Wren McLean - ZEB's Replant Co ordinator
I caught up with Eco-Recharge bush regenerator Edward Phillips who was working with colleague Dom Trucillo in a riparian planting along Blindmouth Creek, Main Arm behind Mullumbimby. While discussing the project a vulnerable White-eared Monarch began vocalising loudly from the 15m canopy making sure its presence and its appreciation of its regenerating habitat known.
Ed works as a full-time bush regen supervisor with a small team of 2-5 people across Byron, Kyogle and Ballina Shires in many different vegetation types; wetlands, koala carbon plantings and riparian corridors.
The 6ha site they are regenerating today is an establishing 10-15m high wet rainforest riparian corridor along a 1km stretch of Blindmouth Creek, in addition to the rare monarch bird, Ed and team have been visited by a wide variety of other birds, a red-necked wallaby and lots of interesting invertebrates and had spotted a catfish in the nearby deep pool during smoko. 15 years ago this was part of a degraded cow paddock with eroded banks, dominated by camphor laurel and supporting very little diversity. This planting is now at the peak of its carbon drawdown and estimated to be drawing down around 109 tonnes of atmospheric carbon per year.
The site has not had any maintenance work for 5 years so the team is sweeping through, cutting and painting the trunks of cestrum, ochna, privet, camphor laurel and cats claw, madeira vine and morning glory vines with herbicide. New weed seedlings at the site will then be sprayed and two locations where the canopy has not established and the sunlight is stimulating weed growth, and the sites where madeira and cats claw were found, will be subject to follow up weed work in the next 6 months.
Ed expects it may be 5 years until the next maintenance run.
The UN has declared 2021 - 2030 the decade of ecological restoration. Preventing, halting and reversing loss of nature. Checkout the scope of what needs to be done here and get along to our local Regeneration Festival on March 4th in Mullumbimby. Tickets are free but limited so book now to avoid missing out.
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