Environment Matters Autumn/Winter 2024

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Autumn/Winter 2024

Caring for our CATCHMENT

Industry and conservation COEXIST Knowing our NATIVE RODENTS


Image: Bee sophra fraserii. Photographer: Janine Jungfels

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What’s in this issue 4 Big changes for large items Planting for resilience



Conservation and industry coexisting


Caring for our catchment


A new plan for biosecurity


Ready for action

10 Who’s been doing a whole lot of digging These are no ordinary rats!


On the watch for platypus Spotlight on species

12 What’s On 14 Kids Corner

Students creating positive change

16 At your library

CREATURE FEATURE European honeybees were brought to Australia in 1822 for honey production. There are now hundreds of thousands of managed hives, and many wild swarms in bushland. European honeybees are commonly the bees that you notice in your garden – although there are also many species of native bee to look out for! Bees are essential pollinators of many plant species, including acting as critical pollination for Queensland’s agricultural sector from avocados to pumpkins. Native tree species also mean that Queensland honey has a unique flavour, with varieties such as yellow box, ironbark, blue gum and more. One of the greatest impacts to European honeybees has been the spread of invasive varroa mite in Australia. The parasite weakens bees and can carry bee viruses.


Big changes for large items

Your household can send less to landfill with council’s new on-demand kerbside collection for large items.

From early 2024, Ipswich residents will have greater access and more flexibility to dispose of unwanted household items with the introduction of an annual on-demand service. Each household will be eligible for one free collection per year Households can order a 2 cubic metre bag when it’s convenient. Under the new on-demand model, a minimum 50 per cent of materials collected will be recovered from landfill and with the new bagged system there will be less chance of litter and debris being left on the kerbside. For more information visit Ipswich.qld.gov.au/kerbside

Tall shrub – Weeping bottlebrush (Melaleuca viminalis ‘wilderness white’)

Groundcover – Creeping boobialla (Myoporum parvifolium)

Groundcover – Giant buttons (Leiocarpa brevicompt)

Planting for resilience Keep your garden looking lovely in dry times! There are many Australian native plants, such as those grown at council’s nursery, that can flourish when dry and harsh conditions return.

Shrub – Emu bush (Eremophila maculata)

Groundcover – Saltbush (Rhagodia spinescens)

Tall shrub – Grevillea flora mason

LOOK FOR PLANTS WITH: ¼ Small or narrow leaves ... as they lose less moisture ¼ Light coloured leaves ... as they reflect light and keep the plant cooler ¼ Deep root systems ... as they are more resilient to drought ¼ Hairy or tough leaf surfaces ... as they reduce moisture loss.


Bring your rates notice to collect your six free plants each year from council’s Queens Park Nursery, or the Mobile Nursery. The selection is always changing, with different species available to discover all the time. Plants are propagated by the nursery, so are suited to Ipswich conditions. Visit Ipswich.qld.gov.au/freeplants

¼ Water between 5.00 am and 10.00 am to reduce evaporation loss ¼ Improve your soil’s ability to retain moisture by adding organic matter and mulch ¼ Create areas of shade to provide some protection and cooling ¼ Provide wind breaks as strong winds increase evaporation.


A business in Brassall showcases how nature regeneration can happen anywhere.

Conservation and industry coexisting

Richard and Judy run A Wood Shed from the six hectare industrial property on Pine Mountain Road. In 2020 they joined the Land for Wildlife program, their first foray into conservation. “The only land management we had was a tractor and slasher to keep control. Then we thought – ‘we can do better than this’,” Richard said. “Once we started, we thought we could make something quite nice out of this, and it became more of a passion than maintenance.” Now, about 1.5 hectares is dedicated to land restoration, with a particular focus on the section that connects to Mihi Creek. Richard tells how the weed mass was so dense that a digger had to be used to crash through the lantana

and glycine vine and scoop up giant bucketfuls of asparagus fern. Their vision was no small task – turning the stream into a healthy, functional waterway, and the pond into a refuge for frogs and birds; connecting native vegetation to nearby Mihi Creek; managing weeds to allow assisted natural regeneration; and doing proactive fire management. In three years they have installed more than 1,000 plants, attended ecological workshops, installed nestboxes for microbats, small parrots and phascogales, have used cane toad traps, done countless hours of weed management including steam treatment, and more. Working with council officers through the Land for Wildlife program also led to a connection with local native plant

grower Richard Jonker, who has since added his expertise to the restoration and has set up a small nursery ‘Saltarius’ on site. Richard and Judy have noticed native animals returning to the landscape such as marsh frogs, Eastern brown snakes, white-faced herons, dollarbirds, firetailed gudgeon and yabbies. There is still much work to do, such as establishing the vegetation around the creek and ponds to slow stormwater run-off to prevent erosion and filter nutrients. But Richard admits a personal goal is also to coax the local wrens and finches back into the property by planting more shrubs and habitat where they feel safe. “If we get the small birds I will feel like we have succeeded,” he said.


Caring for our catchment The Bremer Catchment is an important focus for environmental improvement. Collaboration between councils, community groups, landholders and others has made a difference – but there is still much to be done.

Why our catchment matters

BREMER CATCHMENT FAST FACTS � 2,028 square kilometres � Ipswich and Scenic Rim Local Government Areas � 10 sub-catchments in Ipswich � Freshwater and estuarine sections � Rural and urban � Meets Brisbane River and flows to Moreton Bay � Significant species: Queensland lungfish, Swamp Tea-tree communities, Powerful owl, Black-breasted button quail

Keith McCosh, Bremer

Catchment Association President


The Bremer River is a good indicator of how well we manage our land in the catchment. Rainwater flows over the land and collects in our creeks and rivers before being delivered to Moreton Bay. So what ends up in the Bremer can tell us a lot about how well we look after the land. Too much sediment in the Bremer means that our practices are not ‘sustainable’. We are depleting our natural resource base that underpins the whole of our economy. The health of the Bremer is much more than just water quality. Rivers need logs and fallen trees and rocks to stabilise the bed and banks. The Bremer floodplain needs lots of native vegetation and numerous wetlands with special vegetation. Many of the catchment’s unique wildlife species and food webs depend on healthy, connected riparian and aquatic habitats linked to the Bremer River. These are all necessary to provide a healthy, diverse and resilient catchment. So with a bit more care, the freshwater reaches of the Bremer will not deliver excess mud into the estuary and down into Moreton Bay, and our native fish and wildlife can benefit from a network of well connected habitats throughout the catchment. The Bremer will be seen to be healthy.

Ipswich CBD

Ipswich subcatchments


Ipswich Local Government Area


7 6






Bremer Catchment within the Scenic Rim local government area



A system in recovery There has been more than 100 years of rapid change across the Bremer catchment. Clearing for agriculture and urbanisation, industrial uses of the river and tributaries, introduction of pest plants and animals, major flood events, erosion and pollution and more have all taken a toll. Across the catchment many of these issues are being tackled through works to protect and restore our valuable river system. These are just some examples of the work being done in 2024.

Nature-based Solutions to Flooding: The Bremer catchment is part of an Australian-first project to create a framework for nature-based solutions to increase resilience to flood, led by Australian National University in partnership with Ipswich City Council. Resilient Rivers Initiative: South East Queensland councils banded together for coordinated catchment management and on-ground actions. Works in the upper Bremer catchment in Ipswich and Scenic Rim have a flow-on effect to the health of the river system in Ipswich and beyond.


Habitat Connections restoration

Sites such as Shapcott Park in Coalfalls on the Bremer River are being restored with stabilisation works and planting, including community planting days, with a focus on providing habitat for critical species such as the endangered lungfish.





River clean up The CBD reach of the Bremer River is a hotspot for littering, especially shopping trolleys. Council and the community regularly work together on clean-up activities.

Ironpot Creek One of Ipswich’s most damaged creeks with severe erosion, scouring and

Bioretention basins Establishing water treatment wetlands and other green assets such as the Atlantic Drive bioretention basin at Brassall have an important role in filtering pollutants from stormwater runoff.

sediment generation. A major multi-stage project is restoring


sections of the creek with plantings making a significant difference during storm events.



Franklin Vale Creek Initiative

Cod restocking Juvenile Mary River Cod are being released into Bremer catchment waters to return this important native predator to the ecosystem. A recent release was at Rosewood in late 2023, with more releases and monitoring planned for 2024.

Water Smart Street Trees This innovative approach adapts urban kerb and channel to create self- watering street trees, such as at Short and Alice Street, Blackstone. There are benefits in filtering pollution and nutrients from stormwater runoff as well as increasing urban greening.

Partnerships between council and private landowners are restoring and improving the catchment and waterway condition through actions such as revegetation, offline watering points and stock exclusion fencing.


A new plan for Biosecurity Ipswich’s new Biosecurity Plan has put local invasive species in the crosshairs.

IPSWICH HIT LIST These species are among those specifically included in the Ipswich Biosecurity Plan for their impact on the local environment and community.

WHAT’S A GENERAL BIOSECURITY OBLIGATION? Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility. We all have a role in ensuring we protect our lifestyle, industries and environment from invasive plants and animals. The General Biosecurity Obligation (GBO) means that Queenslanders have the responsibility to manage biosecurity risks under their control and knowledge. Queensland’s biosecurity system relies on many stakeholders working together effectively to eradicate or reduce the impact of invasive plants and animals. The new plan is also responsive to priority areas in council’s Natural Environment Strategy, and considers waterways and wetlands, biodiversity and threatened species, Aboriginal cultural heritage and cultural landscape values, urban and rural biodiversity, and sustainable nature-based recreation. However local community feedback during consultation on Ipswich’s new Biosecurity Plan also highlighted species quickly becoming a biosecurity problem in Ipswich, which the community should be encouraged to take action to control, that are not listed by the State. Under the Biosecurity Act 2014 , every local government must have a plan for invasive biosecurity matter, and the State lists specific invasive plant and animal species as restricted or prohibited.

Common myna (Acridotheres tristis) : First released in the 1860s to control garden pests, the birds are now abundant and aggressively compete with native birds and animals for food and nesting.

Cocos palm (Syagrus romanzofficiana) : This fast-

growing, long-lived palm is grown in many Queensland gardens, but its seed is spread by bats and it invades native forest.

Leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) : Planted as a fodder tree, but if not heavily grazed or controlled it can spread rapidly and form impenetrable thickets excluding all other plants.

Glycine vine (Neonotonia wightii) : An environmental weed that can infest extensive areas and smother vegetation, preventing the regeneration of native species.


SES Volunteer: Breannan Day job: Government officer Why I volunteer: I started with wanting to do searches, but realise now SES is much more than that. An action to take right now at home: Make sure your torches have working batteries.

Ready for action The ‘orange army’ of SES volunteers are highly visible in times of disaster, actively responding to community need whether it is fire, storm, search and rescue and more.

However, it is the times between activations – often during the calmer weather of autumn and winter – that those skills are learned and honed, so that volunteers are ready to respond to the call. Ipswich SES Local Controller Kristie-Lee Kolbee said land search training and casualty handling was often done this time of year, as it could be physically strenuous. “It is where you have to carry someone on a stretcher, such as an injured bushwalker,” she said. “Depending on the width of the track and the terrain, it could take up to

12 people if we needed to go hand- over-hand with the stretcher.” Ms Kolbee said White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate and Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate were often used for this training because of their challenging terrain. “Flinders-Goolman is interesting because it has limited phone reception,” she said. “One of the most important things if you are going on a bushwalk, is always to tell someone where you plan to go and when you plan to return.” Ms Kolbee said autumn and winter were also an ideal time to prepare your home.

SES Volunteer: Ryan Day job: Pest control Why I volunteer: To gain extra knowledge and skills An action to take right now at home: Cleaning your gutters

Find information on how to Get Ready at home at Ipswich.qld.gov.au/emergency

SES Volunteer: Nick Day job: Schools officer

Why I volunteer: I love helping the community. Every shift is different and you meet new people. An action to take right now at home: Check on your neighbours, especially if they are elderly.


Who’s been doing a ‘hole’ lot of digging? Ipswich community Facebook pages occasionally light up with photos of mysterious holes appearing in lawns and garden beds.


Bandicoot forage pit. Photo by: Alan Wynn, Land for Wildlife South East Queensland

Often the culprit is the humble bandicoot – and it’s a sign of a healthy environment! Bandicoots are tenacious when foraging for bugs, grubs and roots. These diggings are vital for soil aeration, as well as soil turnover. These holes also allow water and nutrients to better enter the soil, and can become tiny composting pits as they collect leaf litter.

A single bandicoot can be responsible for turning over between 1.6 and 4 tonnes of soil a year. There are two types of bandicoot in South-East Queensland, the long- nosed bandicoot with its softer sleek fur and large ears, and the chunkier northern brown bandicoot, with its coarser brindle coat and smaller ears. They are among a few ground-dwelling native animals that can survive around suburbia – they’re quite good at using a wide range of food sources and general habitat.


These are no ordinary ‘rats’! Ipswich is home to native animals that are often confused with common introduced rats – but are a whole lot better.

Bush rat (Rattus fuscipes) :

Swamp rat (Rattus lutreolus) :

Water rat / Rakali (Hydromys chryogaster) : They are specialised for living in water, with partially webbed hind feet and water repellent fur. They are often confused for platypus when swimming.

Yellow-footed Antechinus (Antechinus flavipes): These shrew-like creatures are famous for the males being so frenzied in mating that they suffer stress- related death!

They live in dense habitat and are shy and solitary creatures. They are omnivores, eating seeds, insects, fruit, plants and nectar.

They make tunnels through native vegetation and eat mostly the stems of grasses and sedges. They avoid areas where humans live.


On the watch for platypus

Dr Tamielle Brunt from Wildlife Queensland shares her tips for spotting this elusive species.

One thing that strikes people who do see platypuses in the wild is that they are smaller than people think. Males average 50cm long and weigh about 1.5kg. Females are around 40cm and 1kg. Given the platypus’ odd appearance with its bill, webbed feet and thick tail that stores fat, you might think they would be difficult to confuse with other species. However, in poor lighting or from a distance, aquatic birds and rakali (native water rat) are sometimes confused for platypus.

Watch for:

There have been recordings in Sandy, Woogaroo-Opossum and Six Mile creek catchments. We can minimise impacts on platypus by maintaining native waterway vegetation, clearing rubbish, stopping chemicals flowing into the systems and reducing irrigation water consumption.

concentric circles or ripples when they dive or feed a trail of bubbles that reveals movement underwater an obvious ‘bow-wave’ when swimming on the surface. Wildlife Queensland with Ipswich City Council have been monitoring this elusive species using environmental DNA (eDNA) to understand their distribution in the region.

Report your platypus sightings on the Atlas of Living Australia. Visit Platy-project.acf.org.au




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Spotlight on species Spotlighting can be one of the most rewarding forms of fauna surveying due to the nocturnal nature of many native Australian animals.

Spotlighting involves using a bright torch to search for ‘eye shine’, which is where an animals eyes reflect the light of the torch back as pinpricks of light in the darkness. Once you’ve spotted a critter you can swap over to red light or use the edge of the torch light to check what you’ve found, and avoid blinding them in the process.

Spotlighting is a great way to see several species of native gliders such as the greater glider, yellow-bellied glider and sugar glider as well as brush-tailed phascogales. These images were taken on a spotlight survey in Spring Mountain. Images by Paul Revie from Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland.


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 Clean Up Australia Day Sunday 3 March 2024 Register a site or pull on some gloves and help out the nation’s largest community-based environment event! Cleanup.org.au

The program w involved in susta wit

INTERACTIVE SPARK Festival July 2024 An exciting art installation will take over Queens Park Environmental Education Centre during the annual SPARK Ipswich Festival

Come and Try Bushcare 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

Open Tuesday to Saturday 9.00 am – 2.00 pm (also open Mondays on school holidays)




COMMUNITY Volunteer Week From 20–26 May we celebrate our volunteers and recognise the crucial role they play in supporting our environment. Interested in joining? See Ipswich.qld.gov.au/volunteering 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 FUNDING Enviroplan Grants There are two funding rounds in March and September for schools or not-for-profit organisations with

WaterFest March–April 2024

World Wildlife Day 3 March 2024

will bring into focus the many ways people can get ainable recreation and improve waterway health, th fishing, nature play, habitat planting and more. Ipswich.qld.gov.au/waterfest

World Water Day 22 March 2024

Earth Day 22 April 2024

natural environment projects. See Ipswich.qld.gov.au/funding

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 17 June 2024

Peaks to Points 20 July – 4 August 2024 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



Trees for Mum 12 May 2024 Share a special morning and plant a tree for, or with, your mum on Mother’s Day. Your planting contributes to the Habitat Connections program improving Ipswich’s waterway health. Be notified of events – click ‘follow’ at Ipswichcitycouncil.eventbrite.com



Creating a wool wonderland!

In July, the Queens Park Environmental Education Centre is going to be transformed into a craft and crochet garden full of surprises as part of SPARK Ipswich. The Pan & Boo experimental exhibition ‘In a World of My Own’, by Ash Wilford and Bec Dodds, will inspire play through a larger-than-life garden with activities and hidden treasures.

As part of the exhibition there will be craft activities and guided learn-to- crochet classes for children during SPARK festival and the June–July school holidays. In celebration, why not grab your wool and craft supplies at home and make some creative pom poms?

What you need: ¼ Wool ¼ Scissors

Steps: 1. Wrap the wool around your fingers – use lots and lots but not too tight! The more wool you use, the fluffier the pom pom will be. TIP – use two different coloured wools at the same time to get a multi-coloured pom pom! 2. Pull the wool off your hand – keep it as a neat bundle. 3. Cut a shorter piece of wool and wrap it around the bundle, make sure to tie and knot it tightly. 4. Cut through the top and bottom of your bundle – you now have a pom pom!


Students creating positive change Raceview State School students are taking their lead in environmental initiatives with the support of Tangalooma EcoMarines and council.

Science teacher Nick Winwood said the school had re-invigorated its environment and sustainability initiatives in collaboration with Tangalooma EcoMarines. “It’s an amazing program and the children have really enjoyed it,” he said. “2023 is the first year we’ve had environment captains, which is a great leap forward for the school.” The environment club would meet each Monday, and the students had taken action. “The first big thing in 2023 was to organise Containers for Change, which has been very successful,” Mr Winwood said.

“The students are all over this – they take out the bins each day and bring them back. They can see the bins filling up and they all want to do it. “The money goes back into environmental projects such as gardening. It’s that circular economy happening.” One of the recent projects was installing wicking garden beds for growing vegetables and flowers. “Using wicking beds is self-sustaining,” Mr Winwood said, adding that they had grown tomatoes and flowers to use in science class, as well as providing some produce for the tuckshop. “The students take ownership of the project, that’s the big thing,” he said. Schools can find out more about support available: Tangalooma EcoMarines – Ecomarines.org Ipswich City Council Enviroed – Ipswich.qld.gov.au/enviroed

Free plants from council’s Nursery are also being planted around the school, increasing habitat and creating ways for the students to be involved in school improvements. Mr Winwood said there was more to come, with ideas for more projects in 2024. Raceview State School was one of the schools that presented at the 2023 Youth Sustainability Summit, sharing their projects and learnings with other Ipswich students. The school also participated in council’s Experience Nature Schools Day, where students engaged in environmental education and activities at Flinders- Goolman Conservation Estate.



100 Australian butterflies, bees, beetles & bugs Georgia Angus 2023

Pollination: How does my garden grow? Christopher Cheng 2023

Something for everyone...


Rebel Gardening: A beginners handbook to creating an organic urban garden Alessandro Vitale 2023

The Sustainable Home: Easy ways to live with nature in mind Ida Magntorn 2022

The Tree at Number 43 Jess McGeachin 2022

Have you visited your local library? There’s something for everyone at 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

Environment Matters is printed on Ecostar Uncoated 100% Recycled Paper

Ipswich City Council PO Box 191, Ipswich Phone (07) 3810 6666 Fax (07) 3810 6731

council@ipswich.qld.gov.au Ipswich.qld.gov.au

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