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Both sides of this stormwater canal in Alexandria has been naturalized by Sydney Water making it a wildlife corridor in an area that is mostly industrial & therefore heavily concreted.

Both sides of this stormwater canal in Alexandria has been naturalized by Sydney Water making it a wildlife corridor in an area that is mostly industrial & therefore heavily concreted.

This Google map shows how important the naturalization of the stormwater canal is  for biodiversity .  The area is industrial & therefore mostly concrete.

This Google map shows how important the naturalization of the stormwater canal is for biodiversity.  The area is industrial & therefore mostly concrete.

The Nick Scali store in O’Riordan Street Alexandria has extensive & very attractive landscaping in front of their store.  This in itself is wonderful & I wish more businesses took care to landscape their street frontage.  It was their landscaping that made us stop the car & have a look.  It was then that we discovered the stormwater canal beside the store & had a walk along it.

The storm water canal travels underneath O’Riordan Street on both sides.   Sydney Water has planted both sides of the stormwater canal with native plants & trees, effectively creating a wildlife corridor.  For what they had to work with, it is very good.  They also left an area of lawn making it a perfect place for local employees to have somewhere natural & away from the traffic to spend their lunch break.  I didn’t see any housing, but I am sure the local children know about this place.

Lilly Pilly fruit was available in abundance

Lilly Pilly fruit was available in abundance

Banksia & Acacia trees lined both sides of the canal, as well as an understory of Grevillias & native grasses & other shrubs that I couldn’t identify.  There were also quite a few Lilly Pilly trees bursting with fruit along the pathway.  This was not something I expected to find in this industrial/retail area.   The pathway is probably a bicycle route & a shortcut for pedestrians though I do not know how far the path travels.

The flora along this stormwater canal is a boon for wildlife in the area, especially as there are lots of native food-producing plants & trees.  It showed me that these usually quite ugly areas can be transformed into something beautiful & immensely beneficial for urban wildlife, even where there is not much space. Often the only fresh water the birds have to drink is the water that dribbles down these canals.

I wonder why these areas are not naturalized more often.   Probably because it costs money, but many of these areas beside stormwater canals across Sydney could be naturalized for just the cost of clearing & the plants by holding regular community planting events.  These places are perfect for improving on biodiversity.

Graffiti signage showing the direction of the Alexandra Canal for those who are lost.

Graffiti signage showing the direction of the Alexandra Canal for those who are lost.

I’ve only seen one other naturalized stormwater canal & that one is opposite Marrickville Metro.  The Sydney Water has planted native plants to see if they can control weeds.  I’d say it has been a resounding success.  Even though you can’t see much from the street, it looks great.  There are Gum trees & many plants, mostly native grasses.  These plants will not only offer habitat & perhaps food for urban wildlife, the plants also cool the area down & make it much more pleasant for the local neighbourhood.

There are two substantial areas beside stormwater canals in Marrickville South between Renwick & Cary Streets & a very large area in Mackey Park.  Both have large areas of lawn & seem like wasted space to me.  The one in Mackey Park appears to be owned by Council.  It would be great if this space could be naturalized.  I have never seen anyone walk there.

Well-done Sydney Water. The O’Riordan Street stormwater canal looks great.  I’ll post photos of the canal opposite Marrickville Metro soon.

Grassed area & pedestrain bridge

Grassed area & pedestrain bridge

Pedestrian pathway lined with Lilly Pilly trees

Pedestrian pathway lined with Lilly Pilly trees. It was a hot day so were grateful for the cool shade.

Area beside Nick Scali

Area beside Nick Scali on the right. This screams – we care about the environment.

Showing a small section of the area beside the stormwater canal in Mackey Park. There are 3 White-faced Herons & 3 Ibis here.

Showing a small section of the area beside the stormwater canal in Mackey Park. There are 3 White-faced Herons & 3 Ibis here – all who have come for a drink.

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The GreenWay is a wildlife corridor along the rail line & links the Cooks River to Iron Cove Bay.  Unfortunately, the future of the GreenWay is considered at serious risk because the NSW government has refused to commit to including the 10-year-old GreenWay in the September 2011 State Budget.  Several credible sources say that the state government intends only to build the light rail.

If this happens it will be a tragic loss for biodiversity, connectivity & habitat for the critically endangered Long-nosed Bandicoot & other birds/animals/reptile/insects, as well as a safe, green shared pedestrian/cycleway.  Marrickville, Canterbury, Ashfield & Leichhardt Councils all support the continuation & funding of the GreenWay.

Yesterday 200 people rode a section of the GreenWay to peacefully protest & try to convince the NSW state government not to abandon funding for the GreenWay.  See – http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/cyclists-ride-to-support-proposed-greenway-20110828-1jgn9.html

You can help by visiting Friends of the GreenWay website.  They have created an email template that will allow you to spend very little time sending off an email to the Premier & the Minister for Transport. Please help. There is not much time left. This is where armchair activism can have a big impact.  http://www.friendsofthegreenway.org.au/

Showing a section of the GreenWay at Dulwich Hill. Local residents have been working as volunteers for a long time to create this special place.

Ibis nesting high up in the trees

We discovered this park a couple of months ago & what a discovery it was.  If you are into nature, a bit of bush, water, birds & walking, this is a great place for a wander.   The sign says it was opened for the bicentenary in 1988. The park is divided into 3 sections known as North, South & East. This post is about East & North Bicentennial Park. We have yet to visit South Bicentennial Park, which looks more of a wild park as it’s part of wetlands. It’s a big place that joins with Scarborough Park, which has its own North, East, South & Central. Scarborough Park Central is more like a regular park with playing fields & a skate park filled with talented kids.

View from one part of the walk

If you wander through the playing fields to the bank of trees, you find yourself entering a bush area filled with trees. Many of the trees are quite substantial in girth & height & must be a few decades old.

A ring of moving water does an oval journey around a couple of islands before it travels to a wetland lake in South Bicentennial Park on the other side of President Avenue.  The islands are filled with natural bush & trees. Many of the trees have Ibis nests high up in the branches with families of Ibis perching. It’s quite a sight.

The sound from baby birds trilling, as only Ibis do, was lovely.  There were also wild ducks & geese when we were there.  The path around the islands & to the pedestrian bridge is a wide path of mown grass, no concrete anywhere, which feels like a luxury these days.

Bridge over the water near the car park

It’s safe with enough people with dogs walking around to know that someone would hear you if you needed help, yet you are far enough away from the traffic & the sight of buildings to feel you are anywhere other than in the Inner South East of Sydney. The terrain is mostly flat, suitable for a pram, but not a wheelchair. However, there is a car park near the water & a pedestrian bridge that is suitable for a wheelchair.

It’s a fabulous place for a walk or a picnic as there are plenty of shady places to lay a blanket & watch the birds & other wildlife. There are also plenty of places for the kids to have a run or explore.  The skate park is part of Scarborough Park. When we were there it was filled with kids & I watched while they took turns allowing the little less experienced or younger children have a go before they did their runs & leaps into the air.

Another view along the path

Rockdale Council has done a very great thing with this group of parks.  They have ensured that there is something for everyone whilst protecting areas purely for wildlife habitat.  The map shows they have protected & worked on a significant wildlife corridor that is perfect habitat for water birds.  I think they should be commended for this. In the past the area would have been drained, filled in & housing built on it or the park would have been made accessible for people from corner to corner with the wildlife having to make do. That this area has been made a wildlife sanctuary is a wonderful thing.  We loved the place & will go again because there is a lot to see.

 

1.   4 new Australian National Parks have been opened in Victoria in June 2010 – the Barmah, Lower Goulburn, Warby Ovens & Gunbower National Parks have been established to protect drought stressed Red Gums. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/29/2939503.htm

2.  South East Queensland got 2 new national parks this week at Tewantin & Pumicestone to protect remnant forests.  2000 hectares was also added to Glass House National Park & 13 of the 14 peaks of the Glass House Mountains are now in the park. These parks will protect threatened stringybark & scribbly gum forests & the rare & threatened glossy Black Cockatoo (I’ve seen these wild in Cooroy), the Wallum Rocketfrog, the Sooty Owl & the Water Mouse. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/new-national-parks-for-seq-20100623-yxc5.html

3.  Lend Lease is building an over-55 residential living & nursing home development in Morpeth NSW approved by Maitland City Council.  One of the things Maitland City Council also approved was the removal of more than 900 trees (not a typo) that are to be chopped down for the development.  The trees were called a buffer zone, which to me means an area that is a habitat for wildlife corridor. The residents are angry. http://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/news/local/news/general/woes-ignored/1867183.aspx

4.   Community protesters against a plan to transfer Moore Park to the SCG trust have won their fight. Last Wednesday night 1,000 people met at Paddington Town Hall. The next day Premier Kristina Keneally said the land would not be taken from the Centennial Park trust. http://sydney-central.whereilive.com.au/news/story/moore-park-saved-community-victorious-over-revolting-land-transfer-plans/

5.   The Opinion section of the Batemans Bay Post had a letter from Rosemary Hughes from Surf Beach about a DA for a new Bunnings. She writes, “…to my horror, I learned that the Bunnings proposal will remove tens of thousands of trees & huge amounts of earth/rock from alongside the tourist drive road next to the Surf Beach roundabout, creating a vast flat open space equivalent to 7 football fields with a monster shed over 200 metres long.  It will mean the loss of a huge area of habitat & connecting corridors for an important range of native fauna. Bird life will be equally devastated.” Surely both Bunnings could choose a better site & the Batemans Bay Council will protect such an area. Here’s hoping sense prevails.  The other letters are also interesting regarding environmental matters. http://www.batemansbaypost.com.au/news/opinion/letters/general/letters-to-the-editor-23610/1866731.aspx?storypage=0

6.    The Department of Climate Change has put together a new mapping tool that identifies areas at risk of flooding by rising sea levels.  This is to be distributed to Councils soon.  Last Marrickville Council meeting Mackey Park & Botany Bay area were mentioned as areas that could be affected by a 1 metre sea rise, yet climate experts think the actual rise will be more like 2 metres.  Amazing to think what would have to be submerged if Mackey Park became beachfront. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/mapping-tool-for-councils-charts-sealevel-rises-to-2100-20100628-zf9w.html

7.   Railcorp has angered residents by chopping down trees alongside the railway line in Epping & they intend to do more at Beecroft. Railcorp said, The site of the works was found to be 95% noxious species of plants & the remaining natives were left in place & pruned.” http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/rta-claims-tree-lopping-an-improvement/

8.   Community group Save Our Springwood are angry saying they were actively ignored by the majority of Councillors during a Blue Mountains Council meeting regarding community opposition to the building of a supermarket in Springwood. Apparently 7 Councillors “sat silently” for the entire 2½ hour meeting, even after members of the crowd asked them questions.” Between 230-400 residents attended the Council meeting. I would have loved to have been there. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/blue-mountains-residents-ignored-by-silent-seven-councillors/

9.    Goondiwindi Regional Council chopped down an unspecified number of Fig trees in McLean Street Goondiwindi because “the figs were damaging the footpath & getting in the way of power lines” much to the anger of the community. The Fig trees were young at around 50 years old & are what Goondiwindi is known for. Not any more they aren’t. http://www.goondiwindiargus.com.au/news/local/news/general/residents-fuming-over-fig-tree-loss/1865921.aspx

10.  One of Australia’s rarest birds has been spotted in remote Western Australia. (audio) http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2010/06/21/2932972.htm

11. The IKEA heritage Fig has been removed. See below.  There is a lot happening regarding trees & related things at the moment.  Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.

The IKEA heritage Fig was relocated on Saturday 26th June 2010. The tree is now is now much closer to the Princes Highway at the side of the old Penfold's clock tower building. It was moved about 40-50 metres. Thanks to Laurel Horton who took this photo to & Richard Blair both of Marrickville Heritage Society for the information as well as permission to use this photo.

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