Environment Matters Autumn/Winter 2023
How far can you FOGO
Bringing life to WETLANDS
Greening urban SPACES
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What’s in this issue 4 Ready, set… rollout! How to FOGO at home
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A lifetime’s work to change a landscape
Big finds in the Bioblitz
Constructing a living wetland
Jim Donald Wetlands
Urban greening in our suburbs
10 Fuel to the fire
13 Kids Corner
16 At your library
CREATURE FEATURE There are around 500 ladybird species in Australia. Not all are spotted – they can be stripy, one colour, even hairy. If startled, ladybirds can exude a yellow liquid from their leg joints that tastes foul to predators. Ladybirds can be a gardener’s best friend – the common spotted ladybird can devour 2,500 aphids during their lifetime. An Australian native ladybird was the world’s first biocontrol agent, exported to California in 1888 to control scale in citrus. Three years later the mealybug ladybird followed to do a similar job. If you find a black and yellow ladybug, it eats mildew fungus which is a common garden problem. But if you find a large ladybird with 28 spots, it’s a leaf eater and is probably munching on your plants.
Ready, set.. rollout! Ipswich’s green waste bins are now rolling out as: More and more households are signing up to this valuable kerbside collection. Each FOGO collection diverts food and garden organics from landfill and turns it into compost. TIPS FOR FOGO SUCCESS #1 Use a kitchen caddy that seals and store it in a cool dry place between meals, such as cupboard or fridge, to keep the flies at bay. Regularly give it a wash in warm soapy water. #2 Scrape your plate into your FOGO caddy! It can take all sorts of food scraps that wouldn’t be suitable for regular home composting such as meat scraps and bones, dairy and bread. #3 FOGO bins are currently collected fortnightly. Put ‘smelly’ scraps such as meat or seafood in a container in the fridge or freezer while you wait for collection day. #4 Products such as disposable cutlery, coffee cups and bags are increasingly becoming available in ‘compostable’ or ‘biodegradable’ options. However in Queensland these products are not suitable for FOGO processing. It’s best to have reuseable options such as a keep cup and travel cutlery set.
Bellbird Park resident Jody has new waste habits after being part of council’s FOGO trial.
Jody had always wanted a green bin. Doing garden clean-ups in Spring would fill up her red lid bin and not have much room for household waste. Her home was one of the 1,000 in Bellbird Park and Raceview that was part of a Queensland-first FOGO trial in 2021–2022. “I was excited to get a free bin [with the trial] and also do something to help the environment,” she said. Jody now has a FOGO caddy on her kitchen bench where she puts her vegetable peelings and food scraps. Every few days she empties that into her 240-litre FOGO bin, where she also puts garden waste.
“When I was doing weeding and we were having all that rain it was great,” she said. Having a FOGO bin means that her household is diverting valuable organic material away from landfill and turning it into compost.
“It took a bit of training myself to know what to put in there. The website was really informative,” Jody said. “It makes you more mindful of what you put in the bin, things that you normally never think about. “It does take a little trial and error, but doing something is better than doing nothing.” Find out more about FOGO at Ipswich.qld.gov.au/fogo
homes received a free weekly service 1,000 30% contamination rate in FOGO bins
34,000 42% FOGO bin collections (weekly) reduction of organic material in red lid bins
Quick facts: Bellbird Park and Raceview FOGO trial
tonnes of organic material diverted from landfill
Drone images of an area ready to be planted
A lifetime’s work to change a landscape Davida Shera lives on a 36 hectare property at Purga, which she bought with husband Dr Michael Shera in 1979. The property is part of council’s Landholder Conservation Partnerships Program, and Land for Wildlife.
ORIGINAL STATE The land was scarred with coal piles, a legacy of the expansion of coal mining in the Ipswich region from the mid- 1870s onward. A 1986 aerial image of the property showed a landscape cleared for agriculture, with the only trees along Purga Creek, the billabong and a remnant patch on the western end.
DECADES OF WORK Over the years, Davida has energetically planted thousands of trees on the property. The property has also naturally regenerated, particularly after cattle were removed about 20 years ago. “We gradually educated ourselves as to what species could be successful on the property, and clearly the hardiest trees have been (Grey Box) Eucalyptus moluccana and (Blue Gum) Eucalyptus tereticornis , both tolerating heavy clay soil, drought, and frost during establishment,” she said. Endangered Swamp Tea-tree Melaleuca irbyana have also done well.
FUTURE GOALS One of Davida’s favourite features of the property is “the thrill of recognising the sound of koalas at night-time coming from the billabong, seeing scratch marks on tree trunks, and scat beneath, and spotting koalas when you are walking around the property”. Now she is embarking on a large-scale revegetation project, with the help of a team, with about 5,000 koala food and habitat trees to be planted. This will convert grass paddocks to native forest, and link remnant areas,
riparian zones and the historic native plantings on the property.
Koala in tree Purga
September 2022 planting
Blue gum on the property
LLRI Bioblitz bryophyte search
Big finds in the Bioblitz For the first time one of our city’s most important biodiversity areas was part of an international snapshot of species.
The Little Liverpool Range borders Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Somerset and Scenic Rim local government areas. Landholders, councils, research and conservation organisations and others are working collaboratively to coordinate environmental efforts at a regional scale. Using the iNaturalist app, members have been recording the variety of native species found on the range. Many species are of local, state and national significance. Those efforts had a massive boost during a two-day event as part of the international Great Southern Bioblitz, which includes countries across the southern hemisphere.
Members were joined by flora and fauna experts as they hiked through different ecosystems on two properties and camped overnight. There were 473 observations of 251 species recorded on iNaturalist, plus another 78 bird species recorded separately. Following the event, Queensland Herbarium confirmed that a species of liverwort found during the Bioblitz was the most northern record ever found of the species. This shows the importance of private landholders engaging in conservation activities. Surveys and species identification events such as this are valuable data gathering tools.
Crimson footed semi-slug
LLRI Bioblitz plant species ID walk
Stony creek frog
Constructing a living wetland
When stormwater runs off our urban roads, roofs, and other hard surfaces it takes a range of pollutants with it. From rubbish to chemicals, nutrients to sediment, there are a lot of things that can cause damage when they get into our waterways. Constructed wetlands can be an effective tool in treating urban stormwater runoff by acting as a filter, stripping the water of these pollutants before the water reaches creeks and rivers. Often these constructed wetlands need to be ‘retrofit’ into an existing urban environment. The design needs to be sensitive to local conditions such as soils, hydrology and vegetation and tailored to the type and concentration of target pollutants. NEW CONSTRUCTED WETLANDS COMING SOON Projects are funded through council’s Stormwater Quality Offsets Scheme. Bremervale Park, Raceview Council is designing an ephemeral wetland next to Bundamba Creek for construction in 2024. The ‘ephemeral’ design is a shallow depression which dries out 26 tonne per year of total suspended solids 43kg per year of total phosphorous 90kg per year of total nitrogen Harry Ratnam Park, Redbank Plains construction in 2024. The wetland will improve the environment and help reduce urban heat island effect. Pollutant reduction goals: 10 tonne per year of total suspended solids 16kg per year of total phosphorous 39kg per year of total nitrogen shortly after a rain event. Pollutant reduction goals: Council is designing a permanent wetland near Goodna Creek for
Dense buffer Thick native vegetation provides a safety buffer between the urban area and the wetlands
Native plants provide food and shelter for a variety of species including frogs and birds
Capture pollutants Grasses and sedges filter nutrients such as phosphorous, nitrogen as well as sediment from urban runoff
Over time many of Ipswich’s natural wetlands have been filled or removed. Projects to create new wetlands are restoring this important waterway function in our urban areas.
JIM DONALD WETLANDS A constructed wetland in Eastern Heights is being rejuvenated through the ongoing work of Bushcare volunteers. They are removing weeds and replanting with native species to boost the natural function of this important space. As well as being an urban habitat for plants and animals, water filtered through the wetlands is used to irrigate the nearby playing fields. A community planting day in October 2022 had 57 people help put 220 plants in the ground. There were also 35 species of bird recorded on the day. It’s easy to become a Bushcare volunteer! See the Volunteer Portal at Ipswich.qld.gov.au/volunteering
Social benefits The natural area adds visual appeal to neighbourhoods and provides urban cooling benefits
Shade and oxygen
Re-hydrating landscape Slowing and holding water allows it to seep into the soil, with water also used to irrigate sport fields
Plants in the water provide oxygen and shade which helps reduce harmful algae bloom
Jim Donald Wetlands
Urban Greening in our suburbs Urban areas are made of hard surfaces such as roads, footpaths and buildings. Planting or preserving trees brings a multitude of benefits for people and the environment.
This includes cooling our neighbourhoods, absorbing and filtering pollutants, providing habitat and increasing our enjoyment of local areas. Actions are already underway, such as James Hatton Park in Raceview, where trees have been planted to eventually create shade and other benefits. Overall, council’s target is to increase urban greening plantings, with 90 per cent to reach healthy maturity, and at least 50 per cent to be local native species. Find out more in council’s Urban Greening Plan on Ipswich.qld.gov.au
James Hatton Park
Ipswich City Council will be holding community planting days in priority suburbs. Find upcoming events here: Ipswichcitycouncil.eventbrite.com
Remembering Arnold Rieck
In late 2022 Ipswich mourned the loss of environmental legend Arnold Rieck. For many decades he championed the replanting of native vegetation in the area known historically as Rosewood Scrub. The remarkable transformation of Masons Gully in Rosewood started in August 2000 when Mr Rieck, Landcare volunteers and school students planted the first seedlings. It is now flourishing with species such as brigalow, crows ash, the rare Bailey’s cypress, red cedar and hoop pine. Mr Rieck’s personal favourite was the ‘original rosewood’, a long-lived weeping wattle with masses of beautiful white blossoms, which he regarded as one of Australia’s best wattles.
Fuel to the fire Now is the time to Get Ready for bushfire season.
Rural Fire Service Bushfire Safety Officer Jessica Eadie said preparations had commenced for the upcoming 2023 fire season. “We’ve had three years of La Nina, which has had a considerable impact on the accumulation of vegetation such as grass, undergrowth, leaves, bark and branches,” she said. The ongoing rain has also provided few opportunities to reduce these fuel loads due to weather and issues like vehicles bogging. “It means the next fire season there is likely to be an increase due to those factors,” Ms Eadie said. “We could see some high intensity fires too, depending on that growth of vegetation.” Ms Eadie is with a new bushfire mitigation unit which assists and advises landowners and partner agencies on larger scale burns. “Hazard reduction burns are one of the most effective ways to reduce bushfire risk,” she said. “Other strategies include fire breaks or fire trails, having firefighting equipment on hand and creating property fire management plans. “A well-prepared property is much easier to protect.” Ms Eadie said now was a good time for all residents to Get Ready for bushfire season. “You can do simple things around your house such as cleaning your gutters and having available water sources.”
COUNCIL HAZARD REDUCTION BURNS Autumn and winter are the peak time for council to do its hazard reduction burns. Council manages more than 6,700 hectares through Enviroplan conservation estates and reserves. These controlled ‘cool’ burns have many benefits for both environment and community. Council advises of hazard reduction burn activity through letters to neighbouring residents and council’s Facebook page.
CALENDAR WHAT’S ON Want to get outdoors and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of our environment? Here’s a selection of ideas.
COMMUNITY Bushcare working bees All year Lend a hand to community efforts to restore and improve Ipswich’s natural environment. Bushcare groups across the city hold monthly working bees and ad hoc planting days. Ipswich.qld.gov.au/ volunteering
COMMUNITY Clean Up
Peaks to Points Festival 16–30 July 2023
Australia Day Sunday 6 March 2022 Register a site or pull on some gloves and help out the nation’s largest community-based environment event! Cleanup.org.au
Every two years Ipswich joins this South-East Queensland celebration of community efforts to care for creek catchments along the southern side of the Brisbane River. Program details at Peakstopoints.com.au
THERE’S A DAY FOR THAT ?!
Trees for Mum October 2022 Join this celebration of everyday activities we can take as a community to create a more liveable city. There’s lots of ways to be involved! Ipswichcitycouncil.eventbrite.com
AT HOME Earth Hour
On 27 March 2022 join millions of people around the world and switch off your lights at 8.30 pm in support of nature and the planet. See Earthhour.org.au OUTDOORS Experience Nature Take time to connect with our city’s Enviroplan conservation estates with a guided bushwalk. Bookings can be made at Discoveripswich.com.au/tours CHILDREN Kids Go Wild Join in the fun over the school holidays with activities that encourage kids to learn about the environment. See Ipswich.qld.gov.au/enviroed
International Day of Forests 21 March 2023
Save the Frogs Day 28 April 2023
International Compost Awareness Week 7–13 May 2023
World Bee Day 20 May 2023
Environment celebrations June 2023 In celebration of World Environment Day a series of hands-on workshops and activities, for all ages, will be held at the Enviroplan- funded Hardings Paddock. Be notified of events – click ‘follow’ at Ipswichcitycouncil.eventbrite.com
Greening Your Suburb March – April 2023
A series of community planting events will be held across Ipswich. By joining in you are helping to create all the benefits of urban greening in your local area. Be notified of events – click ‘follow’ at Ipswichcitycouncil. eventbrite.com
C O R N E R
Bringing new ideas to the classroom Professional Development sessions are now on offer for Ipswich teachers. A range of topics related to the environment and sustainability will be on offer. The sessions are held at Queens Park Environmental Education Centre and are free to attend. To stay up to date with events, click ‘follow’ at Ipswichcitycouncil.eventbrite.com You can also contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Challenge your school to litter-free lunch Much of the rubbish we send to landfill comes from the packaging on the food we buy. It’s been estimated an average student using a disposable lunch generates three pieces of litter per day. This equals 30kg of waste per year. For a school of 500 students this works out to be 15 tonnes of waste produced each year from lunchboxes alone! Maybe your school can hold a ‘litter-free lunch day’ and see how much packaging you can save from going to landfill.
YOUR CHALLENGE: Make your lunch box litter free TIP 1: Make a tray of muffins and keep them frozen. Put one in your lunchbox each morning – it will thaw by lunch time. TIP 2: Try reusable sandwich wraps or containers as a quick way to keep sandwiches fresh. TIP 3: Buy healthy snack foods in bulk and use small airtight containers to portion for lunchboxes. TIP 4: Like yoghurt? Buy a bigger container and put into reusable food pouches.
Make like a
Go with your family or friends somewhere you can see a number of trees of different shapes. Maybe somewhere like Queens Park or Robelle Domain Parklands! Stand up and make your body into the shape of the tree you are looking at. It is a gum tree, standing tall with long crooked arms? Is it a pine tree that is narrow at the top and wide at the bottom? Then pair up and play tree charades! One person silently chooses a tree. They pose like the tree as best they can. The other person tries to guess which tree is being copied.
Did you know? In urban areas the ‘bin chicken’ is often seen as a dirty pest – but the Australian White Ibis has a valuable role in its natural ecosystem. Ibis can help aerate the soil while digging for food, such as crayfish, mussels and crickets. Recently it was discovered ibis had developed a unique way of eating cane toads, by flinging toads in the air first to discharge the poison. With the quality of their natural habitat declining, ibis have learned to exploit human landfills, bins and litter. Ibis also nest in large colonies, and when this happens in urban areas it can lead to human-wildlife conflict.
AUSTRALIAN WHITE IBIS
AT YOUR LIBRARY
The ABC kids guide to loving the planet Jaclyn Crupi, 2022
Dear Greta Yvette Poshoglian, 2022
Something for everyone...
Gardening for everyone: growing vegetables, herbs and more at home Julia Watkins, 2022
Living offshore reefs of Australian Marine Parks Graham Edgar, 2022
A natural history of the future: what
the laws of biology tell us about the destiny of the human species Rob Dunn, 2022
Have you visited your local library? There’s something for everyone at the Ipswich Libraries. Check out the line-up of events and activities at Ipswichlibraries.com.au
Ipswich Central Library Nicholas Street Precinct, Ipswich Ipswich Children’s Library Nicholas Street Precinct, Ipswich Redbank Plains Library Moreton Avenue, Redbank Plains Redbank Plaza Library Redbank Plaza Shopping Centre, 1 Collingwood Drive, Redbank Rosewood Library Corner John and Railway streets, Rosewood Springfield Central Library Cnr Main Street and Sirius Drive, Orion Springfield Central
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Ipswich City Council PO Box 191, Ipswich Phone (07) 3810 6666 Fax (07) 3810 6731
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