The council approached Naturelinks to help resolve issues raised by local residents about a drain system connected to an area of a highly used park. In large rain events, runoff flows through the drain and disperses through the area creating an unsightly and muddy area.
Naturelinks’ aim for the project was to cater for the following needs.
Whist the area was dry we eliminated weeds then fenced the area off. We wanted the site to be reflective of many natural wetland systems throughout SE Australia. The target vegetation type was Ephemeral Wetland which is wet through winter and dryer through summer. We planted specific native species that suit this vegetation type. The majority of these were planted through summer, and a large amount of infill planting was performed since then to take advantage of changes in climatic conditions required for each species.
The habitat provided a healthy population of mosquito larvae predating species, such as: Dragonfly Larvae, Damselfly Larvae and May fly Larvae. This has proven to significantly reduce the number of mosquitos within the reserve.
The site has also had several faunal visitors and residents to the wetland in recent times, including spotted grass frogs, Wood Ducks, Egrets, Nankeen Night Herons and Chesnutt Teals.
Naturelinks were given the responsibility to restore a large hydrocarbon contaminated sandy soil site. The soil was so contaminated that the ecological system was under threat.
Our challenge was to rehabilitate the site by determining the most appropriate soil and plant species to restore the area.
Our knowledgeable team worked in conjunction with Enviropacific to undertake growing tests with treated soils to determine the best soil and plant species for the site. All plant species were chosen based on ecological factors and ecosystem requirements to achieve the best outcomes.
During the planting phase, each individual plants location and species was mapped through our GIS mapping system.
A 12 month plan was established to control the weeds and promote the ongoing success of the revegetation process.
Due to the site being under high security, our professional staff were required to work under the supervision of a client representative at all times as well as being escorted on and off site at the beginning and end of each day.
1 year on this highly disturbed area is now flourishing with flora and fauna as a high quality ecological site resembling an intact EVC. We provided the customer with an in-depth map of all planted species and locations for future reference and planning.
The project is now complete with all goals and outcomes reached.
Naturelinks was contracted to restore the damaged and destroyed ecosystems and habitats to the area located adjacent to a large hospital extension in Langwarrin.
These works had to be performed concurrently with the construction, requiring Naturelinks to work closely with many of the construction contractors, project managers, council representatives and ecologists to protect the native vegetation on-site, while ensuring the works ran smoothly.
To ensure the project ran efficiently, we were required to schedule our works in line with the construction companies. This needed meticulous organisation and planning with many stakeholders. We managed this with regular scheduling meetings and careful project management
Naturelinks developed a management plan for this project to run over the course of 3 years. A number of large Pines needed to be removed and this was done with minimal impact to the damp sand herb rich woodland – an added environmental benefit was that the pine trees were salvaged for milling as timber.
Recruitment of native vegetation is well underway – Sword sedge, Wild Parsnip, Common everlasting, Blackwood and other indigenous vegetation are naturally regenerating – the aim of any revegetation project. This is supplemented by strategic revegetation of mid and over-storey species.
The Malcolm Creek native grassland reserve in the City of Hume was under critical threat with over 70% weed cover and high wildfire risk.
Naturelinks, in consultation with council staff formulated an effective and efficient strategy for bringing the weed threat under control to protect the native species. We performed a prescribed burn on the grassland in 2013. This was followed with an intensive six month weed management program and eight strategically timed weed control visits per year using a variety of weed eradication approaches.
The grassland has less than 10% weed cover, with a large array of native grasses and lilies populating the area. Minimal maintenance is required.
Sections of a quarry were reaching its terminal phase and our client required the site to be revegetated in accordance with the Offset Management Plan to create the correct EVC for the area.
There were many stages involved in the project including biomass control, herbicide application, hydro seeding, and installation of flora.
Site meetings were organised with quarry management and plans drawn up to determine the correct abundance and distribution of plant species. Suppliers and contractors were organised for the various stages of the project and staff were inducted in all aspects of safety at the quarry.
Weed control was conducted by manual reduction of biomass and by using selective herbicide to supress a wide range of species. Hydro seeding a mixture of native grass and sterile rye stabilised the embankments minimising erosion and dust in the quarry area.
The planting, staking and guarding of the over storey (2500 plants) and under storey (20,000 plants) across the site took several weeks to complete.
The revegetation of this initial 5 hectares has been very successful with an excellent plant survival rate. Our client has completed all of their environmental audits in regard to the mandatory revegetation of this area.
Maintenance of revegetation, watering of plants, weed control using various techniques and biomass reduction is on-going. However the costs and needs for maintenance are reducing as the native plants establish.
The Green Army is a six-month programme for 17-24 year olds to train and work in the environment and gain training and experience in environmental and heritage conservation fields and explore careers in conservation management, while participating in projects that generate beneficial outcomes for the environment.
Naturelinks works together with these volunteer groups in planting, mulching, weeding. controlled burning and other coordinated activities. This gives the Green Army Teams the opportunity to meet professional bushland regenerators, experience real life training, and learn more about their environment and sustainability. Works undertaken to date were co-ordinated to increase long term biodiversity in Council Reserves.
A number of activities have taken place with these groups working together. These include the Balcombe Estuary Corridor of Green, the Urban Fringe at Arthurs Seat, flora protection at Moorooduc Quarry. and projects at Long Point and Betty Clift Reserve.