Rotary park, margaret river




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Management Plan for AMR Shire Reserve 18451 and 18720

Rotary Park”.
Margaret Moir, June 2005.
ROTARY PARK, MARGARET RIVER

balancing social and environmental values. (Written for the Landcare Australia visit, 2004)


Background:

The town site of Margaret River benefits socially and environmentally from its location on such a fine and scenic river valley of the Margaret River, with a great deal of intact and valuable riparian vegetation as well as relatively clean and healthy water quality. Until the 1970s, when urban development began to spill right down to the river's edge, the passing motorist driving across the town bridge would have seen quite an unspoiled river scene, with masses of the local red flowering kangaroo paw (Anigozanthus flavidus “Margaret River Red”) cascading right down the banks of the river. Notably, the river at this section was an ephemeral one, running only in the wet months, roughly from May to December.

Sadly, as so often happens, poor planning and management has ensured the relatively rapid degradation of the river in the town site. Garden plants have turned terrorists, and invaded the bush and river banks, and negligible storm water management has ensured spread of weeds and river sedimentation, pollution and turbidity.

The bush reserve here began to be controlled by the local Rotary Club in the 1970s. Slightly earlier in date, further downstream to the west, the local Apex club also had a dabble at river management and erected a stone weir to dam the water of the Margaret River, keeping it as a permanent pool at this point. Exotic water lilies were planted, and can still be seen in plenty. So short and imperfect are human memories that many locals will swear these are local endemics, and were important bush food for the local aborigines.


Permanent water has changed the dynamics and hydrological regime of the river, increasing the ease of weed spread, providing a refuge for domestic ducks gone feral, and a temptation to adults and children alike to trample the banks to get to the water, whether for marroning or just because they can.
Rehabilitation work:

There are social expectations that Rotary Park will retain its status as a playground and picnic area, as well as the starting point for walkers along the trails that go as far as 10 Mile Brook Dam.

The riverbank restoration has to manage these potential conflicts. In 2004, with funds from the Margaret River Action Plan and Rotary itself, Cape to Cape Catchments Group commenced restoration activities.

Firstly, a fence was erected to mark out the rehabilitation area, which is right on the banks, and attempt to keep people from trampling there.

Coir logs and sandbags were placed around the walk bridge by GreenCorps, where considerable erosion was taking place. Sedges and some shrubs were planted into clean sand fill. A small area was planted out on the upper bank, and several hand-weeding sessions have taken place, pulling out canary broom and Sparaxis. A large area of blackberry was sprayed out in the previous summer, and will need ongoing treatment. Numerous Pittosporum undulatum were cut and removed, and the stumps wiped with herbicide.
The Future:

The work will need to be tackled and progressed very strategically and sensitively, both to the pace of the natural regeneration and the pace of the community!

It is envisaged that as the area is a site of text book garden-escapee weed invasion, with somewhere in excess of 30 different species in the general area (most of which are still grown in gardens around the site) that it will be an excellent demonstration site for community education and engagement as well as weed control, and there will be an emphasis on interpretive signage in this very public and accessible park.
2004 -
Vesting:

AMRSC, 18451 Parks and Recreation. 18720 Foreshore Protection.


Landuse.

Public park and recreation, Foreshore protection. (See maps)

Urban land adjoins with frontage to a major highway. CALM National Park to the north and east (Bramley National Park)

Designated wildlife corridor in draft AMRSC Biodiversity Conservation Strategy


Geomorphology

Consists of Willyabrup valley system soils, Cowaramup system in the northern section.




Vegetation

Within the Warren bio-region, comprising karri forest and associated riparian systems.

Complexes: Willyabrup , W1 and Ww2. (Willyabrup (W1) Defined as tall open forest of Eucalyptus diversicolor-Corymbia calophylla-Allocasuarina decussata-Agonis flexuosa on deeply incised valleys in the hyperhumid zone. Willyabrup (Ww2) - Tall open forest of Corymbia calophylla-Agonis flexuosa on flats and valleys in perhumid and humid zones.)
In this case, the dominant is Eucalyptus diversicolor-Corymbia calophylla forest with Banksia grandis, Agonis flexuosa and Callistachys lanceolata in the valleys. Rare flora nearby, but not in the location presently, are Jansonia formosa and Tyrbastes glaucescens.
Condition.

Varies from B2 to A3. (See Margaret River Action Plan). Regeneration on the foreshore (undertaken 2004) is taking place and areas under work have improved from B2 to B1 within the scope of this plan. Permanent hydrological change has taken place due to the construction of the 3 weirs, thus retaining permanent water at the site. A footbridge construction has altered the banks, and retaining walls (not at the water mark) have been constructed. There is a major traffic bridge at the western end of the site, and a very large septic treatment sump at the northern end approx 150m from the river, as well as the old septic treatment site which is severely weed infested, approx. 70m from the river.


Major plant species present at working site.
Trees and shrubs

Acacia urophylla

Agonis flexuosa

Anigozanthus flavidus (local red form)

Callistachys lanceloata

Corymbia calophylla

Eucalyptus diversicolor

Hovea elliptica

Microlaena stipoides

Mirbelia dilatata

Trymalium floribundum subsp. trifidum
Sedges and grasses

Baumea vaginalis

Lepidosperma effusum

“ tetraquetrum

Juncus pallidus

Juncus pauciflorus

Meeboldina scariosa
Native to region but introduced to the location

Templetonia retusa

Muehlenbeckia adpressa
Weeds

*Asparagus asparagoides (bridal creeper)

*Genista sp. (hybrids of monspessulana, canariensis and linifolia present in region) (broom)

*Gladiolus undulates (wavy gladiolus)

Hypericum perfoliatum (St John’s wort) DP.

*Pittosporum undulatum

*Sparaxis spp.

*Plantago lanceolata (plantain)

*Vinca major (blue periwinkle)

*Prunus spp. (plum and peach)

Rubus spp. (blackberry)
Elsewhere in the park:

*Dipogon lignosus (dolichos pea)

*Oxalis spp.

*Polygala myrtifolia

*Watsonia spp.

*Cotoneaster spp.

*Eastern states Eucalypt spp.



*Lonicera spp. (honeysuckle)

*Eragrostis curvula (lovegrass)

Kikuyu


L
epidosperma effusum
, whole plant above and inflorescence close-up, below.



Above, fencing June 2005.

A

bove, Viminaria juncea

Above right, E. diversicolor seedling.





Above: left - L. tetraquetrum; centre – Hovea elliptica; right – Trymalium floribundum






Above left – Acacia urophylla; right – Microlaena stipoides





Above left – Sparaxis sp.; right – Genista sp.


Fauna

Mammals


Because the area is a popular dog exercise area as well as having very high visitation rates, the mammal fauna is notably absent. During the Marsupial Night Stalk conducted by CALM in 2004 no species were detected. Brushtail possums and quendas are described by residents in adjacent locations, but no diggings or scats have been observed.

Birds


Common duck and waterfowl species frequent the area – black ducks, mountain ducks, purple swamp hens as well as feral and domestic ducks. In spite of prohibitory signs, people feed the ducks and marron. Woodland and forest birds of numerous species exist in the less public sections and white tailed and red tailed black cockatoos utilise the trees.

Aquatics


Marron populations fluctuate but are occasionally abundant. No turtles or mussels have been observed, and little evidence of frogs. Midges and mosquitoes are abundant, most likely related to the poor water quality.
Water quality

While not suffering from salinity, water is poor at this location, suffering from extreme turbidity from storm water runoff, altered hydrological regimes from the erection of weirs and the bridge and nutrient loads from urban waste and septics, including the large septic system from the toilets at the park itself.


Challenges


  1. Managing human impact through high visitation pressure and vandalism.

  2. Altered hydrological regimes permanently changing the vegetation and riverbank.

  3. Infrastructures, such as the bridge, walk trails, picnic tables.

  4. Disturbance and elevated soil nutrients have produced severe weed problems.

  5. Urbanisation of surrounding area, with impacts from garden weeds, domestic animals, roads, urban drainage.

  6. Erosion where people are accessing the banks.

  7. Feeding the ducks and waterfowl has resulted in artificially high populations of these animals, degrading banks and destroying revegetation.


Management


  1. Fence off the sections being restored to go some way to preventing access and vandalism continuing to degrade the banks.




  • In 2004 the first section of fencing was completed by Rotary volunteers, with approx 30m of fence erected from the footbridge west.

  • In 2005 a contractor was engaged to repair and strengthen this fence, and extend it east for 70m, including providing two padlocked access gates, and further west by approx 10m, including tow access gates. This will enable the sedges and rushes to be replanted into this section where trampling destroyed them in 2004, and hopefully keep people off them until they have been able to establish. Extending the fence 70m east will mean the banks are fenced through to the well-vegetated National Park section. The contractor, Bill Atherton from Regional Fencing Contractors, carried out the work free of charge, billing only for materials at a cost of $1045. This was a saving of approximately $1000 on labour.

This should complete necessary fencing.


  1. Weed control and management.




    • In 2004 a small area was spot sprayed by the CCG, and a considerable number of pittosporums were cut, poisoned and manually removed by GreenCorps, the Shire and Rotary.

    • The whole area was manually weeded of Genista, plantain and sparaxis, then the area was heavily brushed to exclude light from the ground. Manual weeding has continued at monthly intervals by the project officer.

    • Mulch, provided from mowing on the grassed areas (the grass is largely Microlaena) has been spread.

This is the issue that will need the most ongoing maintenance. A weed management table for the site is provided in the appendix.





  1. Erosion control




  • In 2004, enviro-logs and sand bags were established on the eroding sections of bank under the bridge and where heavy access has taken place destroying fringing vegetation. No further erosion management seems necessary at this time.


  1. Revegetation




  • A small amount of planting took place in 2004, the most important section was into the sandbags and envirologs. This section has been very unsuccessful, largely due to the inappropriate species selected (Juncus kraussii), as well as to problems with access. These will be replanted in 2005 with Juncus pallidus, Meeboldina scariosa and Taxandria parviceps.

  • A small number of other species have been ordered to bulk up the planting into the brushing, Hakea varia and Acacia extensa.

Very limited replanting should be necessary, direct seeding into brushing and gradual weed removal should see the area regenerate satisfactorily without introducing new plants, once the foreshore planting is established.





  1. Mulching and brushing




  • In 2005 brushing with Taxandria and Corymbia calophylla removed from fencelines on a Margaret River-front property was carried out with the help of GreenCorps. In the areas where this hasn’t been vandalised this has been most successful in suppressing weed growth, discouraging access and keeping ducks from pulling out the plants.

  • Mulch has been spread as it has become available from slashing and mowing adjacent areas.

It is desirable for brushing to be continued and mulching where available. It can be difficult to obtain the brushing material, and it is bulky and time consuming, but the positives can be spectacular in such a high usage site.




  1. Signage

The need for interpretive signage is apparent, to explain to the community what is going on behind the fence and discourage feeding of the ducks.

Photos below:
August 2004




Photos below: Commencement of second project: September 2004


Below photos, January 2005



Below, May 2005, showing the July 2004 planting of rushes has died.



APPENDIX.
WEED MANAGEMENT TABLE


Month

Weed

Action

Weed

Action

January

Genista

Manual removal







February

Genista

Manual removal







March

Genista

As above

Pittosporum and woody weeds

Cut and poison.

A. Paint 50% glyphosate on immediately after cutting; or drill or notch 5cm deep holes at 10cm intervals around trunk and pour neat glyphosate.

April

Genista

As above

Vinca

B. Spray, Weedmaster Duo ®, small area at a time, follow up with brushing. Alternative spray, 10% glyphosate plus 10% Pulse ®. Will always need repeat spray.

May

Pittosporum

Cut and poison Method A.

Vinca

As above Method B.

June

Pittosporum, other woody weeds

As above







July

Sparaxis

Manual removal, or wipe with glyphosate 50% (Method C); or spray with Dalapon ® plus wetter.

Genista

Manual removal

August

Spread bridal creeper rust

manually

As above

As above

September

Genista

As above

Vinca

Method B.

October

Wavy gladioli

DO NOT REMOVE MANUALLY. Method C. Wipe one leaf blade with glyphosate 50%

Vinca

St John’s wort.



Method B

Should respond to manual removal. (presently sml infestation)



November

Wavy gladioli

Method C.

Vinca

Method B

December

blackberry

Spray with Garlon ® at recommended rate. (also possible to cut and paint with triclopyr or glyphosate 50%)






*NB. Blackberry spraying along the Shire reserves is the Ag Dept responsibility. They will need to be reminded and updated.


Method A: Paint 50% glyphosate on stump immediately after cutting (within 30 seconds); or drill or notch (with chisel or hatchet) 5cm deep holes at 10cm intervals around trunk and pour neat glyphosate. Tree can be left to rot if by latter method.
Method B: Spray Weedmaster Duo ®, small area at a time, follow up with brushing or mulch. Alternative spray, 10% glyphosate plus 10% Pulse ®. Will always need repeat spray.
Method C: Wipe one leaf blade with glyphosate 50% (1 part to 2 parts water)






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