power line regen, piece by piece.

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jason
power line regen, piece by piece.

It all started with my council saying No to my request to create a riparian zone along my local creek.  I had hoped to eventually shade out the weeds that have taken it over.  I had a vision to create a new habitat for small birds, insects, bats and other mammals. A healthier creek, one alive with turtles, lizards, dragon flies and so on.  Perhaps just a nicer place to be as one strolls though the park after a days work.   Instead, council now mow the creek treating it as a drain instead of a natural habitat for native wildlife.  So I figure my council is vastly different to what they portray, print, or say to your face.   

Every day I watch humans nibbling at the edges of native habitat. Be it councils, developers, essential services, private enterprise….. humans are very good at trimming the edges here and there of what has been set aside for wildlife.  I know from my own bushwalking, gardening, and bushcare group; planting to replicate natural density is a real effort.  Many regeners have fallen into not planting dense enough, then the grass and weeds set in, and it becomes all the harder.

So I live on a park.  It’s your typical park void of shrubs for small birds amongst many other things.  Rainbow lorikeets and Noisy Miners dominate the sparsely spaced large trees that the general public feel happy enough that nature is all around us.  At at the end of the park a small patch of somewhat abused, but better than nothing natural bush exists.  This small patch exists for about 80 metres before opening up onto the baron corridor of high voltage buzzing power lines.  In this tiny patch of bush I have observed Supurb wrens, willy wag tails, quails, frogs, microbats, snakes, bandicoots, or it was a bloody big rat, butterflies, moths, and all sorts insects.  Perhaps just a light sprinkling of the diversity that sustains humans existence on this planet.  

So I asked Powerlink if they would mind if I straightened up some of the bush that runs along under the buzzing power lines.  It’s not much, but its not my local councils patch, and if little bits are trimmed here and there, I believe giving nature back something here and there is better than nothing.  It also makes Powerlinks maintenance contractors job of mowing faster and easier. Something they recognised immediately. Pity council can’t see that, preferring to mow in, out, and all around plus on the angles of the creek bank. But hey it's only our money.    

So on one hand the plant spacing sorted.  The re-growth after slashing indicates many of the local trees and shrubs are there, and spaced as natural habitat would have it.   It’s my new chosen undertaking, and its a little daunting, to keep the grass down and perhaps mulch to help achieve that until the plants are taller than the grass.   It would be great one day to expand it along the back of the houses for 300 metres, but having had some experience with humans and their views on wildlife, I’ll just take stock and hang out in the bush.  

Pic 1 is what I hope will one day eventuate

Pic 2 is a bit of a basket case, it's over the path of pic 1 and what I have.

Pic 3 edge of the basket case bush looking to the distant future. That small square bit of bush between the powerline and the mass of the bush on the right.  That's the projected line of what is possible.    

jason

Pic 4  the start of my project. You can see the distant square block bush left of pic.  Basically the bit I'm interested in if I'm not to ambitious, is upto the gum tree but out to the square shaped block of bush.  Houses start from the gum tree.

Pic 5  looking back to pic 3, the edge of the basket case bush.  

Pic 6,7,8  whats there growing happily in the driest April and May on record 

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

dwatsonbb
dwatsonbb's picture

Hey Jason, love your work towards the greater good. Keep it up. In relation to your bandicoot/rat, rats can grow larger than your average bandicoot, subject to the environmental factors such as food availability. Look at the tail length, long (about the same as the body or longer, it will be a rat). Bandicoot tails are generally much short than the body length. Hope it is a bandicoot, much nicer to have around.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

jason

Thanks Dale. Can't explain why I do it, just drawn like a moth to the light. Pitty it's not private, but I don't have the money to buy a house on more land that connects to bush kind of like what this does.  

I say then it was a rat. Don't know much about rats, native or the like but the tail was long.  I have not seen the traditional bandicoot holes around, but that's not to say they aren't there.  I need to go down there at night more, it reveals far more than day.  

I have a much longer hope of if I can get this bit up and running, and have a decent log of plants and occupants of the adjoining bush, I might be able to embarrass the council to step into 2016 along the creek.  But for now Powerlink are OK with shrubs around the bases of the towers, maybe upto 7m.  They see it as crossover vegitation from one side of their corridoors to the other.  They allow this because the powerlines are at their highest at the tower, so the lines can't swing or sag.  On the other side of what I'm looking at is where I cleaned up the other day.  It has a good sprinkling of mature hollow trees where many birds and I presume mamals breed.  Sadly its only a120 to 40m wide stip sandwiched between the industrial estate and the powerline corridoor.  But at least its there.        

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Woko
Woko's picture

Some nice regeneration there, jason.

One of the unfortunate things about clearing corridors of bushland for power lines, fire breaks & fire trails is that more light gets to the ground, there's less vegetation to take up water & there's less competition from the bushland, all conditions which favour the invasion of weeds, especially annuals, which dry off in summer & become an extreme fire hazard. As yet the authorities haven't been able to understand this.

If we're to have such corridors then it behoves the authorities to ensure that they're vegetated with native grasses which are far more fire resistant & provide a much lower fuel load than annual weeds.

jason

Man, I can't have a win around here, I'm going to do absolutley nothing in the end with this.  I met a bloke, who has the contacts, the money, the ego, the drive and perhaps the greed to make this happen.  He has plans to put these high voltage power lines underground and sell the land for housing or industrial purposes.  It actually sounds like a winner for all, but not for nature.  No surprise there. I said to him how about a walk way and a huge nature strip? The answer was who's paying for that.  Well I guess nature already has, and will keep doing so, and perhaps all of us in the end.    

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Woko
Woko's picture

One of the great myths is that those who argue for the natural environment are regarded as radicals, lefties, economically destructive, loonies etc. But what could be more radical & lunatic than actually contributing to the destruction of life on the only planet that has life, as far as we know? As for being radicals, environment protectors are actually conservatives. Where do the Earth destroyers think the word conservation came from? 

Like society at large, the Earth destroyer you met, Jason, isn't prepared to pay for the full & tremendous costs of destroying the bushland in order to build houses. Where are his costings for the loss of biodiversity, the increase in soil erosion as a result of the humungous increase in water run off from his housing estate, the increased psychological problems, drug use & crime rates as a result of divorcing people from nature & jamming them into tightly populated masses? What of the costs of social isolation which inevitably come from housing estates? 

Sadly, it's people of this man's ilk who are the big decision makers in our society. Fortunately, he wants to put the power lines underground which would be an excellent location for his housing estate idea, too.

jason

Woko, I wish I could present an argument like you. Yes I'd imagine only the big figures are counted, all those other cost would be colateral damage of doing business. Seems society is rife these day with those tangable costs.  Unfortunately he is a decision maker, one from the highest in the land. God runs with him, nature has nothing to do with how this earth spins. God put it here in abundance remember.  Money, and plenty for him, and those who join in the investment plan are the winners.  But I better not say to much, probaly get a letter from some lawyer.  

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

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