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2nd Creek Crawl - Sunday, 22 April 2007

Good amenity, good connections

In our second Creek Crawl we explored from the Bridge Crossing over Ithaca Creek at Simpsons Road near Bardon State School down almost to Coopers Camp Road.

The main characteristics of this area were the magnificent, large, old Waterhouseas which have created some excellent canopy, albeit a little thinned by the drought.

Excellent access to much of this section increases its amenity value, and proximity to the Quail Trail (Mt Coot-tha) gives it a key connection to important remnant bushland.

The one thing that struck all of us with some force was the lack of water. We have never seen the creek so dry. Pools that in normal circumstances would have been considered permanent have dried up. In some cases this newly revealed ground was covered with hundreds of Ruellia seedlings.

Needs work, but would respond well

Great potential

Many areas we walked in this section we rated 4 out of 5, as they would require only a small amount of hand weeding - it would need to be thorough, but it is not difficult.

Some other (smaller) areas were very bad, especially one section just upstream from Bowman park where Sisal, Cats Claw and other bad weeds had entirely taken over.

On the whole though, the condition of this section was pretty good. It did not have the impending Luecaena catastrophe or the Pithecoctenium disaster of the section immediately upstream.

In some places (especially near the Quail trail) diversity was good.

Old Waterhouseas

Building and improving on good works

Some older plantings need to be rescued and rationalised, especially where there is no layering of understorey (on the one hand) or emergent giants (on the other). More naturally local species need to be introduced and some plants from further afield (like the coastal Hibiscus) should be discouraged. In some places the high creekbanks have good coverage, but the stream bed itself has been let go.

In areas where there has been inundation we were seeing a great number of new or worsening weeds (Alexander Palm, Shrimp Plant, Hibiscus mutabilis, Indian Beech, Umbrella Tree, Ruellia, Ipomoea alba).

In areas of bad erosion we were seeing the typical Cane Grass, Chinese Elms, Mulberries and Camphors.

Some significant plantings (some very recent) are doing well.

As we moved towards the city we naturally encountered more garden escapes and fewer of the rarer native plants which require complex, mature ecosystems to appear.

In one section of Bowman Park we came across a grove of Stinging Trees, luckily not the more extreme of the two local species. An interesting experiment nevertheless!

To sum up - a great opportunity for some rescue weeding events.

Rocky creek bed with inviting shade