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Ecological Restoration Projects Provest Creek Restoration

Federal Grant Success

Wild Habitats Inc. is pleased to announce that we have successfully received funding through the Federal CEP (Community Environment Program). Our grant is to restore Provest Creek in Hornsby Heights Sydney back to a healthy creek.

Provest Creek is fed primarily by stormwater collected in the local urban catchment. At the top of the catchment is Montview Oval which was created from an old landfill site. A quarry operation mining clay shale and fireclay was also in operation from 1960 to 1975.

The restoration will focus on the areas of the creek that are part of Berowra Valley National Park with the permission of NPWS (NSW Parks and Wildlife Service.)

We will be attempting to do the restoration by applying the SERA (Society of Ecological Restoration Australiasia) standards.

The challenge is that we need to incorporate knowledge which is normally difficult to obtain for Bush Regenerators. The grant will allow us to use the services of an ecologist so that we can try and make sure that our regeneration benefits the local fauna.

SERA standards require us to assess the site based on the following attributes with a one to five star rating. This allows us to create a Recovery Wheel and is a good measure of our progress when viewed at the beginning and end of a project.

sera recovery wheel

 Attribute * ** *** **** *****
Absence of

threats

 

Further deterioration discontinued and site has tenure and  management secured

 

Threats from adjacent areas beginning to be   managed or mitigated

 

All adjacent threats being managed or mitigated

 

Larger scale threats starting to be managed or mitigated

 

All threats managed or mitigated to high extent

 

Physical

conditions

 

Gross physical and chemical problems remediated (e.g. pollution, erosion, and compaction)

 

Substrate chemical and physical properties (e.g. pH and salinity) on track to stabilize within natural range

 

Substrate stabilized within natural range and  supporting growth of characteristic biota

 

Substrate maintaining conditions suitable for ongoing growth and recruitment of  characteristic biota

 

Substrate exhibiting physical and chemical characteristics highly similar to that of the reference ecosystem with evidence they can indefinitely sustain species and processes

 

Species

composition

 

Colonizing indigenous species (e.g. ∼2% of the species of reference ecosystem); no threat to regeneration niches or future successions

 

Genetic diversity of stock arranged and a small subset of characteristic indigenous species establishing (e.g. ∼10% of reference); low threat from exotic invasive or undesirable species

 

Genetic diversity of stock arranged and a small subset of characteristic indigenous species  establishing (e.g. ∼10% of reference); low threat from exotic invasive or undesirable species

 

A subset of key indigenous species (e.g. ∼25% of reference)  establishing over substantial proportions of the site, with nil to low threat from  undesirable species Substantial diversity of characteristic biota (e.g. ∼60% of reference) present on the site and representing a wide diversity of species groups; no inhibition by undesirable  species High diversity of characteristic species (e.g. >80% of reference) across the site, with high similarity to the reference ecosystem; improved potential for colonization of more species over time

 

Community

structure

 

One or fewer strata present and no spatial pattering or trophic complexity relative to reference ecosystem

 

More strata present but low spatial pattering and trophic complexity relative to reference ecosystem

 

Most strata present and some spatial pattering and trophic complexity relative to reference ecosystem

 

All strata present Spatial
pattering evident and
substantial trophic
complexity developing,
relative to the reference
ecosystem
All strata present and spatial pattering and trophic complexity high Further complexity and spatial pattering able to self-organize to highly resemble reference ecosystem

 

Ecosystem

function

 

Substrates and hydrology are at a foundational stage only, capable of future development of functions similar to the reference

 

Substrates and hydrology show increased potential for a wider range of functions including nutrient cycling, and provision of habitats/resources for other species

 

Evidence of functions commencing, e.g. nutrient cycling, water filtration and provision of habitat  resources for a range of species

 

Substantial evidence of key functions and processes commencing including reproduction, dispersal, and recruitment of a species

 

Considerable evidence of functions and processes on a secure  trajectory toward reference and evidence of ecosystem resilience likely after reinstatement of appropriate disturbance regimes

 

External

exchanges

 

Potential for exchanges (e.g. of species, genes, water, and fire) with surrounding landscape or aquatic environments identified

 

Connectivity for enhanced positive (and minimized negative)  exchanges arranged through cooperation with stakeholders and configuration of  site

 

Connectivity increasing and exchanges between site and external environment starting to be evident (e.g. more species, flows, etc.)

 

High level of connectivity with other natural areas established, observing control of pest species and undesirable disturbances

 

Evidence that potential for external  exchanges is highly similar to reference and long term integrated management arrangements with broader landscape in place and operative

 

Table 1. Summary of generic standards for recovery levels 1–5.

Meaning of Star Rating

 (Note: Modeled on an appropriate local indigenous reference ecosystem)

 

1 Ongoing deterioration prevented. Substrates remediated (physically and chemically). Some level of indigenous biota present; future recruitment niches not negated by biotic or abiotic characteristics. Future improvements for all attributes planned and future site management secured.

 

2 Threats from adjacent areas starting to be managed or mitigated. Site has a small subset of characteristic indigenous species and there is little if any internal threat from undesirable species. Improved connectivity arranged with adjacent property holders

 

3 Adjacent threats being managed or mitigated. A moderate subset of characteristic indigenous species are established and some evidence of ecosystem functionality commencing. Improved connectivity commencing.
4 A substantial subset of characteristic biota present (representing all species groupings), providing evidence of a developing community structure and commencement of ecosystem processes. Improved connectivity established and surrounding threats being managed or mitigated.

 

5 Establishment of a characteristic assemblage of biota to a point where structural and trophic complexity is likely to develop without further intervention. Appropriate ecosystem exchanges are enabled and commencing and high levels of resilience is likely with return of appropriate disturbance regimes. Long-term management arrangements in place.

 

Our next step is to engage an ecologist and collaborate with Hornsby Council to help us create the Recovery Wheel based on the above attributes. We will then engage a team of Bush Regenerators to implement our plan. At the end of the project we will have another look at the Recovery Wheel and use this as a measure of the ongoing progress.

Dense ground cover of Eragrostis curvula (African Love Grass) and Ageratina adenophora (Crofton) crowding out native grasses.
Zantedeschia aethiopica (Arum Lily) crowding creekline. They are absorbing excess nutrient and possibly providing habitat. Should they be removed?

 

 

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