During this past year a significant amount of weed vegetation has been removed from Emerald Lake Park and the natural light is once again reaching the forest floor. Plantings from year's one and two are growing well and there has been emergence of many indigenous plants naturally in open ground. Sightings of many swamp wallabies, wombats and a variety of birds are becoming more common.
CONTROL OF WEEDS
- Removal of large holly trees has opened up areas of the forest.
- Drilling of some fruiting hollies onsite.
- Routine inspection for new and emerging weeds. e.g. wild tobacco and ink weed
- All hydrangeas and cordyline have been treated again.
- The contractors have worked very hard in some steep and heavily infested areas to remove vegetation.
- All weeds cut down have been removed from Emerald Lake Park environment.
- Visits by a number of Green Army crews has helped with micro weeding in the revegetated areas and in the cestrum patches.
CONTROL OF PEST ANIMALS
- Implementation of the "Pest Animal Management Plan" has continued.
- Bad season for European wasps; this has kept the Rangers busy finding and treating nests.
CLEANING OF WATERWAYS
- Removal of litter by Emerald Girl Guides has been a great help. Much litter continues to be found in areas where weeds are being removed.
- As the Park runs along the side of a main road litter finds its way onto tracks and drains to the creek.
- The angled onion weeds have been sprayed during the growing season and will be monitored continually.
- Drainage issues are being resolved with the use of temporary coir logs and reforming of the camber of tracks to allow the water to run to the drains and not take gravel into the bush. Major erosion works that will solve many of these problems are still to be commenced.
- In 2014, 1500 plants were planted by FELP( Friends of Emerald Lake Park), Emerald Primary School students, Conservation Volunteers and community members. plantings have occurred around Lake Treganowan and Lake Nobelius with ferns, grasses and 60 tree ferns.
- Plantings have also occurred along Link track of grasses, polystichum proliferum and Blechnum patersonii. These are complimenting and enhancing these open areas.
- Extensive micro weeding has occurred, with FELP undertaking most of the work around the revegetation areas. Large discoveries of indigenous plants popping up and taking back the once weedy areas has been very exciting. Birds have been very helpful in this area. It has been vital to remove small ink weed and wild tobacco before they take hold.
BIODIVERSITY AND HABITAT PRESERVATION
- All vegetation from the woody weed removal continues to be removed from the ELP site.
- Contractors are now entering the next phase of removing further into the zones. Natural light is now reaching into many areas and lots of small plants are growing e.g. Forest Hounds tongue, Indian weed, senecio varieties, crane’s bill varieties and shade nettles.
- In the open areas ferns are regenerating, as well as kangaroo apple, forest nightshade, prickly currant bushes and wattles. This shows the bush healing itself and compliments the revegetation works.
- Swamp wallabies are being seen regularly and the bird life is prolific in the revegetated areas.
- Seed has been collected over the summer and sent to the local indigenous nursery to ensure provenance.
- Tree ferns and other ferns that are growing in drains and tracks are being transplanted into the cleared areas. Other plants such as Victorian Christmas Bush and Hazel Pomaderris are also being removed.
ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY
- FELP continues to hold three working bees a month and an open invitation stands for community members to join us.
- New signage around the Lakes explains to visitors about the waterbirds, feeding of the ducks and information in regards to fishing.
- The Virtual Ranger Trail opened in December. Ten podiums make up the trail and take visitors out into the tracks and around the Lakes to experience the environment in a unique way. Each podium has photographs and information as well as an audio component. This trail caters for a wide variety of visitors and is a wonderful addition to the Park.
- The community have been involved in our planting days.
- FELP has worked a long side the Green Army, Conservation Volunteers, Emerald Primary School, Emerald Girl Guides and Emerald Joey Scouts in this past year.
As the third year, of the Emerald Lake Park Vegetation Management Project draws to a close it is very pleasing to see the mammoth amount of weed material that has been removed from the bush, to see the revegetated areas continuing to thrive, to see animals and birds enjoying the areas free from weeds, to have the community of Emerald involved in the project and for the visitors to enjoy our new Virtual Ranger Trail and other signage.
Closer ties have been made with FELP, Shire of Cardinia, Shire of Cardinia staff and the Emerald Community, which will stay with us after 2016.
Friends of Emerald Lake Park