News from the Riverkeeper Network. Members of the Riverkeeper Network are encouraged to send through stories for publication and promotion.

“Enthusiastic” and “Exciting” - The Parramatta River Riverkeeper network kicks off with its inaugural public meeting.

“Enthusiastic” and “Exciting” - The Parramatta River Riverkeeper network kicks off with its inaugural public meeting.

The first public meeting of the Riverkeeper network was held on Tuesday 13th of September at Parramatta Town Hall. Dr Jacinta Green, the inaugural Parramatta River Riverkeeper (a position funded through the Local Landcare Coordinators Initiative) met with an array of interested community members including scientists, landscape architects, fisherman, and local residents.

The task of the Riverkeeper is establish a network of individuals, organisations and community groups who care about the health of the Parramatta River and surrounding catchment.

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A Treemendous day for Venturer Scouts at Bundilla September 2016

A Treemendous day for Venturer Scouts at Bundilla September 2016

Venturer Scouts from around NSW converged on Bundilla Scout Camp Winston Hills over the weekend September 10-11 for the first of many weekends restoring the riparian zone around Toongabbie Creek. The Scouts learnt about the local ecosystems, which includes several endangered communities, how the creek connects to the Parramatta River, native fauna and how to plant habitat islands for small native birds.

Greater Sydney Landcare Network provided some amazing speakers and special thanks goes to Jeff Cotrell who gave the Venturer Scouts hands on land management techniques for weed removal. Special thanks also to Bev Debincrat (Greater Sydney Landcare Network) who taught the Venturer Scouts how to plant specifically to create habitats to protect the small bird species.

Shaun Lesslie, the Hills District Venturer Scout Leader said “The plan is to set the Bundilla Scout camp up as a centre for focusing on the environment. This is the first of many groups who will be focusing on weed removal and native species replanting along Toongabbie Creek. We also tested the water quality and hope to have this whole area transformed within ten years.

Dr. Jacinta Green, the Local Landcare coordinator for the Parramatta River Catchment area and the Parramatta River Riverkeeper said “The Toongabbie Creek, and areas like this are critical in the plans to restore the health of the Parramatta River. Private landholders, however remote from the Parramatta River, play a huge role in the health of the Parramatta River”.

“We are excited by the plans for the Bundilla Scout camp and look forward to them setting an example for others lucky enough to live work and play along the catchments creeks.” She continued.

One of the local scouts from 1st Winston Hills Venturer Scouts Sean Turner who attended the weekend said “The best thing about the weekend was putting into practice want we learnt from Bev Debincrat (Greater Sydney Landcare Network) about how to plant habitat islands for small birds which also benefit a large number of other species like lizards. Creating new homes and new life was excellent and felt like I was really learning how to give back to the community.”

The Local Landcare Coordinator position is part of the NSW Government’s Local Landcare Coordinators Initiative, supported through the partnership of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW.

 

 
Talkin' Turtles

Talkin' Turtles

Talkin' Turtle

The Eastern Long-necked Turtle, a newly appointed mascot for the Parramatta River is very active throughout November and December - but this is also a dangerous time for turtles as they leave the safety of the river to nest.

 The Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG) in conjunction with City of Ryde and the Ryde Hunters Hill Flora and Fauna Protection Society have joined forces for a free Our Living River event “Talkin’ Turtles” on Saturday 19th November 3pm at the Field of Mars, showcasing the scientific team from UWS who have developed TurtleSAT, a citizen science app.

Register here

 Clr. Jerome Laxale, Chair of the PRCG and Ryde Councillor explains "With the turtle recently elected (by the public) as one of the mascots to help us restore the health of the Parramatta River, it is important that we hear from the experts about why we are likely to see them in the summer months and what to do when we do find them.”

 “We have asked the turtle experts from Western Sydney University to come and help us understand turtle behaviour and showcase TurtleSat, a smartphone app that allows the public to help us map where the turtles are” he continues.

Dr. Ricky Spencer, Western Sydney University “By recording turtle sightings into TurtleSAT from your phone, tablet or computer, you are directly saving a species from inevitable extinction,”

 “We are urging all Australians to look out for turtles on roads and record them, alive or dead, into TurtleSAT. If we know where they are crossing roads or nesting, we can better manage these areas and hopefully provide them some help.” Says Dr. Spencer

Clr. Laxale continues “Our very own Riverkeeper will also be on hand to explain how helping the turtles helps us with our plan to bring Parramatta River back to life and make it swimmable again by 2025.”

Fun Turtle Fact: Many Australian Turtles can breathe through their behinds like a fish. Cloacal bursae are gill like structures in their cloacas (bottoms), meaning that when they are hibernating in winter, they don’t need to come up for air very much. Degrading our river systems reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, making it harder for them to breathe via this system