Kidney disease

11/02/2014

Apparently the collective noun for cormorants is a flight, but what happens when they’re just standing still?

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The ownership of waterways within Newcastle’s Throsby Creek and Cottage Creek catchments is about as mixed and varied as you can get. Hunter Water owns most of it, but Newcastle City Council owns chunks and other parts are in private hands, or pass through buried channels with easements over privately owned properties.

The result is that our waterways’ maintenance is divided between many different parties. Hunter Water relies on rates and catchment contributions for work on major stretches of the Hunter River and its tributaries, with larger works (such as the work on Throsby Creek’s banks in recent years) coming from federal government. Smaller grants are available for community groups, and I was pleased to see this one from Islington Public School:

Islington Public School is located in the Newcastle City Council area and its student population take an active role in serving their local community. Hunter Water’s grant will go towards raising awareness about the conservation of Styx and Throsby creeks with a project that will use recycled materials to filter runoff from the school playground and surrounding area before entering Styx Creek. This project will help keep Styx Creek and ultimately Throsby Creek clean.

I also got a newsletter from Council with my latest rates notice. In it was information on two rehabilitation projects Council has funded and carried out: one at Coal Mine Creek (Richley Reserve) and another at Gunambi Reserve, Wallsend.

This is heartening stuff. My stretch of the Styx works non-stop on its own rehabilitation. I sometimes wonder how long it would take for Nature to reclaim the drain. Imagine that the zombie apocalypse has come and gone and there are no more clean-up crews to cut back the grass and poison the reeds and shrubs and grasses that occupy the skinny cracks in the concrete bankings.

regrowth3_feb2014

Some trees were cut down on Bates Street a year or so ago. Their response? Get the root ball to send a few suckers down into the creek.

regrowth1_feb2014

It really does make the place look a bit prettier. Not much, but a bit. The interesting aspect about this is that Hunter Water and the Hunter – Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority has over recent years produced several publications that encourage landowners to protect reed beds and filtering plants on their properties as these plots are “nature’s kidneys” and reduce the inflow of pollutants and agricultural fertilisers into the water system. I suppose the sad fact is that, by the time we get to this stretch of the Styx, we’ve all given up on any chance of pollutants being filtered out. Nature’s kidneys are, by Hamilton North, effectively knackered.

regrowth2_feb2014

I hope the kids at Islington Public School have some success in turning attitudes around. I look forward to seeing what they get up to.

And here’s a rat who was so perfectly camouflaged that I nearly stood on him. I don’t think he’d mind though; I have a feeling he might be a bit under the weather.

dead_rat_feb2014


News flash

18/06/2013

This Saturday, the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority is having a day at Tighes Hill Public School to train people in identifying marine debris. I’ve seen a flyer, but can’t find it on line, but here’s the words:

Residents of the lower Throsby Creek catchment regularly see litter building up among the mangroves along the creek, particularly at Smedmore Cove on the Carrington side of the Hannell St bridge. While the mangroves trap the litter here temporarily, the  tides dislodge it and carry it out to sea, where it endangers the lives of sea birds, turtles and other marine  life.
The Lake Macquarie-Newcastle arm of Ocean & Coastal Care Initiatives (OCCI) have been invited to train interested residents in collecting and surveying litter that has gathered in the Throsby Creek catchment and assist them in adding their findings to a national database as  part of the Australian Marine Debris Initiative.
By doing this we’ll not only be improving the amenity of  natural areas in our neighbourhood, and potentially  saving the lives of marine animals, we’ll also be contributing to a national picture of marine debris on our  coasts and building a case for action from manufacturers and retailers of the products regularly found in our  waterways.

The training is this Saturday, 22 June 2013, from 9.00 am – 1.30 pm. Venue is Tighes Hill Public School; morning tea and lunch provided.

If you’re interested, contact Ingrid on 0405 761 593 or email <lake.macquarie.newcastle@occi.org.au>.

I’ll be there. Might see you too!