What have we achieved? The practical, environmental and social benefits of bushcare
- Maintaining and restoring bushland is one of many ways to ameliorate the adverse effects of global warming induced climate change, and to combat these detrimental processes. At South Lawson Park, the Bushcare Group restores and preserves valuable water resources, such as streams and swamps. Carbon storage is maintained and enhanced: the health of intact bushland is monitored, unvegetated areas have been planted with trees and shrubs (where ecologically appropriate), and patches of weedy shrubs and trees have been replaced by indigenous plant species. This development of indigenous animal habitat helps to promote the genetic diversity of animal species. Enhanced wildlife corridors provide indigenous animals with opportunities to adapt to the temperature and rainfall changes associated with climate change in the Blue Mountains. The well vegetated areas of bushland and riparian corridors in south Lawson serve as cool zones for local residents, and help to lower temperatures on hot days.
- First Nations cultural heritage has been acknowledged, and is respected. The Bushcare Group has liaised with important stakeholders, the Gundungurra community, and welcomed a visit by community member David King in January 2022. Blue Mountains City Council Aboriginal Community Development Officer visited the site in 2020, to assess cultural heritage items, an activity that the bushcare group participated in.
- Over many years, the Bushcare Group has removed tonnes of rapidly spreading weeds like blackberry and honeysuckle. These weeds have the ability to smother walking tracks, waterfalls, streams, cascades and access routes. The natural beauty of the local bushland has been revealed. The continuous weeding has provided the bush with an opportunity to repair itself over time.
- The highly degraded upper catchment of Lawson Creek is being repaired. This work contributes to the health of the broader Hawkesbury-Nepean River Catchment.
- Natural regeneration of the local indigenous tree and shrub species has been fostered. The seeds of local indigenous shrubs and trees have been collected, germinated, and the seedlings planted.
- The Bushcare Group has maintained the habitat of indigenous animals such as swamp wallabies, frogs, possums, birds, turtles and stream dwelling insects, and created new habitat for them. The group has kept ongoing records of the indigenous animal populations of the area (see Flora and Fauna).
- The water quality of Lawson Creek has been measured and monitored since approximately 2000 (see Streamwatch). The water remains in a reasonably fit state to maintain indigenous animal and plant life. A wider indigenous vegetation belt (or riparian zone) for Lawson Creek has been established. More vegetation helps to regulate and stabilise stream water temperature, a process which in turn supports aquatic life forms.
- The Bushcare Group has engaged in active advocacy for the natural environment of South Lawson Park and the adjacent National Park, by contributing extensively to the BMCC 2015-2022 Lawson Parklands Plan of Management consultation process. The benefits of healthy bushland, a valuable community asset, have been widely promoted by the Bushcare Group over many years, with information stalls, a film and media releases. Engagement with community and stakeholders is always a priority, and has been regularly pursued.
- The Bushcare Group removes litter and notifies BMCC of illegally dumped rubbish. The South Lawson Park walking circuit is popular with tourists, bushwalkers, visitors and locals. They are interested in experiencing the uniqueness of Australian bushland landscapes, and not hectares of inaccessible Blackberry and Privet, and eroded stream banks. The work of the Bushcare Group has enhanced these amenity experiences.
(Australian Copyright Act 1968 applies. Text, media and all other contents of this site are subject to copyright. Many thanks to the members of South Lawson Park Bushcare Group, our BMCC Bushcare Officer and Second Minutes Hours Productions for their contributions to this website. The South Lawson Park Bushcare Group website is managed by Peter Ardill)