Celebrating the new Yass Landcare Nursery hot house

Yass Landcare volunteers have completed building work on their self-funded hot house. It may have taken some time but the hot house should now allow the team to sow and grow on cuttings, over the harsh Yass winter.
As a celebration we sowed a lot of native daisies in July and hope that they will be available for a Spring planting.
The Yass Landcare nursery volunteers will be hosting a series of free native plant workshops from September so await more details in the monthly YAN newsletter.

Yass Landcare Bushfire Readiness Forum

Yass Landcare Group held its first Bushfire Readiness Forum on World Environment Day - 5th June 2022.

The Yass Valley Council recently reassessed its bushfire plan mapping and saw its bushfire plan map rise from 30% to 90%. Thus even though the Yass region wasn't subject to fires during the 2019-20 events, this region may not be so lucky in the future.  

The forum consisted of speakers from Manton Rural Fire Brigade, Jeff Dau a Bushfire practitioner, Wally Bell from the Ngunawal Aboriginal Corporation and Alison Elvin President of Yass Landcare. Each guest speaker had several key messages to share.

Eric Gruber, the Manton Rural Fire Brigade leader, stated that when fighting a running fire it is vital to access property. Thus having a gate and gaps in tree lane plantings which would allow fire trucks through, are vital to ensure quick access to enable property protection. Thus gates in fence lines and gaps in tree lanes should be seriously considered in future plantings. Alison Elvin also suggested that an alternative to 20-30m wide tree lanes is to have small clusters of Eucalyptus with understory plantings and possibly plant the corners of a paddock as an alternative to tree lane.

The Bushfire practitioner Jeff Dau spoke about the need to address a number of items when preparing for the bushfire season. That include the asset protection zone immediately around the house; landscape, access, construction materials of the house etc, utilities that need to operate when the power fails, and your emergency management plan knowing when to leave and the route to take for a safe exit from your property.

Wally Bell spoke about the attributes of cool burns conducted under the direction of Aboriginal fire management experts. Preparation before the burn is most important, the fire must be cool so as to regenerate dormant grasses and to activate dormant seed in the ground. The cool burn must be able to be manageable by one person and burnt in mosaic patterns which in spring will encourage the growth on fresh green grass (which is attractive to kangaroos).

Alison Elvin had several tables of plants of various flammability values. She also provided some detailed resources entitled Reducing Bushfire threat with sensible Garden design.

The Yass Landcare Group is part of the YAN and has an active team of Landcare nursery volunteers who are growing regional plants from the Box Gum Grassy Woodland plant community. Their plant list will progressively increase to include plants with low flammability values to ensure that we are assisting local landholders to prepare for the inventible.





Salinity profile for the Yass River catchment

YAN recently won a contract to undertake water quality testing which will contribute towards developing a salinity profile for the Yass River catchment. Throughout this project we are working under the direction of Andrew Woolridge from NSW Department of Planning and Environment.
This week's water samples were collected from the following waterways: Derringullen, Bowning, Washpen, Woolgaro, Limestone, Gallop, Bango, Mantons, Murrumbateman, Dicks and Hickeys Creeks. These waterways cross Black Range Road several times, move through Bowning, Bango, Manton and Murrumbateman localities.
Our water collection officer Debra Butt either had an easy task of collecting a water sample from water flowing over the roadway or she had the other extreme of having to navigate densely vegetated creek banks to collect that important water sample.
The above, small but important waterways reflect the level of salinity in the landscape and regular monitoring will enable specialist staff from DPE to develop future management strategies to either maintain or reduce salinity across the Yass Valley.

Key’s Matchstick Grasshopper found in Murrumbateman

A rare and unusual grasshopper has been found on a crown reserve known locally as the Murrumbateman Village Grassy Woodland that is being managed for environmental protection by Murrumbateman Landcare Group.

Keyacris scurra is the scientific name for Key’s Matchstick Grasshopper – a species listed as endangered under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.  Professor Michael Kearney (Uni of Melbourne) visited Murrumbateman last weekend and found groups of the rare grasshopper on the reserve.

Key’s matchstick grasshopper is a small insect with a distinctly elongated body shape and no wings. They are mostly brown in colour but may also be green. Length for males is up to 15mm and females up to 25mm. The grasshopper has an annual lifespan hatching in mid-summer, mature by autumn to mate in early spring before laying eggs in the ground and dying off in late spring.

Natural grasslands and grassy woodlands are the preferred habitat. Most of these ecosystems have been lost since European settlement in Australia and these fragmented and scattered habitats have contributed to the decline of this species.

The Murrumbateman reserve is a critically endangered ecological community a remnant of Box Gum Grassy Woodland containing native grasses where the grasshoppers live and shelter and favourite native food sources - the Common Everlasting Daisy Chrysocephalum apiculatum and Sheep’s burr Acaena ovina. 

Further information can be found at these links: rESPD.pdf


Thanks to Anneliese Caston for contributing this blog.



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