21st May - Almanda Creek Project

With the reduced work necessary to look after Wirrapunga, I looked around for another project to fill my life. As a friend of Scott Creek Conservation Park, I decided it would be good to try a project there. Since we had recently discovered a rare plant growing in Almanda Creek and since it was under extreme stress because of feral weeds, I decided to try to restore Almanda Creek to its past glory. I started in February, 2013, and have been able to spend two mornings a week on the project.

At present the creek and its sides are fairly well covered in blackberry and the creek itself is full of weeds such as Watercress, so I do not expect it to be an easy task. The first job will be to carefully cut out the blackberry and paint the butts with Triclopyr.

The following photographs, of the creek, were taken by Bruce Jackson in March, 2013:


It is now May. I have spent 93 hours, so far, cutting and swabbing blackberries. I have completed about 10% of this part of the project. This means that I should have all the blackberries removed in about ten years. However! This does not concern me. There is no point in just replacing the blackberries with phalaris or something similar which is, in fact, worse than the blackberries themselves. The most important rule of bush restoration is "make sure you follow up and finish the job you started". Here are some photographs of where I am up to.


The three photos above are of the section in the north-east of the work area. It is planned to use this area as a nursery, to grow the wonderful plants that will be planted along the edges of the restored creek. So far the following species are planned:

Pratia puberula - White-flowered Pratia.
Pratia pedunculata? - Matted Pratia.
Mazus pumilio - Swamp Mazus.
Baumea laxa - Lax Twig-rush.
Mentha diemenica - Slender Mint.
Oreomyrrhis eripoda - Australian Caraway.
Sonchus hydrophilus - Water Thistle.
Cyperus gunnii - Flecked Flat-sedge.
Blechnum nudum - Fishbone Water-fern,
Blechnum watsii - Hard Water-fern.
Leucopogon lanceolatus - Lance Bearded-heath.
Hypericum gramineum - Small St John's Wort.


The three photos above show some of the wonderful plants that have so far survived the blackberry onslaught. They include Blechnum minus - Soft Water-fern, a beautiful fern gradually disappearing from the Adelaide Hills as they dry out and Lycopus Australis - Australian Gypsywort, well named due to its growth habit.


The two photos above are of a dry gully running into Almanda Creek where I propose to plant the rare Mentha diemenica. One plant grows further up the dry gully and I have successfully mutiplied it.

It is now May 2014. I have worked for 81 hours since last May planting our rare plants and clearing more blackberries. I have now cleared about 20% of the blackberries, so it looks like it will be a ten year project if I dont get some help. First a few photos of cleared blackberries.

Now some photos of the plants I have planted so far:

The first photo is of the Lax Twig-rush (Baumea laxa). The centre photo is of Creeping Raspwort (Gonocarpus macranthus) and the right photo is of Matted St Johns Wort (Hypericum japonicum). All three have a rare status in South Australia.

The first is of Swamp Mazus (Mazus pumilio). The centre is of the White-flowered Pratia (Pratia puberula, now Lobelia pedunculata) and the right photo is of an un-named Pratia sp (now Lobelia). These three species deserve special mention. The only recordings in the Adelaide Hills are at Scott Creek Conservation Park. They are all distinct from other provenances elsewhere. The un-named Pratis is probably a new species. All three species would probably be lost if it were not for the "Almanda Creek Project".

The first is Slender Mint (Mentha diemenica), a rare plant in South Australia. The second is Australian Gypsywort (Lycopus Australis) and the third is Tall Groundsel (Senecio runcinifolius). Australian Gypsywort is uncommon and Tall Groundsel is undetermined. Other than the Tall Groundsel, with just one lone plant turning up unexpectedly, all the above plant species are thriving as part of the Almanda Creek Project. I will post some more piccies when they flower.