A week after Opossum Creek Bushcare’s first working bee in March, the coronavirus pandemic set in.
The restrictions saw all of Ipswich’s Bushcare and Parkcare sites cease to operate with volunteers unable to do on-ground work.
But June has finally brought relief, with the council program implementing COVID safe plans so these important environmental initiatives can restart and the community can again lend a hand through monthly working bees.
During the hiatus, the Opossum Creek site was fortunate to be able to make some progress thanks to a Federal Government Communities Environment Program grant.
The significant grant funded contractors to remove weeds such as camphor laurel, Chinese celtis and lantana, and install 1000 native plants – with 500 already in the ground.
Volunteer with a Bushcare or Parkcare group
Opossum Creek Bushcare leader David Manning said the work meant that when Bushcare volunteers returned from June there would be plenty for them to do with weeding and watering to maintain the site.
The Brookwater-based group is only nine months old but Mr Manning said he discovered the area they are working to restore had an incredible legacy connected to Ipswich’s great botanist Lloyd Bird.
“We went on a walk through here with (highly regarded naturalist) Martin Bennett and he told us what they did with Lloyd Bird – in the 1990s and early 2000s they did a lot of revegetation work here,” Mr Manning said.
“We saw lovely juvenile trees and big trees that had been planted back then. He couldn’t believe that a lot of it was still here.”
It is a particularly important site, providing one of the last remaining areas of the Woogaroo Scrub dry rainforest.
This rare Ipswich ecosystem provides habitat to many species including the vulnerable Tusked Frog, Richmond Birdwing Butterfly and Powerful Owl.
The first Opossum Creek Bushcare working bee cleared rubbish from the site, much of which had been stranded by floodwater. The volunteers filled seven Clean Up Australia Day bags, including:
- 263 plastic bottles.
- 11 glass bottles
- 5 aluminium cans
- 15 steel spray cans
- 43 balls of assorted sizes
- 1 thong
- 20-litre plastic drum,
- 25 litres of polystyrene pieces
- 2 golf sand-trap rakes
“It’s totally different to anything around, you have rainforest plant species here. You hear whipbirds all the time,” Mr Manning said.
“It’s really quite lovely bushland.”
The fledgling Opossum Creek Bushcare group have started their works close to the public footpath and over time will stretch further along the creek with weed control, planting and maintenance.
“To do the entire area to Woogaroo Creek, which I haven’t even walked the full length yet, it could take 20 years. It’s a long term project. Hopefully we just keep going,” he said.