Update on the SEE-Change Birdscaping Project
Back in late 2017 SEE-Change obtained an ACT Environment Grant to create some re-vegetation along Sullivans Creek in O’Connor. The SEE-Change project is called Birdscaping #CBR: bringing back birds, butterflies and bees.
Wildlife corridors are missing in Canberra’s suburbs and many animals such as small birds are absent. Canberra has lots of mown grass and scattered mature trees, while attractive, don’t provide many habitat opportunities. This sort of landscape favours larger more aggressive birds. The idea of the project is to reinstate a diverse range of locally occurring native plants that will provide homes for critters.
SEE-Change has envisioned a vegetation corridor, which stretched along the creek line from David St to MacArthur St. We conducted two community consultations on site in February. The community was very supportive of this project and many people expressed a wish to help out on the planting days (thank you!). We had hoped to begin planing in Autumn but we had a hitch…
What was the hitch?
On 24 and 25 February 2018 Canberra experienced an extremely heavy rainfall event. The flooding along Sullivan’s Creek resulted in the proposed re-vegetation areas being inundated and in some cases underwater. We have been reassessing the project in view of future potential flood risks and have been in lengthy consultations with the ACT government since then.
Based on these discussions, we have reviewed the area available for planting. We are now refocusing our project on a triangular portion of block 7, section 91 (see rough sketch). This triangle of urban open space of approximately 3000sqm is directly opposite Turner Primary School, on David St O’Connor.
This area has a good connection to the native vegetation surrounding the David St wetland and the adjacent playground. We hope that this is just the first stage of the project and we can arrange some additional plantings to the north, towards MacArthur St.
What will happen next?
Sections of the site will be prepared by Greening Australia for planting and the community will be invited to a series of working bees to install plants and cardboard guards (to protect plants from predation and dogs and people).
Four working bees will occur throughout 2018. The first planting will most likely happen September. Conservation Volunteers Australia will assist with plant maintenance and we will maintain the plants for two years. After two years the plants should begin to thrive.
Bird experts will be invited to survey the site, before, during and after the revegetation to monitor bird numbers.
We are also working with ACT for Bees and plan to construct a bee hotel for the site.
How will we attract small birds?
Studies by Greening Australia shows that by restoring groundcovers and shrub layers (in which small birds can nest, forage and hide) the numbers of small native birds will increase. Vulnerable bird species, like the Scarlet Robin will benefit from the recreation of this type of habitat. The inclusion of logs will increase the range of invertebrates, including beetles, butterflies, moths and bees which many birds feed on.
Research by the ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment found that the Scarlet Robin risks extinction in the ACT within the next 25-50 years.
Factsheet on Vulnerable ACT birds
What plants will we use?
We will use locally occurring hardy native plants suitable for the area. These will be sourced from Greening Australia.
How many plants?
We will install 2800 tubestock (small plants) which have a good chance at being successfully established.
How can you be involved?
If you are interested in volunteering for the working bees and assisting in planting, please get in contact with us on: firstname.lastname@example.org