Sunday 13 November: Twenty-one neighbours and community members came together to take part in something special – creation of a wildlife corridor which will reconnect Mt Gravatt Reserve with Mimosa Creek and Roly Chapman Reserve. The majority of Fox Gully is private property – the backyards of individual house blocks – so removing weeds and restoring the wildlife corridor requires the co-operation of thirty-seven separate property owners.

A critical step in the restoration was the removal a massive Indian Rubber Tree Ficus elastica in September – 5 men working solidly for 2 days – a huge job generously paid for by one of our Arafura Street neighbours. On advice from Prof Carla Catterall, Griffith University, we arranged for the contractors to leave the large stump for wildlife habitat. The contractor also placed logs on the slope and left two large piles of mulch.

Marshal and I chainsawed the remaining Yellow Oleandia Cascabela thevetia in advance to reduce risk of accidents when we had a large number of people on-site. Logs from the Yellow Oleandia were to be used on the slope to improve access for weeding/planting and to retain mulch and stop erosion.

Madeira Vine Anredera cordifolia  was the next challenge. Also called Potato Vine, this aggressive invader produces thousands of small aerial tubers which can remain viable on the vine or on the ground for five to ten years. Each tuber can send out multiple roots to produce a new vine that can grow at more than one metre per week, rapidly smothering other vegetation. As with many weeds, Madeira Vine is an attractive flowering vine originally introduced from South America as a garden plant. Because of the massive infestation of this weed I decided that the Arafura Street side of the site should not be planted immediately with the focus being eradication of this pest that will out grow any new planting.

The Madeira infestation was so bad that Roger was simply shoveling the tubers into tubs for removal. Even with that work on the Gully Day, Don and I  still removed a full wheelie bin of tubers as we worked on the slope placing logs and mulch. Now that we are getting this major infestation under control we can work with neighbours up and down the gully to eradicate Madeira from the wildlife corridor.

On the day the team removed six cubic metres of rubbish and green waste, an extraordinary achievement when you consider that everything had to be carried up out of the gully to the rubbish skip in O’Grady Street.

Grey-headed Flying-fox Pteropus poliocephalus

They certainly earned a break for morning tea and an opportunity to meet some of the world’s only flying mammals – a really cute Grey-headed Flying-fox Pteropus poliocephalus, a juvenile Black Flying-fox Pteropus alecto and a tiny micro-batLittle Broad-nosed Bat Scotophilus greyi. Jenny and Denise, wildlife carers with Bat Conservation & Rescue Qld, joined us to introduce these cute creatures first hand, dispel some media-myths about Flying-foxes and share ideas on how we can protect and encourage these valuable pollinators and insect catchers. One simple thing we can do is encourage the use of wildlife-excluding HailGuard which protects fruit and vegetables without endangering bats, birds and possums that can get tangled in other netting.

Grey-headed Flying-foxes are found in Mt Gravatt Reserve and BAAM researchers have identified three species of micro-bat in the Reserve.

Little Broad-nosed Bat Scotophilus greyi – insect catching micro-bat

Removal of the Indian Rubber Tree will hopefully restore the permanent spring and provide a water source to attract these micro-mozzie catchers back to the gully as well as promoting the frog population.

Since the Gully Day we have planted one hundred and forty plants and placed logs (recycled weed trees) on the steep slope and mulch is being spread. The event has also created a long term change in relations between neighbours and how neighbours relate to the gully … it is wonderful to see city kids exploring.

Special thanks to Jenny and Denise, Phil Reeves (who personally paid for the rubbish skip) and helpers Barry Williams – Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed, Peter Stirk – Vultures Football Club and Natalie Petersen – ALP candidate for Wishart Ward.

Our community is committed to restoration of Mt Gravatt wildlife corridors.

You can be part of this important project. Join us for the first Community Gully Day – Sunday 13 November – 8am to 12noon. For information contact Michael Fox – 0408 769 405

Koalas are returning, Sugar Gliders have been sighted, Green Tree Frogs living in our gully wildlife corridor and BAAM environmental researchers have identified three species of mico-bats on the mountain. Long term survival of these species is critically dependent on wildlife corridors linking Mt Gravatt Reserve with other local habitats like Mimosa Creek and Roly Chapman Reserve.

The Community Gully Day activities include cleaning out weed trees/rubbish, replanting, stabilising banks with logs and mulch, and installation of nest boxes for gliders and birds.

Preparations for the event are well underway. Shawn and Genevieve have installed steps to improve access and safety.

Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C) are providing public liability insurance cover for this event and the B4C Sustainability Centre Nursery has donated forty native plants.

Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed have made ten nest boxes based on Hollow Log Homes design specifications. These boxes will provide nest sites for Rainbow and Scaly Breasted Lorikeets, Pale-headed Rosellas, Squirrel and Sugar Gliders.

Southside Community News - October 2011

Local state MP Phil Reeves is providing a rubbish skip.

Jenny Lang, Bat Conservation & Rescue Qld, is arranging a micro-bat visit around morning tea time. Jenny is a big hearted person who cares for injured bats like the two cute micro-bats she bought around when I was preparing this article for the Southside Community News.

Restoration of wildlife corridors has to be a whole of community focus because wildlife does not recognise human created property boundaries or roads. Effective habitat consolidation and linking requires co-operation of a diverse range of property owners – private, corporate, local/state/federal government, community groups, schools and university.

Our Community Gully Day is a small step in building our whole of community focus.

Please join us even if it is only to meet the cute micro-bats over morning tea.