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Friends of the Bannockburn Bush

Let’s show some respect for country.
Our new Prime Minister has challenged us to show more respect for women. This is of course a no-brainer and really should not need to be pointed out.

However, after spending time in the Moorabool catchment recently, I feel that what does need pointing out, is our lack of respect for the environment that we share with others. 

We are very lucky in Victoria to have so many picturesque and pleasant places to visit and spend time with family and friends. The Moorabool River passes through some beautiful country which is habitat for wildlife and an important source of drinking water but some don’t see this aspect. 

They see it as a venue for riding dirtbikes, somewhere to test their new chainsaw (without any instruction or skill) or as a source of alluvial gold and completely ignore all the other values for other ‘users’.

On a recent site visit to Dolly’s Creek, part of the West Branch of the Moorabool River members of PALM, People for a Living Moorabool, pointed out to compliance officers from DEWLP, CCMA and Barwon Water, the severe damage being caused by inconsiderate users. Dirtbike riders had been eroding steep slopes that caused torrents of muddy water to flow into the creek and also rode their bikes along the bed of the river that supplies our drinking water. In other sections, gold prospectors operated sluicing machines in the creek bed or dug holes in the banks without bothering to re-fill them. In some sections 4WD vehicles had also forced their way up the fragile creek bed. Not sure why? It’s an easy walk!

If you know anyone who has been involved with this sort of destructive behaviour, please try and help them to appreciate that it is highly anti-social, destructive behaviour and it’s quite easy for them to enjoy their interests without causing such excessive damage. 

It is not legal to dig or sluice in a declared water catchment or river bed, let alone ride your bike or drive your 4WD along it!

Wildflower walk and bird watching report from Sunday September 20
Our planned wildflower walk diversified into a bird watching walk as well, with Dorine and Frances being keen birdwatchers. The bush was pretty busy with birds and Dorine kindly supplied this list of birds spotted and heard: Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike, White-naped Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, New Holland Honeyeater, Grey Shrike-Thrush male, Red-browed Finch, Wedge-tailed Eagle, White-backed Magpie, Red Wattlebird, Superb Fairy wren male, Grey Fantail and Willie Wagtail. We all had a very pleasant morning and caused no environmental damage.

Replanting Yellow Gums.
Kate, Loris and Stuart have replanted 100 Yellow gums, supplied by BEN, in the NW section of bush that was logged two years ago. The soil is beautiful in this section so they should do very well. 

We have also planted another 20 in the picnic area where some of the existing trees are dying due to root damage (from dirtbikes) and compaction from cars. Please keep out of the eastern section to give this area a chance to recover. The soil here is very hard from years of abuse so we will have to tend these trees carefully over summer to give them a chance.

Coming Events:
Friday October 16 is designated Frankly Day. We like to celebrate the contribution to local conservation made by former Chair of Barwon Water, Frank De Stefano. For those who came in late; Frank brought a defamation case against people in our group over a funny bumper sticker, claiming we had damaged his good name. We settled the case but when Frank later went to jail for embezzling, we reckoned we should get our money back.

Sunday October 25 Working Bee 10 – 3, or whatever the attendees wish to do.

Stuart McCallum,  Friends of Bannockburn Bush