4 June 2008

On Wednesday 4 th June staff of GE Finance volunteered their services at Mulla Mulla Grassland.

GE Finance donates the service of their staff once a year for community service. This year they are involved in environmental work. Their presence was facilitated by Linda Bradburn (Melton Shire Environmental Education officer).

We were also joined by Andrew Coughlan of Western Land Services. His expertise was invaluable in both identifying & removing weed species.

We had hoped that the day would have been more welcoming but instead the weather was foggy & overcast. A total of forty people from numerous GE Finance branches from all round the metropolitan area arrived.

Frances Overmars with GE Finance volunteers

Cumbungi (Typha sp)

One team was designated to remove cumbungi from the dam.
This cumbungi (Typha sp) had been identified as exotic to this locality some years prior by a visiting botanist. PLEG have been steadily removing it from the dam. When the dam fills after heavy rain the cumbungi regrows, but in increasingly lesser number each year. So we are winning the battle of its removal. The cumbungi is also being removed because it is out competing the native swamp lily, Ottelia ovalifolia, a preferred species in the dam.

The team dug the offending cumbungi from the empty dam, using mattocks & spades. The cumbungi was deeply rooted in the sticky clay making removal a difficult & messy job. Before long all the cumbungi had been removed. The uprooted plants were then strewn upon the banks above from the water line, so that they could not regrow in the mud when it next rains. 


Digging cumbungi from dam

Exotic Peppercress (Lepidium africanum)
Another team removed exotic Peppercress (Lepidium africanum) from the woodland section of Mulla Mulla Grassland. This was a much less physical task as it involved pulling the weeds by hand. The weed is not large so care had to be taken to identify the weeds from the surrounding native plants. Despite the small size of each individual weed, we soon filled a large garbage back, from a relatively small area of woodland. We had hoped to remove weeds from a larger area of woodland but we found out that the density of the weeds in our project area was deceptively more than we anticipated.

Showy Podolepis, Basalt Daisy & Pussytails (Ptilotis spathulata)
The third team planted Showy Podolepis, Basalt Daisy & Pussytails (Ptilotis spathulata) in the rabbit-proof rare plants enclosure. Sixty of these bright yellow daisies (once a prominent feature of local native grasslands) had been grown from seed collected from a nearby property on Mt Cottrell.

Plants are grown from seed collected on the slopes of Mt Cottrell as these plants are adapted to growing in this dry rain shadow locality. This team also removed the exotic weed species pigeon grass.

Top soil
Another group raked top soil that had blown against the southern stone wall, which became airborne during a recent violent storm.
Although the weather was cold & gloomy the volunteers were enthusiastic & energetic. The numbers of volunteers present combined with their enthusiasm meant that an impressive volume of environmental restoration work was completed, in one afternoon. The same amount of work would have taken our relatively small group several project days to complete.

Many thanks to GE Finance & their staff for both a productive & an enjoyable day.

Daryl Akers