Gold Coast Catchment Crawl 2017

Wal Mayr giving a presentation on Austinville’s restoration projects

On the 3rd of June, the Gold Coast Catchment Association held it’s largest ever annual Catchment Crawl. 55 keen environmentalists of all different ages and levels of restoration experience packed themselves into two full buses and journeyed into Austinville Valley. The day was a part of Gold Coast Green Week run by Gecko and was a great example of how multiple environmental initiatives can come together and actually create landscape change within one catchment.

Austinville Valley Restoration Sites

Austinville Valley is located past Mudgeeraba in the Gold Coast Hinterland. It has a flourishing Landcare group as well as intensive rainforest regeneration projects throughout the catchment aimed at saving the endangered sub-tropical lowland rainforest. This makes it an ideal location to demonstrate various endangered native species and examples of regeneration work in each of its many stages.

The tour stopped off at various locales across the upper catchment of Mudgeeraba Creek. Visitors were able to hear talks from Wal Mayr of the Gold Coast Catchment Association about the work of various council and volunteer groups and to gain an understanding of the history and uniqueness of Austinville Valley. Mike Boyd from Austinville Landcare showed the various sites their group has restored since its founding in 2005, focusing particularly on riparian restoration initiatives and the impact of Cyclone Debbie last month. Paul Donatui from Healthy Land and Water imparted some of his vast knowledge on how to spot and identify rainforest treasures hidden amongst the brush, such as the vibrant purple seeds of the endemic Gympie Gympie.

There was also a special demonstration from one of the local bush regeneration contractors, Isaac Wishart from Earthstone Restoration. Wishart demonstrated how best to prepare regeneration sites and eradicate weeds. Visitors were also lucky enough to see this rainforest guru in action as he spotted completely camouflaged orchards, reptiles and crystals nestled amongst the scrub. Plus we can’t forget the delicious bush damper hand-made by local Austinvillian Dean Markey – the only feedback being that there could have been more!

Gympie Gympie Dendrocnide moroides

The Catchment Crawl combined the work of a number of governmental, council and volunteer organisations and it is a perfect demonstration of what can be achieved through coordination. The Beaches to Bushland program run by Gold Coast City Council’s Natural Areas Management Unit (NAMU), together with Land for Wildlife private conservation, National Parks and Healthy Land and Water all helped to make this day possible. Local councillor Glenn Tozer partially funded the crawl, ensuring the transport, scrumptious lunch and organisation was as seamless as possible.

On top of learning to identify native and non-native plants and acquiring skills to take back to their own properties or environmental groups, visitors to the Gold Coast Catchment Crawl gained a sense of kinship and belonging.

Austinville Landcare member Mike Boyd

The day proved that there are so many individuals and groups throughout the Gold Coast dedicated to restoring our beautiful and unique rainforest and preserving it well into the future. By creating connections and facilitating communication between these people and groups, it became clear to everyone that they are not alone in what my sometimes feel a lonesome endeavour. There is certainly plenty of hope, tonnes of support and hopefully next year a bit more damper!

[box]Congratulations on an inspiring Catchment Crawl this year ! The achievements of the Landcare group have been remarkable … the environmental and social benefits are incalculable and priceless and the inspirational effects ripple out to spur on people elsewhere. It is amazing what has been achieved over the last dozen or so years, well done. There really was a lot packed into those 6 hours…it was a wonderful day all round![/box]

[box]Thank you so much for organising an awesome day last week. It was great to get out into the area and I appreciate the efforts that you and the community have put together. I definitely came away inspired from the day and also with a few ideas that I would like to try and implement with BeachCare in the near future. [/box]

[box]What a wonderful day we had! Thank you so much for making this possible. Apart from the obvious nuisance of hoons and alike your area seems to be paradise and worth to protect :-)![/box]

[box]Thank YOU for organising a fun and informative day. It’s great to meet people who are doing positive things despite the challenges.[/box]

[box]Just a follow up to yesterday to say what a great day it was – well organised, interesting, uplifting, and a great lunch to boot.[/box]