Environment Matters Spring - Summer 2023

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Spring/Summer 2023


HOT TOPIC for city

BATTY discoveries


Image: Chestnut-breasted mannikin. Photographer: Matt Parker

ON-DEMAND Large Item Kerbside Collection Ipswich City Council’s large item kerbside collection is switching to an on-demand service for residents.


WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR ME? You will receive the same great service as the previous two-year collection schedule, with additional benefits including:

More flexibility and convenience

Greater frequency of service You will be able to request a free large item collection once a year – no more waiting

Increased environmental sustainability

Improved safety You will receive a large container for your on-demand large item kerbside collection, reducing the risk of debris and other waste littering your kerbside.

You will get to choose when your large items are collected – no more waiting for your street’s official collection day.

An on-demand service allows council to better sort materials and divert resources from landfill.

two years for a free collection.


Council is working to source the right provider to deliver this important service to our community. We will provide updates as they become available.

You can find more information about large item kerbside collection at Ipswich.qld.gov.au/kerbside


What’s in this issue 4


Celebrate Sustainable Ipswich in October


Co-designing a productive future

Sign up at Ipswich.qld.gov.au/subscribe


Increasing resilience to future floods


Home Sweet Home – Microbat style


The danger of urban heat


A solution in urban greening

10 Pollinating ideas 11

Reclaiming our waterways naturally

12 What’s On 13 Kids Corner

Ipswich’s first FOGO school leads the way

16 At your library

CREATURE FEATURE One of the first signs you’re near a Chestnut- breasted Mannikin ( Lonchura castaneothorax ) is their distinctive bell-like “tink” call. With a range stretching from Papua New Guinea, through the Kimberley region in the Northern Territory, down along eastern Australia and into New South Wales, the Chestnut-breasted Mannikin is well-known to birdwatchers, including in Ipswich. The birds prefer to inhabit swamps, mangroves and open grasslands. As omnivores they will happily snack on grass seeds or the occasional winged termite. Chestnut-breasted Mannikins are a highly social bird and can be found in large groups. They nest in colonies, their nests close together in grass clumps or reeds, less than two metres from the ground.


Image: Chestnut-breasted Mannikin. Photographer: Gail Bryant

NEW! SUSTAINABLE LIVING FESTIVAL 21 OCT: Bring the whole family to Tulmur Place for a free interactive festival celebrating sustainability. Find workshops, fun activities for the kids, food, stalls and more. BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! SUSTAINABLE OPEN GARDEN TRAIL 7 OCT: Be inspired by everyday Ipswich residents who are turning average backyards into sustainable havens. Find out what you can do at home too. JUST FOR SCHOOLS! YOUTH SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT 11 OCT: This annual event inspires our next generation by showcasing sustainability actions that Ipswich students can take back to their schools. COMING SOON! BUSINESS NETWORKING EVENT A special EcoBiz workshop will provide local businesses an insight to building sustainable practices and an opportunity to share ideas.


in October


This annual feast of sustainable living returns with some new and exciting ways to get involved! During the month of October there will be a range of workshops, events and activities designed to inspire you with new ideas.

For the full program go to Ipswich.qld.gov.au/ sustainability

KITCHEN AND GARDEN Food waste and sustainable gardening

EFFICIENT HOME Energy and water efficiency

GETTING AROUND Sustainable travel and transportation

CIRCULAR ECONOMY Reduce, reuse, repair and recycle and the share economy

BUYING BETTER Buy local and buy recycled


Co-designing a productive future This long-standing community garden is taking on a new life through permaculture.

garden’s objectives. The volunteers are now putting in the work to make the vision a reality. Michael said the principle was “using nature to do the work for us” to create a productive garden that was resilient, regenerative and abundant. “The plant species do most of the work, they are designed to work together with fauna such as birds, beneficial insects, and the soil microbes,” he said. “So for instance the birds and beneficial insects are doing the work for us in pest management and we don’t need to bring anything in.” Michael said the garden could bring many types of enjoyment for the local community and provide a “living classroom” of what people may be able to do in their own home and garden.

“Permaculture is not only about gardens. It is a design process to meet human needs while enhancing ecosystem health. Human needs are not just about growing food,” he said. “The community centre is a hub for the local community for many reasons. Having that garden is not just about growing food, but a place of healing, relaxation and socialisation. “If this garden is meeting the needs of the community, they will want to interact with it. And that is where the magic happens.” Ipswich Plant Swap meets 9.30 am on every third Saturday of the month at the Leichhardt One Mile Community Centre. Find out more at Facebook.com/ipswichplantswap

A collaboration between the Leichhardt One Mile Community Centre, Ipswich Plant Swap and Savour Soil Permaculture has led to a co-designed space with benefits for both produce and people. The community garden has a long history, most recently with the Ipswich Plant Swap group setting up regular meets and holding workshops. Over time the garden has changed and evolved. With the support of the Centre, volunteers have helped drive and implement a new phase based on permaculture principles. Michael from Savour Soil Permaculture said months of work initially created a design that considered the site’s soils, topography and aspect. This led to a management plan with a list of species suitable for the site conditions and the





Increasing resilience to future floods FLOOD IS A REALITY OF LIFE IN IPSWICH

Since the major floods of 2022, council and the community have been taking action to increase our city’s resilience to future flooding events.

VOLUNTARY HOME BUY-BACK This program, administered by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, enabled the voluntary buy-back of homes that were most severely impacted and at the greatest risk of future flooding. Houses and land purchased under the voluntary program became the property of council, with buildings demolished and the land set to be re-zoned so houses cannot be rebuilt. As of 30 June there had been 82 voluntary buy-backs, covering more than 23 hectares of land. These new vacant areas may be considered for uses suitable to their flood risk, such as sporting fields, parkland or natural areas.

GAUGE AND CAMERA NETWORK A new network of 11 livestream flood cameras have been installed on important waterway locations across the city. These can provide real-time community information in future flood events. The live camera feeds are open to the public. Find them on the Disaster Dashboard at Disaster.ipswich.qld.gov.au Council has also invested in improvements to rainfall and river gauges at key locations to provide real- time data during severe weather events.

ENVIRONMENTAL FLOOD RECOVERY Over 12 months following the floods council removed about 11,920kg of debris during the clean up of our waterways. Council also assessed the condition of waterways across the city and identified 20 high priority sites for rehabilitation. Significant repairs were also made to conservation estate tracks and trails, with further works to increase resilience to future flood events. A special flood bursary was offered to Landholder Conservation Partnerships Program members to restore and build resilience in flood-damaged waterways. Works carried out varied from revegetation and weed management, through to engineered solutions such as rock stabilisation.



Landholder Conservation Partnerships Program member Nicky Tait made an unusual discovery on her property at The Bluff.

It’s a rather strange home for them seeing as it was open to the elements from the top, such as sun and rain. They were there for a few nights then gone again. I’m hoping to install some boxes so I can encourage them back to eat all my bugs. BOXES FOR MICROBATS Microbats prefer to roost in tree hollows, but in places lacking natural habitat, an artificial box can provide refuge. Typically, a bat box has a narrow entrance slit at the bottom, a landing plate extending below the entrance, an internal cavity able to hold a group of 1–50 microbats, horizontal grooves on internal surfaces for gripping and hinged lid for monitoring. There are some important things to consider when building or installing a bat box. Find great information through the Australasian Bat Society – Ausbats.org.au

After building our dairy entertainment area I used to see one microbat which would hang upside down at night inside from the roof. I saw it on and off for a couple of weeks. Then it disappeared. Occasionally I would get one that flew inside which I would have to shoo outside. Then a few months later I was showing my father-in-law the cows and horses over the fence. My daughter had climbed up on the timber part of the fencing near the big gate. She squealed and said “OMG I can hear something!” and peered into the hollow at the top of the log. She leapt back and said “oooooh gross... rats!” Immediately I jumped up knowing full well they wouldn’t be rats and hoping it would be a micro bat family. So had a look and yes, there was all these tiny bodies squashed all together. A large family of I think around 15 microbats all piled into the end of the log.



Council heat map of the urban footprint.










WHAT IS IT? Our urban areas have a lot of paved and dark-coloured surfaces such as roads, roofs and carparks. These hard surfaces absorb the sun’s heat, causing the surface and surrounding temperatures to rise, as well as trapping that heat and taking longer to cool down at night. As a result of this ‘urban heat island effect’, urban areas can be several degrees hotter than country areas. Did you know: The surface temperature of concrete can reach 65°C under full sun. WHAT ARE WE DOING IN IPSWICH? A three-year collaborative project has focused on gathering important data for understanding our local urban heat island issue, and potential solutions.

Heatwaves are a silent killer, having caused more deaths since 1890 than bushfires, cyclones, earthquakes, floods and severe storms combined. A heatwave has unusually hot temperatures over at least 3 days, generally during October to March. Extreme heatwaves are a risk for anyone who does not take precautions to keep cool – even those who are healthy – and can impact infrastructure such as power and transport. Have a plan to beat the heat Drink plenty of water Stay out of the sun Keep cool Check on and look after others – and don’t forget your pets! Be Heatwave Ready – find more information at Ipswich.qld.gov.au/emergency

Ipswich City Council, University of the Sunshine Coast and Griffith University worked together to install sensors to gather temperature and humidity data in local urban areas. Two locations, Ipswich Central and Ripley, were then modelled and virtual reality was used to provide real-time solutions for community feedback. The project found several areas in Ipswich’s urban footprint are prone to urban heat island effect, especially during heatwaves. No ‘cool islands’ were identified. The overnight minimums are consistently higher than the temperature recorded by the Bureau of Meteorology. Citywide heat mapping has also helped identify priority areas for actions to reduce urban heat island effect.

VR simulation of Brisbane Street Ipswich




WHAT IS IT? Urban greening through tree planting is a simple and effective natural solution for cooling cities. Trees draw soil moisture into their leaves, which evaporates from the surface and cools the air. Trees also reduce heat, glare and UV radiation by absorbing sunlight and shading hard surfaces. Planting native trees also increases wildlife food resources, improves stormwater quality, stores carbon and provides attractive recreation areas and active travel routes in neighbourhoods. Did you know: Every 10 per cent of tree canopy cover increase can result in a decrease of more than 1 degree in summer. WHAT ARE WE DOING IN IPSWICH?

Ipswich backyards can make an immense difference to urban cooling.

intensity and UV levels, increasing tree canopy and shading is considered the best cooling strategy. However, the trees must be mature and form a continuous shading canopy to provide optimal cooling. Council has adopted an Urban Greening Plan to increase urban tree planting, setting goals of 90 per cent of trees to reach healthy maturity and at least 50 per cent to be local species. Data has been used to determine priority areas for street tree plantings, with factors including day and night temperature, existing canopy cover, footpath infrastructure and social vulnerability. A series of community tree plantings launched on-ground action across Ipswich in 2023. The work to increase canopy cover continues through community efforts and council’s urban greening program.

Our homes create a lot of heat that contributes to urban heat issues. Thankfully, there’s something you can do about it! Planting native trees and shrubs lowers surface and air temperatures around your home. And if your whole neighbourhood gets involved – the benefits are enormous. Join council’s free Habitat Gardens program funded through Enviroplan. You have access to workshops, experts and additional free plants. See Ipswich.qld.gov.au/lcpp If you live in Ipswich you can claim 6 free plants through council’s nursery each year, either at Queens Park Nursery or through the Mobile Nursery. See Ipswich.qld.gov.au/freeplants

Given Ipswich’s humid subtropical summers and high solar radiation

Greening Your Suburb plantings.


Pollinating ideas Three high-profile biodiversity experts ‘duked it out’ in an informative and entertaining debate at the recent Experience Nature Family Day.


Which species is the most important for pollination? We bring the main points for you to decide.






Representing the bats: Dr Peggy Eby

Representing the bees: Dr Tim Heard

Representing the birds: Professor Hugh Possingham

The PROS check Bats migrate and carry pollen long distances and in complex patterns. Bats are able to track the eruptive pulses of pollen as different species of flower. Bats pollinate in huge numbers ensuring a thorough spread of pollen. The CONS Xmark Bats eat a lot of things beside flowers and pollen. Bats are under threat through habitat clearing and climate change.

The PROS check Bees are ‘professional pollinators’ and gain all their food from nectar and pollen. Plants evolved with bees, with species such as legumes only pollinated by bees. Bees are in the billions – and their short lifecycles mean they can scale up quickly. The CONS Xmark Bees are short-range pollinators and may not reach other plants of the same species. Native bees aren’t active in the cold weather.

The PROS check Birds are always pollinating – day and night, no matter the weather. Birds waste less pollen and are effective at getting pollen to different plants of the same species. Diverse bird species have evolved both as general and specialised pollinators. The CONS Xmark Many birds have diverse diets, turning to food sources other than pollen.


Ultimately, all pollinators play a vital role in the ecosystem. Good pollination generates seeds that are genetically diverse and better able to respond to climate challenges.

Habitat loss is the single greatest threat to all these species. Make a difference at home by planting native flowering species and letting the grass grow and leaf litter remain.


Reclaiming our waterways naturally A major stabilisation project in one of Ipswich’s priority creeks showcases the importance of natural materials in rehabilitating damaged and eroded waterways.

Woogaroo Creek bank stabilisation

Woogaroo Creek bank during flow

Two sites along Woogaroo Creek in Goodna have been transformed following a waterway recovery project completed in May 2023. In both sites logs, large tree rootballs, rocks, jute matting and about 3,000 native plants have been installed to stabilise the banks, increase resilience to future flood events, and provide habitat for native species. Typically projects such as this can use hundreds of logs each time, so wherever possible salvaged materials are used. Logs might come from sources such as land cleared for a road widening project, or trees felled due to safety issues, or flood debris that is causing a hazard such as logs trapped under a bridge. Using salvaged materials minimises the environmental impact of the project and provides a positive use for trees that would otherwise be turned to woodchip.

PILE FIELDS Upright logs installed in the creekbank are called pile fields. These are designed to slow the velocity of flood water as it rises and inundates the bank, and provide protection to the bank and plants. In 15–20 years these pile fields will rot away, by which time the native trees will have grown and will provide bank protection instead.

ROOT BALLS Rootballs from large trees placed in the creek are an important element of the

project. Scour will form around the rootballs, creating pools that are ideal habitat for species such as fish, turtles, crustaceans and even platypus.

Salvaging mature lomandra

Council uses thousands of plants each year in revegetation projects – usually small tubestock. When an opportunity to salvage 60 mature lomandra from a transport project site came up, council officers were quick to act. The plants were dug out with a machine to minimise rootball interference, and transported to an existing Habitat Connections site on Bundamba Creek. A trench with deep watering and slow-release native fertiliser was prepared for the lomandra to provide the best opportunity for establishment.


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 Get Ready Week 9–15 October 2023

Get Ready Week is a chance for all Queenslanders to prepare for severe weather. What’s your ‘what if’ plan? Getready.qld.gov.au


Bushcare working bees All year

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

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




AT HOME Backyard Bird Count Between 16–22 October 2023 spend 20 minutes outside and count all the birds! Submit your findings at Aussiebirdcount.org.au OUTDOORS Great Southern Bioblitz Download the iNaturalist app and join this international citizen science event between 24–27 November. See Greatsouthernbioblitz.org CHILDREN Go wild at QPEEC The Queens Park Environmental Education Centre will have school holiday activities to enjoy! Open 9.30 am – 1.30 pm Tuesday to Friday (except for Christmas closure period). Follow Ipswichcitycouncil.eventbrite.com

World car free day 22 September 2023

Frog ID Week 10–19 November 2023

Sustainable Ipswich October 2023 Join this celebration of everyday activities we can

World Fisheries Day 21 November 2023

take as a community to create a more liveable city. There’s lots of ways to be involved! Ipswich.qld.gov.au/sustainability

World Soil Day 5 December 2023


World Rivers Day habitat planting Sunday 24 September 2023 Help plant native species at Shapcott Park in Coalfalls to help restore and revive our waterways for wildlife, including our Bremer River lungfish population. Be notified of events – click ‘follow’ at Ipswichcitycouncil.eventbrite.com


Culture on Country 10 September 2023

As part of Galvanized Festival celebrate First Nations culture with workshops, food, local stories, dance and images at the Flinders- Goolman Conservation Estate. Ipswichfestivals.com.au


Give your project a funding boost Schools and early learning centres may be eligible for council funding for environmental projects. Through the Enviroplan Levy Community Funding you can apply for up to $3,000 towards a project that meets environmental objectives. Increase community understanding of the value of the natural environment and local environmental issues and impacts Increase community action that benefits the natural environment Improve the condition of bushland or the conservation of native flora and fauna on private or public land. There are two funding rounds per year, in March and September. See Ipswich.qld.gov.au/funding for more information. Need some pointers on writing a great grant application? Council runs Grant Writing workshops through the year. Email enviroed@ipswich.qld.gov.au for more information.


Go with the flow Create your own miniature river and discover how changes in the catchment impact waterways and erosion. WHAT TO DO: Create a natural winding creek in the sand. Build up the banks and decorate with miniature items. Use the watering can to simulate rain – and see what happens! Where does the sand dissolve?

WHAT YOU NEED: badge-check Container with one end cut out for water to escape badge-check Sand or similar badge-check Full watering can badge-check Things to decorate – toy cars, animals, buildings, twigs and leaves

Experiment with different waterways, including using various depths along the waterway, and putting in a partial or full block of the waterway. Also change the height and steepness of the banks. BONUS: Look up the path of a river or creek in your local area. Can you recreate it in the sand?


Ipswich’s first

school leads the way

At Haigslea State School students are making sure their food waste is destined for compost through signing up to a FOGO service with Ipswich Waste Services. Teacher Christine Moore said Haigslea State School were looking at ways to make their school more sustainable, and composting on site had run into some difficulties.

Council’s Environmental Education Officer suggested signing up to a FOGO (food organics, garden organics) service, which accepts food and garden waste and turns it into compost. Ms Moore said students had been active leaders in this and other initiatives to reduce as much waste as possible from landfill. “Our Year 6 students formed the Sustainability Squad for which they have created their own logo and hold their own meetings. They take turns completing different roles which include Bin Monitors – helping our younger students to figure out which bin their rubbish should be placed into. They are also educating the students on assembly each week,” she said. Ms Moore said they had changed lunch routines, with rubbish now only placed in bins when the bell goes at the end. This means the Bin Monitors can help students with correct sorting. “This has actually made lunch a more calm, enjoyable time and it has helped significantly with educating the diversion initiatives such as FOGO they hope to remove at least one red lid bin from their school for good. “This FOGO initiative will help us to implement other initiatives such as Nude Lunch on Fridays as the students can then go home with an empty lunch box.” younger students,” she said. Ms Moore said through waste

What goes into ? It’s important that you only put organic and compostable items in the FOGO bin.

Food scraps and leftovers

Meat scraps and bones

Dairy products Egg shells

Garden waste

Branches and twigs

Grass clippings

Coffee grounds

For more information see Ipswich.qld.gov.au/FOGO



The Climate Change Garden: Down to Earth Advice for Growing a Resilient Garden Sally Morgan, 1957–2023

Butterflies & Moths David Carter, 2023

Something for everyone...


Living Wild: New Beginnings in the Great Outdoors Oliver Maclennan, 2023

Nature Is a Human Right: Why We’re Fighting for Green in a Grey World [electronic resource] Ellen Miles, 2022

10 Ideas to Save the Planet Giuseppe D’Anna, 2021

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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