested canopy.

"The project has benefited from an enormous amount of outside help, including expert advice on frog identification and on mapping using aerial photographs. Nature is now starting to take over.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ With the help of a few dedicated volunteers a small strip of subtropical rainforest along Ourimbah Creek is regaining its territory.

Palm Grove/Ourimbah Creek Landcare through the Central Coast Community Environment Network has been working to restore a 26-hectare stretch of fertile floodplain back to health.

Funding In 2003 the Australian Government gave the group more than $27,000 to start work, and in 2006 provided a further $45,000 to continue their efforts.

With further financial assistance from the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority, Wyong Shire Council and industry funding through Landcare Australia, the volunteers have devoted two mornings each week for the past six years to replanting and weeding the rainforest.

Activities Much of the area had been cleared for agriculture and then about 30 years ago, a freeway was built. Grazing continued the damage, but a few remnants of rainforest survived through it all, and the volunteers didn't want to witness their disappearance too.

"By 2000 the original trees were coming to the end of their life. That prompted us to get permission from the two owners, the Roads and Traffic Authority and Wyong Council to work on regenerating them," Landcare Conservation Officer, Brian Patterson, said.

"The original rainforest was described in 1834 by Sarah Mathew, who travelled through it with an Aboriginal guide," Brian said. "Sarah noted giant trees, vines and palms, the environment that had provided plant and animal foods for its Aboriginal inhabitants for thousands of years. That's a heritage worth preserving.

"We began by searching out seedlings from the remaining native trees and did some serious weeding to prevent the saplings being smothered by privet and camphor laurel."

Achievements Volunteers planted wattles to shelter the seedlings from frost and heat waves, and their work has paid off, with the area transforming from 90 per cent open land to 60 per cent of dense forested canopy.

"Each year we record more birds, more trees growing through the wattles and wombats expanding their burrows to the floodplain," Brian said.

"The project has benefited from an enormous amount of outside help, including expert advice on frog identification and on mapping using aerial photographs. Nature is now starting to take over.

"The way we see it the more native plants we have, the more native animals return. They spread seeds in their droppings and make more plants. This makes the rainforest more resilient, and so it should need less help from us."

More information Brian Patterson, Conservation Officer, Palm Grove/Ourimbah Creek Landcare Inc: (02) 4362 1968 or epat5116@bigpond.net.au

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