April 14 - 27, 2019: Issue 401

Office of Open Space and Parklands: Twelve hectares of land on Wakehurst Parkway Frenchs Forest

Australians love the outdoors. It’s where we play, grow and connect.

The goal of the Office of Open Space and Parklands is for everyone in NSW to enjoy attractive, safe and accessible parks and outdoor spaces. Our focus is building and promoting places that meet the needs of our unique communities and are used as a part of everyday life.

A Greener Greater Sydney

On Sunday 3 February 2019, the Premier announced a $150 million program to secure and improve green space across Greater Sydney.

$50 million will be spent across Greater Sydney to create better access to open space. This will provide greater recreation opportunities for the community to do all the things they love to do outdoors. The program will help improve access to open space and parklands by creating four new parks and improve four existing open spaces, providing greater recreation opportunities for the community.

This program will improve liveability in our community in addition to social inclusion, environmental and social sustainability and public health benefits.

The funding will create more opportunities for communities across Greater Sydney from Leppington to Penrith, Frenchs Forest to Appin and more. Areas that will be embellished for community use include:

  • Kempt Field, Allawah
  • George Kendall Riverside Park, Ermington
  • Nepean River Parklands, Penrith
  • Carrawood Oval, Carramar
  • Nine hectares on Withers Road, Beaumont Hills
  • More than seven hectares of land on Camden Valley Way Leppington
  • Forty-three hectares of land on Upchurch Street, Appin
  • Twelve hectares of land on Wakehurst Parkway Frenchs Forest.

Frenchs Forest: The new open space is proposed to include children’s play space, youth facilities, pedestrian bridge, nature walks and car parking facilities.

For more information about these strategic open spaces please refer to the Greater Sydney Open Space program map (PDF, 7MB)

In providing quality open space, it’s important to make sure we are making the best out of land we already have. These sites are all NSW Government owned land and were chosen because they are close to homes, jobs and transport or identified in the Sydney’s Green Grid.

Mackellar Climate Election Candidates Forum

Hosted by StopAdani Mackellar
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 6:30 PM – 8 PM
Modus Operandi Brewing Co.
14 Harkeith Street, Mona Vale
Concern for climate change is at an all time high. That’s why the federal election in May is shaping up to be the #climateelection.

Join Stop Adani Mackellar to find out which Mackellar candidates are ready to step up for climate change . We need to pack out the room, so invite your friends and family as well! 

Alice Thompson (Independent), Prudence Wawn (The Greens) and Declan Steele (Labor) are all participating. Jason Falinski, Mackellar’s Liberal MP, is unable to attend due to prior commitments. 

Please RSVP on the provided link above (FREE) so we know how many seats we’ll need for the evening.

Sydney Wildlife Carers Course May 2019

Scratchum the Brushtail possum was found in the middle of the day sitting in a puddle outside a petrol station on King st, Newtown. 

A lovely person spotted her, scooped her up, kept her warm in their jacket and walked to the vet.

The little one was very dehydrated and cold.

If still in the wild she would be in her mum’s pouch and riding on her back at night. We aren’t sure how they were separated.
One of our volunteers soon picked Scratchum up and has been caring for her ever since.

Scratchum is doing very well, she loves her marsupial formula and has started eating solids. In a few months Scratchum will be ready for release! 

Our next Rescue & Care course is 18-19 May 2019. If you want to help in the rescue and rehabilitation of our wildlife go to the following link to register: www.sydneywildlife.org.au/upcoming-courses.html



Mona Vale Dunes And Avalon Beach Dunes Bushcare Groups

Beach dunes are a feature of the Northern Beaches, particularly along the peninsula. Our beaches and their backdrop dunes, so familiar, are only about 6000 years old, forming as the sea rose after the last ice age.

Until the 1970s dunes were regarded as a good source of sand, to be removed. The remaining land would then be levelled and turned to what was seen as a better use, such as land to be developed, parking, a road. Imagine Bondi Beach, before the concreting and building happened! We can see how at Collaroy, with the benefit of hindsight and experience, this was not a good decision. This beach is one of the most affected by storm damage on the NSW coast. The sea often threatens houses built where the dunes used to be, and also Pittwater Road. 

Beaches backed by dunes can be resilient in what is a dynamic landscape. Vegetated dunes capture windblown sand, and surrender it in big storms, as the sea and wind claim it back to the beach. An active beach zone should be left undeveloped allowing sand to come and go with winds and tides.  

Bushcare volunteers celebrate the special vegetation that keeps our dunes stable and provides habitat for local fauna, specially small birds which use the dense native vegetation to feed and escape the bully birds such as Noisy Miners and Currawongs. 

On Mona Vale Dunes we have nesting Willie Wagtails and Eastern Whipbirds and have been visited by Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos and Brown Quail. However weeds such as Asparagus Fern, Morning Glory, Lantana and Turkey Rhubarb have to be controlled to protect native dune vegetation.

White-throated Warbler - photo Neil Lazarus

Volunteer bushcarers meet at Mona Vale Dunes on the second Saturday and third Thursday of each month. Some people go both days. At  Avalon Dunes the first Sunday of each month is the work morning. Work starts usually at 8.30 and goes for 3 hours, including morning tea. Northern Beaches Council provides a supervisor to guide work at Mona Vale and volunteers supervise at Avalon Dunes.Both groups are covered by NB Council insurance for volunteers. Council bush regeneration contractors work on both dunes but need our help as their hours are limited.

Have a look at the Facebook pages for more information and to keep in touch.

Facebook page for Mona Vale Dunes Bushcare where you can keep up to date with progress and find out how to get involved. Visit: www.facebook.com/Mona-Vale-Dunes-Bushcare

Facebook page for Avalon Dunes Bushcare where you can keep up to date with progress and find out how to get involved.
Visit: www.facebook.com/AvalonDunesBushcare

Volunteer bushcarers meet at Mona Vale Dunes on the second Saturday and third Thursday of each month. Some people go both days. At  Avalon Dunes the first Sunday of each month is the work morning

Avalon Dunes Bushcare

After a long break, we'll be back on Sunday April 7. NB Council has changed management so that destructive camps are quickly cleared away and better weed control is happening - we're encouraged! We volunteers need some help, so why not join us at 8.30near the Montessori School. We finish at 11.30, but even half an hour of your help would be great

Wear long pants, long sleeves and hat. BYO Gloves. We bring tools and morning tea. 

Mona Vale Beach Sand Dunes

Here is Mona Vale Dunes bushcare group at work. 

To suit most of us, we meet on two days of the month, so people come on either the second Saturday morning and the third Thursday - sometimes both! 

With a view like this, you can see why we love this place. Our morning teas are legendary, by the way.
This photo may be from the 1970s and shows the dunes dangerously exposed to wind erosion, with not even today's dense weeds to stabilise it. Buildings on left are at end of Golf Ave.

View over dunes in 1969 from balcony at beach end of Golf Ave. We are lucky the destruction stopped when it did.We need our coastal dunes well vegetated and stabilised.

Danina with her Asparagus Fern crown. Probably our worst weed, it's on Australia's list of Weeds of National Significance (WoNS). We can see why. A great feeling when you finally get out that crown. The white water tubers are only for water storage and can stay behind.

Mona Vale Dunes - birds' eye view. Golf Avenue is our usual entry point, at top right of image.

Our Profile picture is Beach Correa, Correa alba. This lovely little shrub flowers for most of the year, happy in wind and salty spray, a great dune stabiliser.

Mona Vale Dunes covers over 8 ha of our Sydney Northern Beaches coastline. 

The dunes and bushland have been nearly lost in the past to weeds like lantana and asparagus fern, and to sand removal. Much remains under dense weed, but with steady weeding and some planting of tubestock native plants, the northern area is recovering, and is a home for birds and other animals.

Avalon Beach Sand Dunes

Circus comes to Avalon. Elephants graze in the dunes in the 1960s. Poor dunes! No wonder the sand began to blow.

For most of the late 1960s, commercial interests had been removing tons of sand from the northern dune, which included a huge spur buttressing this dune. Repeated requests from the Trust for a court injunction from Warringah Shire Council to stop this destructive activity were constantly ignored. 

The Avalon Preservation Trust ( now the Avalon Preservation Association) sent a telegram to the  Minister for Local Government requesting cessation of the work and was advised that the State Planning were seeking to acquire the land for recreation purposes. The Trust was also informed that the council had the situation in hand. In truth neither had the situation in hand at all, so some members of the Trust took it upon themselves to stage a sit-in and create a vehicular barricade to stop the trucks from accessing the sand-loading equipment. Apparently this had the desired effect and a further injunction was successful. 

How much sand would have been left had the Trust members not brought about this action? 

1964 - sand is being removed, dunes disappearing. Thank goodness local heroines stopped this! Our dunes would have gone to building sites..

The corner of Tasman Road and Marine Parade Avalon during the sanding mining.

 The Avalon News’ article on same - photo by John Stone - six cars were parked along the front of where the photographer has stood to take this photo - this stopped access to the site by the sand miners.
In 1989 volunteer works commenced under the Friends of Avalon Dunes Dune-Care Group to remove Bitou - this now covered 80% of the dunes.

In a 2013 interview with Marita Macrae, who had just received the Ruth Readford Award for Lifetime Achievement*, Marita shared an insight into the beginnings of this group.

The restoration and maintenance of the Avalon sand dunes has been a long term and quite big project – how did that start?

It had various beginnings. I was always interested in gardening and when I had the opportunity to do Horticulture in the late 1980s, part of this was a Bush Regeneration course. While doing this I learnt about Bitou bush. Also, Warringah Council as it was at this time, around 1989, started on the dunes as they were about 80% Bitou. 

The dunes are divided into paddocks, and you can see tracks between these. Warringah Council started in the one nearest to the surf club. They had a grant and got a tractor in there and pulled out lots and lots of Bitou. They then planted some natives – Coastal teatree, some Beach Spinifex and Coastal Banksias and that was it. The idea of those plants was to stabilise the sand after they’d pulled out the Bitou. 

Unfortunately Bitou is a terrible seeder, producing thousands and thousands of seedlings. In 1989 I used to watch what was happening. I had a young Labrador, Toby, which I used to take for walks behind dunes and watch the Bitou bush seedlings there.  The area to the north was still mostly Bitou. You can’t just start a job like that and walk away from it or the project would be a waste of money.

At the beginning of 1990 there two people, myself and a man who left Avalon a couple of years later, approached the Council and suggested we form a volunteer group to maintain what had been started and to continue it. That’s how it really began. 

What was the name of this volunteer group?

We called it Friends of Avalon Dunes Dune-Care Group, which was a bit of a mouthful. But in those days, the early 1990’s, it was part of a lot of work to control Bitou right along the NSW coastline, mainly on dunes, and also in the forests behind dunes. There were lots and lots of groups working at this – mainly north up the coast but also as far down as Tathra on the south coast There were lots of very good volunteer groups working along the coast and we just became one of those.

Ruth Readford I met when we got started in the early 1990s soon after we’d got started. I hadn’t known her before but she lived at this time at Ballina. She was a very good leader and organiser. She initiated telephone link ups and Dune Care conferences. We would meet in small groups and talk about our projects. She has written a book about community dune care at Ballina.

The restoration works which began in 1990 have an ongoing maintenance though – you have just reformed the group?

We were working on the Avalon dunes for about 20 years and during that time we’d had quite a few different grants. The Catchment Management Authority grant in the early 1990’s, a State Government grant, NSW Environment Trust grant and several Coastcare grants. I cannot take credit for receiving those grants.  I helped write them but I had a great deal of help from Pittwater Council staff, particularly Paul Hardie.  He always worked as a volunteer as well, right from the very start, despite having a young family. Eventually the Council, after our grants projects were completed,  took on maintenance and engaged bushcare contractors to work on the dunes. 

We thought everything was going well – the fact is that Bitou is a very obvious weed and people like to do big obvious weeds; they’re satisfying to do because you can see what you’ve done when the work is done. 

There are a lot of other weeds there though that benefited from the disappearance of the Bitou, Morning Glory in particular.

About a year ago I noticed that the dunes were still looking pretty weedy so I suggested about September 2012 we reform the group. We’ve been working one morning a month ever since.

Avalon Dunes - weeding with a view in 2013 - Weeding Spinifex grass - not much else grows in this windy salty place.

When and where does this group meet?

On the first Sunday of each month at 8.30am. We’re only working on a small section at this stage and have been meeting at the back of the dunes near the little bridge over Careel creek. Out major weed that we’ve been tackling is Morning Glory, which we’ve been doing for years. It’s a very time consuming insidious weed.

Although the Council still has contractors working here I think this one is best tackled by volunteers who don’t mind doing the fiddly work that you need to do to try and control it. This is not so easy for contractors that need to be able to show where they’ve been working to their employers. If they have a team of six people working a whole day on Morning Glory, you will not be able to see much difference. I think this is a weed better tackled by us volunteers. Many are happy to do this, others would rather find Asparagus Fern, Turkey Rhubarb or Bitou and tackle that.


*The Ruth Readford Award for Lifetime Achievement honours an individual who has dedicated significant energies, time and commitment to improving planning and/or management of the NSW coast. The Selection Criteria is described as: Positive impact of actions of individual either through employment or volunteer effort; length of time involved in coastal issues; and recognition by the broader community of individual’s contribution to coastal management. 

Scaevola calendulacea - a tough dune plant that loves the sun and doesn't mind some salt spray.

Federal Environment Minister Approves Adani Water Plan without CSIRO and Geoscience Australia Concerns Being addressed

Groundwater studies by the CSIRO reveal the modelling used by consultants ahead of the federal government's decision to approve Adani's Carmichael mine “was not suitable to ensure the outcomes” needed to meet Australia’s environmental legislation.

“A number of limitations were also identified in the proposed monitoring and management approaches indicating they are not sufficiently robust to monitor and minimise impacts to protected environments,” the CSIRO's February 2019 groundwater studies found.

Adani was required to identify the source of the underground aquifer connecting the Great Artesian Basin to the threatened Doongmabulla Springs to the south-west of the mine, it must keep impact on water flowing from those underground bores to under 20 centimetres and it must satisfy protection of the black-throated finch.

The CSIRO is satisfied Adani identified the source of the aquifer. However, it questions the impact on the Doongmabulla Springs.

In November 2018, Adani’s nominated consultants Eco Logical reported the impact on one section of the crucial Doongmabulla Springs was 19 centimetres. That was reported last month in the Brisbane Times.

In February, the CSIRO raised similar concerns and questioned whether the modelling was accurate enough to make detailed predictions.

“In particular, the SEIS model under-predicts groundwater drawdown arising from mine development for the following reasons,” the report found.

Specifically, it “questions the accuracy of the 0.19m predicted drawdown at the Doongmabulla Springs complex (DSC) by the SEIS model”.

After February 29, the department met with Adani staff to establish a regime of extra testing, with CSIRO writing a letter clarifying its support on April 5.

The letter, from CSIRO director Land and Water, Jane Coram, notes some issues “still need to be addressed”.

“CSIRO is of the view that Adani’s responses should satisfy the recommendations to update the groundwater models and are directed to address the modelling-related issues and concerns raised in our advice, noting that there are still components of that advice that will need to be addressed."

The CSIRO recommended the model used must be recalibrated because when the tests were re-run they predicted “less drawdown at the Doongmabulla Springs Complex (DSC) and more baseflow depletion in the Carmichael River than the (particular-selected) model”.

“The model used by the [groundwater management plan] is considered to be the most conservative of the available model scenarios as it predicts the greatest impacts from the mine development in all aquifers.

“However, being the best choice of available model runs for use in the [plan] does not mean that this model run is considered to be fit-for-purpose, as outlined in the following sections.”

Despite these specific issues that “still need to be addressed” the federal environment minister, on the eve of the federal election being announced, thus dissolving Parliament, approved the Adani water management plans with her interpretation being that Adani may rerun the modelling and address CSIRO and Geoscience Australia's concerns 'within two years of the commencement of coal extraction' - not prior to, but after.

The timing of this week's election announcement means CSIRO and Geosciences Australia will not be able to be questioned over their recent report on the Adani mega mine at Senate Estimates.

Critics this week are likening the approval to that commensurate with the approvals given to the huge conglomerates of cotton farmers whose rights to take massive amounts of water from the Darling River are cited as one of the main reasons that river is now dying.

RMIT hydrology expert Dr Matthew Currell said, “Adani is yet to conduct the detailed science required to identify the springs' source aquifer and its monitoring plans risk potentially missing impacts that cause irreversible damage to them.

“Possible impacts include drying up of spring wetlands and reduced flows of groundwater to spring vents and pools, which could lead to irreversible ecological and cultural damage.

“The CSIRO review identified significant shortcomings with Adani’s groundwater model, including that it underestimates the drawdown on the springs and the Carmichael River, and it is very unclear what Adani is going to do in response."

Environment Groups are appalled at the announcement, with one, Lock the Gate, calling for the decision to be investigated.

“We need a national corruption body and an urgent investigation into how this deeply flawed approval was granted." Carmel Flint of Lock the Gate said on Wednesday, April 10th.

“The Prime Minister and the Environment Minister have caved in to pressure from Adani and their political backers in the Liberal National Party, and sold Queenslanders down the river.

“There has been blatant political interference in relation to this issue over the last week, with LNP threats against the Environment Minister and hurried meetings between the Adani CEO with the Prime Minister" Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Carmel Flint said

“Adani’s Federal approval effectively requires them to restrict drawdown in the Doongmabulla Springs to 20cm.

“However, in Appendix B of the report, CSIRO states that if hydraulic conductivity values in the groundwater model are adjusted to better reflect expected values, then ‘the drawdown at the springs would be greater than 0.2m’. 

“Therefore, the CSIRO report foreshadows very strongly that the key restraint contained in the approval to protect the Great Artesian Basin Springs cannot be met.” 

Ms Flint said, as a result, the rushed decision prior to the election was clearly based on political considerations, not on science.
“The Adani mine puts at risk 187 unique Great Artesian Basin spring wetlands which are vital to graziers and wildlife in Central Queensland.

“Independent water experts have identified glaring failures with the water plan and Adani have still not done the research recommended by Great Artesian Basin spring experts in 2016.

“Minister Price’s own department also released new research late last year which showed that there was likely to be much greater losses of groundwater due to mining in the Galilee Basin than predicted by Adani."

“We’d like to see the Federal Labor party commit to review all of Adani’s environmental approvals thoroughly if it is elected to government, in light of the appalling political interference by LNP politicians that has dogged this water plan,” she said.

The Adani (Carmichael Coal Mine) documents can be read on the Department of the Environment and Energy’s website HERE.

The federal environment minister's media release announcing the water approval for Adani goes on record below:

Independent assessment by CSIRO and Geoscience Australia for groundwater management plans

Media release: 9 April 2019 - The Hon. Melissa Price MP, Minister for the Environment
CSIRO and Geoscience Australia have independently assessed the groundwater management plans for the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Infrastructure project.

Both CSIRO and Geoscience Australia have confirmed the revised plans meet strict scientific requirements.

Following this independent assessment and the Department of the Environment and Energy’s recommendation for approval, I have accepted the scientific advice and therefore approved the groundwater management plans for the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Infrastructure project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

This decision does not comprise the final approval for this project.

The Project now requires further approvals from the Queensland Government prior to construction commencing. To date, only 16 of 25 environmental plans have been finalised or approved by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments with a further 9 to be finalised.

It must meet further stringent conditions of approval from the Commonwealth before it can begin producing coal.

This project has been subject to the most rigorous approval process of any mining project in Australia.

Approvals for the project by the Commonwealth in 2015 and the Queensland State Government in 2016 resulted in the setting of 180 strict conditions to protect the environment.

The Project’s water management plans have been thoroughly assessed by the Department of the Environment and Energy, which commissioned independent technical advice from Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO.

That advice identified areas of groundwater modelling, monitoring and management that required further work.

That advice recommended a number of actions, which the Company has accepted in full, including:

  • A substantial increase of early warning monitoring between the mine and the Doongmabulla Springs using additional deeper bores and an additional bore site to monitor flows
  • Tightened corrective action triggers requiring an immediate response to any unexpected groundwater impact
  • Commitments to re-run the model addressing all Geoscience Australia and CSIRO concerns within two years of the commencement of coal extraction (noting there are no predicted impacts to nationally protected matters within 15 years).
Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO have provided written assurances that these steps address their recommendations.

The advice from Geoscience Australia and CSIRO has been provided to the Queensland Government.

This process reflects our commitment to ensuring robust environmental protection while balancing the needs of Australia’s economy.

This is a commercial project. The Australian Government is not providing any financial support to the mine or to its rail project.

The advice from Geoscience Australia and CSIRO is available here: http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/assessments/key-assessments

Public consultation on the Review of the carbon credits (Carbon farming initiative - land and sea transport) methodology determination 

By Federal Government Dept. of Environment and Energy
Review of the carbon credits (Carbon farming initiative - land and sea transport) methodology determination 2015
The Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee (the Committee) is conducting a review of the Land and Sea Transport method. This review will investigate whether the method continues to comply with the six offsets integrity standards set out in section 133(1) of the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011. It will also consider whether crediting periods of projects registered under the method should be extended under section 255A of the Act.

Public consultation
The Committee is undertaking public consultation to inform its review and invites interested businesses, community organisations and individuals to make a submission. The public consultation period commenced on 26 March 2019 and will run until 7 May 2019. Further information about making a submission is provided HERE

Public Consultation on the Toorale Water Infrastructure Project

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage is seeking feedback on the Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for Phase 1 of the Toorale Water Infrastructure Project.

What's this about?
The project aims to modify existing water infrastructure on Toorale National Park and State Conservation Area(external link) near Bourke in north-west NSW.

The project seeks to modify existing earthen embankments that were constructed in the Warrego River to store and divert water when Toorale operated as a grazing and irrigation enterprise.

The objective of the project is to increase the amount of water that can pass through the Warrego River to the Darling River, while ensuring that the important social, environmental and heritage values of Toorale are not compromised. It also aims to improve the connectivity of this reach of the Warrego River for fish passage.

Phase 1 of the project involves the removal of a section of an embankment known as Peebles Dam. It also seeks to repair a breach at the Homestead Dam site that occurred during floods in 2012. These repairs are a temporary measure until more permanent modifications are made during Phase 2.

Pending approval of the Review of Environmental Factors (REF) and favourable weather conditions, Phase 1 activities will be undertaken late 2019.

The REF will be on exhibition from 1 April to 30 April 2019 at the Bourke National Parks and Wildlife Service, 51 Oxley Street, Bourke.

Have your say
There are three ways you can submit your feedback:

Online: consultation website(external link)
Mail: Sonya Ardill
c/o PO Box 1020
Dubbo NSW 2830
Have your say by 30 April 2019.

EPA fines Forestry Corp $16,500 for Gibberagee State Forest offence

April 10, 2019
The NSW Environment Protection Authority has fined Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) a total of $16,500 after the organisation allegedly conducted forestry activities in an exclusion zone of a rare, threatened plant in Gibberagee State Forest.

The $16,500 penalty notice was issued under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 for a breach of the Integrated Forestry Operations Approval for the Upper North East Region (IFOA).

The EPA alleges that in September 2017, FCNSW failed to implement the required protections for the rare threatened plant, Melichrus Gibberagee, despite knowing of its location.

EPA officers inspected the site and reported that multiple trees had been cut down and a large area of groundcover had been disturbed around the Melichrus plant. While the plant itself remained unharmed at the time of the inspection, EPA officers determined that the disturbance in the exclusion zone was contrary to the requirements of the IFOA.

“Exclusion zones are not suggestions – they are firm boundaries that must be implemented during forestry operations to protect important habitat and threatened species, including Melichrus,” EPA Acting Director Forestry Jackie Miles said.

“The Melichrus is an extremely rare plant – it is only known to occur in and around the Gibberagee State Forest.

“While FCNSW took some steps to protect the Melichrus plant in the forest, the EPA believes there was a failure to put this plant’s protection as a priority in their planning and operations.

“We take all forestry offences seriously. The community can be confident that the EPA will take all necessary regulatory action to ensure that forestry operations comply with the IFOA and are regulated to ensure the appropriate balance between protecting the environment and delivering the State’s timber needs.”

In January, the EPA also issued FCNSW two official cautions and two formal warnings for allegedly breaching the requirements of the IFOA. This included allegedly undertaking forestry operations in excluded areas, failing to mark protected features and for inadequate selection and protection of trees with hollows.

The EPA is continuing to investigate several community reports of alleged forestry breaches in the Gibberagee area. Members of the community are encouraged to report their concerns to the 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555.

Penalty notices are one of several tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions. For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm

EPA fines Sydney Water $60,000: local creek polluted

April 9, 2019
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued $45,000 in fines to Sydney Water for alleged inadequate clean-up of sewage overflows which impacted Sydney’s waterways in Pymble, Faulconbridge and Forestville.

EPA Regional Director Metropolitan Giselle Howard said the EPA undertook a compliance campaign in May-June 2018 to assess the adequacy of Sydney Water’s responses to dry weather sewage overflows from its sewerage systems.

A similar compliance campaign undertaken in November 2017-January 2018 resulted in the EPA issuing fines of $120,000 to Sydney Water in relation to six similar incidents.

“Both campaigns identified significant issues with Sydney Water’s performance, particularly in relation to the overarching management and operational framework for responding to dry weather sewage overflows which can impact waterways,” Ms Howard said. 

“It is essential that Sydney Water undertakes all necessary actions as soon as possible in response to a sewage overflow to minimise the impacts on the environment and public health.

“Untreated sewage can pose a risk to human health and have significant environmental impacts on waterways and land.”

The EPA investigated and identified the alleged breaches at three overflows and issued three penalty notices of $15,000 each, to Sydney Water:
  1. Pymble overflow into an unnamed creek in the Lane Cove River catchment (3 May 2018)
  2. Faulconbridge overflow into bushland and gully (27 May 2018)
  3. Forestville overflow into bushland and an unnamed creek in Garigal National Park (25 June 2018)
The address the poor performance the EPA added special conditions requiring an independent assessment of Sydney Water’s overarching management and operational framework for responding to dry weather sewage overflows to each of Sydney Water’s 23 environment protection licences,

Additionally, in a separate matter, the EPA fined Sydney Water $15,000 after an alleged breach involving 26 million litres of treated sewage, with an elevated ammonia concentration, was discharged from Rouse Hill Sewage Treatment Plant into Seconds Pond Creek in April 2018. 

Penalty notices and licence condition changes are some of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance, which can also include formal warnings, notices and directions, enforceable undertakings, legally binding pollution reduction programs, mandatory audits and prosecutions.

The maximum penalty for not complying with a condition of an environment protection licence or a clean-up notice is a court imposed fine of $1 million for a corporation and $120,000 each day the offence continues.

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm.

Coral reproduction on the Great Barrier Reef falls 89% after repeated bleaching

April 2019
by Morgan Pratchett
Professor, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
The severe and repeated bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef has not only damaged corals, it has reduced the reef’s ability to recover.

Our research, published today in Nature, found far fewer baby corals are being produced than are needed to replace the large number of adult corals that have died. The rate at which baby corals are settling on the Great Barrier Reef has fallen by nearly 90% since 2016.

While coral does not always die after bleaching, repeated bleaching has killed large numbers of coral. This new research has negative implications for the Reef’s capacity to recover from high ocean temperatures.

How coral recovers
Most corals reproduce by “spawning”: releasing thousands of tight, buoyant bundles with remarkable synchronisation. The bundles burst when they hit the ocean surface, releasing eggs and/or sperm. Fertilised eggs develop into larvae as they are moved about by ocean currents. The larvae settle in new places, forming entirely new coral colonies. This coral “recruitment” is essential to reef recovery.

The research team, led by my colleague Terry Hughes from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, measured rates of coral recruitment by attaching small clay tiles to the reef just before the predicted mass spawning each year. These settlement panels represent a standardised habitat that allows for improved detection of the coral recruits, which are just 1-2mm in size.

Almost 1,000 tiles were deployed across 17 widely separated reefs after the recent mass bleaching, in late 2016 and 2017. After eight weeks they were collected and carefully inspected under a microscope to count the number of newly settled coral recruits. Resulting estimates of coral recruitment were compared to recruitment rates recorded over two decades prior to the recent bleaching.

Video by Australian Academy of Science.

Rates of coral recruitment recorded in the aftermath of the recent coral bleaching were just 11% of levels recorded during the preceding decades. Whereas there were more than 40 coral recruits per tile before the bleaching, there was an average of just five coral recruits per tile in the past couple of years.

Reef resilience
The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the world’s largest reef system. The large overall size and high number of distinct reefs provides a buffer against most major disturbances. Even if large tracts of the GBR are disturbed, there is a good chance at least some areas will have healthy stocks of adult corals, representing a source of new larvae to enable replenishment and recovery.

Larvae produced by spawning corals on one reef may settle on other nearby reefs to effectively replace corals lost to localised disturbances.

It is reassuring there is at least some new coral recruitment in the aftermath of severe bleaching and mass mortality of adult corals on the GBR. However, the substantial and widespread reduction of regrowth indicates the magnitude of the disturbance caused by recent heatwaves.

Reduction of coral regrowth shows the effects of recent heatwave disturbances. Bette Willis

Declines in rates of coral recruitment were greatest in the northern parts of the GBR. This is where bleaching was most pronounced in 2016 and 2017, and there was the greatest loss of adult corals. There were much more moderate declines in coral recruitment in the southern GBR, reflecting generally higher abundance of adults corals in these areas. However, prevailing southerly currents (and the large distances involved) make it very unlikely coral larvae from southern parts of the Reef will drift naturally to the hardest-hit northern areas.

It is hard to say how long it will take for coral assemblages to recover from the recent mass bleaching. What is certain is low levels of coral recruitment will constrain coral recovery and greatly increase the recovery time. Any further large-scale developments with also greatly reduce coral cover and impede recovery.

Reducing carbon emissions
This study further highlights the vulnerability of coral reefs to sustained and ongoing global warming. Not only do adult corals bleach and die when exposed to elevated temperatures, this prevents new coral recruitment and undermines ecosystem resilience.

The only way to effectively redress global warming is to immediately and substantially reduce global carbon emissions. This requires that all countries, including Australia, renew and strengthen their commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change.

While further management is required to minimise more direct human pressure on coral reefs – such as sediment run-off and pollution – all these efforts will be futile if we do not address global climate change.

This article was published in The Conversation. Republished under Creative Commons licence.

Warm winds in autumn could strain Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf

April 11, 2019
The Antarctic Peninsula is the northernmost part of Earth's coldest continent, making it particularly vulnerable to a changing global climate. Surface melting of snow and ice initiated the breakup of the peninsula's northernmost Larsen A ice shelf in 1995, followed in 2002 by the Larsen B ice shelf to the south, which lost a section roughly the size of Rhode Island.

New University of Maryland-led research shows that the Larsen C ice shelf -- the fourth largest ice shelf in Antarctica, located just south of the former Larsen B shelf -- experienced an unusual spike in late summer and early autumn surface melting in the years 2015 to 2017. The study, spanning 35 years from 1982 to 2017, quantifies how much of this additional melting can be ascribed to warm, dry air currents called foehn winds that originate high in the peninsula's central mountain range.

The study further shows that the three-year spike in foehn-induced melting late in the melt season has begun to restructure the snowpack on the Larsen C ice shelf. If this pattern continues, it could significantly alter the density and stability of the Larsen C ice shelf, potentially putting it at further risk to suffer the same fate as the Larsen A and B shelves.

The researchers used two different methods to quantify patterns of foehn-induced melt from climate model outputs that correspond to real-world satellite observations and weather station data. They published their findings on April 11, 2019 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

"Three years doesn't make a trend. But it's definitely unusual that we are seeing enhanced foehn winds and associated melting in late summer and early autumn," said Rajashree Tri Datta, a faculty assistant at UMD's Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center and the lead author of the research paper. "It's unusual that we're seeing increased foehn-induced melt in consecutive years -- especially so late in the melt season, when the winds are stronger but the temperatures are usually cooling down. This is when we expect melting to end and the surface to be replenished with snow."

Enhanced surface melting causes water to trickle into the underlying layers of firn -- or uncompacted, porous snow -- in the upper layers of the ice sheet. This water then refreezes, causing the normally porous, dry firn layers to become denser. Eventually, the firn layers can become too dense for water to enter, leading to a buildup of liquid water atop the ice shelf.

"With enhanced densification, the ice enters the next warm season with a very different structure. Our modeling results show that, with less open space for the surface water to filter into, runoff increases year after year," said Datta, who also has an appointment at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "The dominant theory suggests that enhanced densification led to the fracture of the Larsen A and B shelves. Despite an overall decrease in peak summer melt over the last few years, episodic melting late in the melt season could have an outsized impact on the density of the Larsen C ice shelf."

As foehn winds race down the colder eastern slopes of the Antarctic Peninsula's central mountain range, they can raise air temperatures by as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit, producing localized bursts of snowmelt. According to Datta, these winds exert their greatest effects at the bases of glacial valleys. Here, where the feet of the glaciers adjoin the Larsen C ice shelf, foehn winds stand to destabilize some of the most fragile and critical structures in the system.

"The Larsen C ice shelf is of particular interest because it's among the most vulnerable in Antarctica," Datta explained. "Because it's a floating ice shelf, a breakup of Larsen C wouldn't directly lead to a rise in global mean sea level. However, the ice shelf does brace against the flow of the glaciers that feed it. So if Larsen C goes, some of these glaciers will be free to accelerate their rate of flow and melt, which will result in a rise in global sea level."

Rajashree Tri Datta, Marco Tedesco, Xavier Fettweis, Cecile Agosta, Stef Lhermitte, Jan Lenaerts, Nander Wever. The Effect of Foehn-Induced Surface Melt on Firn Evolution over the Northeast Antarctic Peninsula. Geophysical Research Letters, 2019 DOI: 10.1029/2018GL080845

In this image, created by NASA's Earth Observatory using Landsat data from the US Geological Survey, brilliant blue pools of melt water can be seen collecting atop the Larsen C ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. A new study shows that the Larsen C shelf experienced an unusual spike in late-season surface melting in the years 2015 to 2017 -- and quantifies how much of this additional melting is due to warm, dry air currents that originate high in the peninsula's central mountain range.
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Lauren Dauphin

Are more Aussie trees dying of drought? Scientists need your help spotting dead trees

The following opinion piece, co-authored by Professor Belinda Medlyn and Associate Professor Brendan Choat from the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, was first published with full links on The Conversation.

Most citizen science initiatives ask people to record living things, like frogs, wombats, or feral animals. But dead things can also be hugely informative for science. We have just launched a new citizen science project, The Dead Tree Detective, which aims to record where and when trees have died in Australia.

The current drought across southeastern Australia has been so severe that native trees have begun to perish, and we need people to send in photographs tracking what has died. These records will be valuable for scientists trying to understand and predict how native forests and woodlands are vulnerable to climate extremes.

Understanding where trees are most at risk is becoming urgent because it’s increasingly clear that climate change is already underway. On average, temperatures across Australia have risen more than 1℃ since 1910, and winter rainfall in southern Australia has declined. Further increases in temperature, and increasing time spent in drought, are forecast.

How our native plants cope with these changes will affect (among other things) biodiversity, water supplies, fire risk, and carbon storage. Unfortunately, how climate change is likely to affect Australian vegetation is a complex problem, and one we don’t yet have a good handle on.

Phil Spark of Woolomin, NSW submitted this photo to The Dead Tree Detective project online. Author provided

Climate niche
All plants have a preferred average climate where they grow best (their “climatic niche”). Many Australian tree species have small climatic niches.

It’s been estimated an increase of 2℃ would see 40% of eucalypt species stranded in climate conditions to which they are not adapted.

But what happens if species move out of their climatic niche? It’s possible there will be a gradual migration across the landscape as plants move to keep up with the climate.

It’s also possible that plants will generally grow better, if carbon dioxide rises and frosts become less common (although this is a complicated and disputed claim.

Farmers have reported anecdotal evidence of tree deaths on social media. Author provided

However, a third possibility is that increasing climate extremes will lead to mass tree deaths, with severe consequences.

There are examples of all three possibilities in the scientific literature, but reports of widespread tree death are becoming increasingly commonplace.

Many scientists, including ourselves, are now trying to identify the circumstances under which we may see trees die from climate stress. Quantifying these thresholds is going to be key for working out where vegetation may be headed.

The water transport system
Australian plants must deal with the most variable rainfall in the world. Only trees adapted to prolonged drought can survive. However, drought severity is forecast to increase, and rising heat extremes will exacerbate drought stress past their tolerance.

To explain why droughts overwhelm trees, we need to look at the water transport system that keeps them alive. Essentially, trees draw water from the soil through their roots and up to their leaves. Plants do not have a pump (like our hearts) to move water – instead, water is pulled up under tension using energy from sunlight. Our research illustrates how this transport system breaks down during droughts.

In hot weather, more moisture evaporates from trees’ leaves, putting more pressure on their water transport system. This evaporation can actually be useful, because it keeps the trees’ leaves cool during heatwaves. However if there is not enough water available, leaf temperatures can become lethally high, scorching the tree canopy.

Lyn Lacey submitted these photos of dead trees at Ashford, NSW to The Dead Tree Detective. Author provided

We’ve also identified how drought tolerance varies among native tree species. Species growing in low-rainfall areas are better equipped to handle drought, showing they are finely tuned to their climate niche and suggesting many species will be vulnerable if climate change increases drought severity.

Based on all of these data, we hope to be able to predict where and when trees will be vulnerable to death from drought and heat stress. The problem lies in testing our predictions – and that’s where citizen science comes in. Satellite remote sensing can help us track overall greenness of ecosystems, but it can’t detect individual tree death. Observation on the ground is needed.

These images show a failure of the water transport system in Eucalyptus saligna. Left: well-watered plant. Right: severely droughted plant. On the right, air bubbles blocking the transport system can be seen. Brendan Choat, Author provided

However, there is no system in place to record tree death from drought in Australia. For example, during the Millennium Drought, the most severe and extended drought for a century in southern Australia, there are almost no records of native tree death (other than along the rivers, where over-extraction of water was also an issue). Were there no deaths? Or were they simply not recorded?

The current drought gripping the southeast has not been as long as the Millennium Drought, but it does appear to be more intense, with some places receiving almost no rain for two years. We’ve also had a summer of repeated heatwaves, which will have intensified the stress.

We’re hearing anecdotal reports of tree death in the news and on twitter. We’re aiming to capture these anecdotal reports, and back them up with information including photographs, locations, numbers and species of trees affected, on the Dead Tree Detective.

We encourage anyone who sees dead trees around them to hop online and contribute. The Detective also allows people to record tree deaths from other causes – and trees that have come back to life again (sometimes dead isn’t dead). It can be depressing to see trees die – but recording their deaths for science helps to ensure they won’t have died in vain.


This May, Pittwater YHA opens its doors to green-hearted and green-thumbed guests who'll save the gorgeous Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park from imminent asparagus fern invasion. Yes, seriously.

Bush Regeneration sees eco-conscious, kind hearted humans restore and rehabilitate the gorgeous, sprawling Aussie bush from its weed-infested, degraded state into a healthy, thriving plant community, which will prosper and delight forevermore. Far from just weed removal; Regenerators focus on habitat, drainage, weed sources and establishing native communities. These are big words which probably don’t make much sense – but we have an interactive learning opportunity for you!

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Sydney’s protected north coast, is home to rock engravings, red ochre rock paintings, the fuzziest wildlife you ever did see and the most breathtaking views a Sydneysider or visitor could comprehend; and is currently under threat from invasive asparagus fern; which needs removing. Who knew your Aunty’s fave veggie could be so aggressive?

The blissed-out, babbling-brooked, spectacular-viewed, fresh-aired oasis that is our Pittwater YHA, alongside the Northern Beaches Council, are offering you fine green-thumbed and hearted folk the opportunity to volunteer alongside professional Regenerators for a weekend of Pittwater Restoration from May 3 - 5, 2019. Spend two mornings of tending to the gorgeous surrounds and you’ll be rewarded with two nights’ accommodation, two days of meals (morning teas, BBQ lunches and evening dinners) and kayak use throughout your stay. Plus, you’ll be chuffed with yourself for doing your bit for the planet and our futures.  

Along with your towels, two sheets, a pillowcase and, sturdy shoes, sunscreen and your breakfasts; you’ll need a $20 contribution for the weekend. For all the T&Cs; head to Pittwater YHA, shoot them an email (Subject: 'Bush Regeneration Weekend') or give them a ring on (02 9999-5748) – the only thing those guys love more than a regenerated bushland is chatting to ladies and gentleman who are keen on the idea!  

Archie's Pittwater Clean Up

My name is Archie Mandin 
I am a Seabin Ambassador, I started this campaign because I want to take a stand against ocean plastics!

My goal is to raise enough money to bring a minimum of 20 Seabins to Pittwater NSW as I want to give The Northern Beaches the opportunity to reduce its plastic pollution impact on the ocean. Its amazing how much accidental rubbish comes down our creeks and into our waterways 

I need your help to raise money to buy the Seabins a revolutionary ocean cleaning technology which is essentially a floating rubbish bin that operates 24/7 catching all floating debris in the water.

The Seabin helps clean the ocean of floating debris which in turn creates cleaner oceans and we all benefit from this in one way or another. I mean, who really wants to swim in pollution? Not me that’s for sure!

Did you know that 300 million tons of plastic are produced in the world every year, half of which is for single use products, from this more than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year. We need to do something about it and now with the purchase of a Seabin we can all participate and make a difference! 

Join me and my campaign to help ensure cleaner oceans!

What’s a Seabin? 
The Seabin is a floating rubbish bin that is located in the water at marinas, docks, yacht clubs and commercial ports.

The Seabin can catch an average of 3.9kgs of floating debris per day which adds up to 1.4 tons per year. (depending on weather conditions and debris volumes) The Seabins is catching large plastic bags, bottles, plastic straws, coffee cups, food wrappers, surface oils and micro plastics down to 2 mm small. 

How can a Seabin contribute to cleaner oceans?
The Seabin contributes to cleaner oceans by removing 1.4 tons of floating debris per unit per year. The location of the Seabin in marinas is ideal and where it matters most, close to the source of entry for floating debris. Ports and Marinas are perfect locations to stop floating debris from entering the open ocean and ocean plastics are also brought in by wind and currents.

Are the Seabins a danger to marine life?
The fish According to the team at Seabin, stay away from the surface of the water where the Seabin sucks in the water. They are deterred by the force of the water current. If there are swarms of jellyfish or bait fish it is recommended that the Seabins are turned off until the swarms pass. If a fish was to accidentally go into the Seabin, it would be caught in the Seabin and stay submerged in water until the marina staff retrieve the filter and throw the fish still alive back into the water.

How does it work? 
Water is sucked in from the surface and passes through a catch bag inside the Seabin, with a submersible water pump capable of displacing 25.000 LPH (liters per hour). The water is then pumped back into the marina leaving litter and debris trapped in the catch bag to be disposed of properly.

Who is responsible for the Seabin?
This is the best part of it all, the marina will be the one responsible for the upkeep of the Seabins and also they will be paying for the energy consumption of the Seabin which is around $2 - $3 a day.

The marina enjoys a cleaner marina and the rest of us and the marine life enjoy cleaner oceans with less floating debris polluting our oceans!

Seabins part of a whole solution
Seabins whole solution is Technology, Education, Science, Research and Community. The reason for this is that Technology alone is not the solution to stopping ocean plastics, education is the real solution.

Great! Can our local community be involved also?
Yes! The team at Seabin have interactive programs and lessons designed for schools, community and youth to interact with the Seabins and have over 2000 school students engaged around the world, this is something that we can do locally also with support from the team at Seabin Project.

What will we be doing if we participate in these programs?
You would be joining an international community contributing important data and feedback on ocean plastics to the Seabin central data base. Renowned scientists, universities and environmental agencies are all a part of the programs also.

The lessons range from identifying ocean plastics to data collection of what the Seabins are catching weekly. The data collection is a very easy activity and where we can all see the measurable impact of debris the Seabins are taking out of the water in all weather conditions.

It’s as simple as counting how many plastic bags, plastic particles, food wrappers and then noting it down on a spreadsheet or app. Weather conditions and location information is also entered into the data base.

How can you help our campaign and make a difference in the world?
Every contribution to this crowdfunding campaign helps, be it $1 or $50 dollars, it all adds up and bring us closer to our goal.

Even if you cannot afford a donation, please help by sharing this campaign with your friends and family on social media. The more people that know about the campaign the better!

Thanks everyone for taking the time to check out our campaign!



Seabin Project FAQs

Q: Can someone pay out the crowdfunding campaign goal?
A: Yes! We need help! The more money we can raise, the more Seabins we can buy. 

Q: Why crowdfund a Seabin?
A: Until now, the Seabins were not for the everyday person to purchase because marinas ports and yacht clubs are the target market for Seabin Group. This is a way where everyday people can give something back to the oceans.  

Q: How do Seabins work in tidal areas?
A: Seabins at present are designed for floating docks and pontoons. The Seabins move up and down with the tide on the floating dock.

 Q. How are the pumps run? 
A. The pumps are currently electric, and around $2-$3 a day to run.

Q: When are the Seabins available?
A: Depending on your countries location, Seabins will be available Feb 2019.

Q: Do any fish get sucked into the Seabins? What about smaller marine life?
A: There is a possibility of fish to enter the Seabins, however in the last 2 years of development, the Seabins have only caught a handful of small bait fish. Most of which have been thrown back into the water alive. The fish simply stay away from the flow of water entering the Seabin and with the current fine tuning of the Seabin, the risk is now minimal.

Q: I don’t have any money to donate, how can I help?
A: Don’t worry! Your amazing anyways and thanks for even contacting us. We need help to share this project around with any media we can. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, websites, bloggers. Also with newspapers, magazines, tv, radio and journalists. Also friends and family!

Smart Energy Conference & Exhibition 2019

Starts: 8:30am Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Ends: 5:30pm Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Location: International Convention Centre Sydney
14 Darling Drive, Darling Harbour, New South Wales 2000

The Smart Energy Conference and Exhibition is one of Australia’s biggest solar, storage and smart energy conference and exhibition.

Powered by the Smart Energy Council – incorporating the Australian Solar Council and Energy Storage Council, this is our 57th annual FREE-TO-ATTEND conference and exhibition.

  • Over 6,000 delegates, 120 exhibitors and partners
  • A showcase of the latest technology, demonstration of new business models and innovation
  • Outstanding knowledge sharing and networking
  • 3 Conference and information sessions with over 100 presenters
  • CPD points for installers

Green Team Beach Cleans 2018!

Hosted by The Green Team
The Green Team is back for 2019! 
It has been estimated that we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050...These beach cleans are aimed at reducing the vast amounts of plastic from entering our oceans before they harm marine life. 

Anyone and everyone is welcome! If you would like to come along, please bring a bucket, gloves and hat. Kids of all ages are also welcome! 

The Green Team is a Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative from Avalon, Sydney. Keeping our area green and clean.

Create a Habitat Stepping Stone!

Over 50 Pittwater households have already pledged to make a difference for our local wildlife, and you can too! Create a habitat stepping stone to help our wildlife out. It’s easy - just add a few beautiful habitat elements to your backyard or balcony to create a valuable wildlife-friendly stopover.

How it works

1) Discover: Visit the website below to find dozens of beautiful plants, nest boxes and water elements you can add to your backyard or balcony to help our local wildlife.

2) Pledge: Select three or more elements to add to your place. You can even show you care by choosing to have a bird appear on our online map.

3) Share: Join the Habitat Stepping Stones Facebook community to find out what’s happening in the natural world, and share your pics, tips and stories.

What you get                                  

• Enjoy the wonders of nature, right outside your window. • Free and discounted plants for your garden. • A Habitat Stepping Stone plaque for your front fence. • Local wildlife news and tips. • Become part of the Pittwater Habitat Stepping Stones community.

Get the kids involved and excited about helping out! www.HabitatSteppingStones.org.au

No computer? No problem -Just write to the address below and we’ll mail you everything you need. Habitat Stepping Stones, Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University NSW 2109. This project is assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust

Living Ocean

Living Ocean was born in Whale Beach, on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, surrounded by water and set in an area of incredible beauty.
Living Ocean is a charity that promotes the awareness of human impact on the ocean, through research, education, creative activity in the community, and support of others who sustain ocean health and integrity.

And always celebrating and honouring the natural environment and the lifestyle that the ocean offers us.

Our whale research program builds on research that has been conducted off our coastline by our experts over many years and our Centre for Marine Studies enables students and others to become directly involved.

Through partnerships with individuals and organizations, we conceive, create and coordinate campaigns that educate all layers of our community – from our ‘No Plastic Please’ campaign, which is delivered in partnership with local schools, to film nights and lectures, aimed at the wider community.

Additionally, we raise funds for ocean-oriented conservation groups such as Sea Shepherd.

Donations are tax-deductable 

Newport Community Gardens

Anyone interested in joining our community garden group please feel free to come and visit us on Sunday at 10am at the Woolcott Reserve in Newport!

Keep in Touch with what's happening on Newport Garden's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/newportcg/

Avalon Preservation Association

The Avalon Preservation Association, also known as Avalon Preservation Trust. We are a not for profit volunteer community group incorporated under the NSW Associations Act, established 50 years ago. We are committed to protecting your interests – to keeping guard over our natural and built environment throughout the Avalon area.

Membership of the association is open to all those residents and/or ratepayers of Avalon Beach and adjacent areas who support the aims and objectives of our Association.

Permaculture Northern Beaches 

Manly • Warringah • Pittwater | Sydney
Permaculture Northern Beaches (PNB) is an active local group based on Sydney's Northern Beaches.  Our parent body is  Permaculture Sydney North.

PNB hold monthly permaculture related events on the 4th Thursday of each month at 7:15pm at the  Nelson Heather Community Centre,  Banksia Room, 5 Jacksons Rd, Warriewood

Report illegal dumping

NSW Government

The RIDonline website lets you report the types of waste being dumped and its GPS location. Photos of the waste can also be added to the report.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA), councils and Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) squads will use this information to investigate and, if appropriate, issue a fine or clean-up notice. Penalties for illegal dumping can be up to $15,000 and potential jail time for anybody caught illegally dumping within five years of a prior illegal dumping conviction.

The Green Team

This Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative has been attracting high praise from the founders of Living Ocean as much as other local environment groups recently. 
Creating Beach Cleans events, starting their own, sustainability days - ‘action speaks louder than words’ ethos is at the core of this group. 
Permaculture Northern Beaches

Want to know where your food is coming from? 

Do you like to enrich the earth as much as benefit from it?

Find out more here:


Australian Native Foods website: http://www.anfil.org.au/

Avalon Boomerang Bags

Avalon Boomerang Bags was introduced to us by Surfrider Foundation and Living Ocean, they both helped organise with the support of Pittwater Council the Recreational room at Avalon Community Centre which we worked from each Tuesday. This is the Hub of what is a Community initiative to help free Avalon of single use plastic bags and to generally spread the word of the overuse of plastic. 

Find out more and get involved.

Avalon Community Garden

Community Gardens bring people together and enrich communities. They build a sense of place and shared connection.


Avalon Community Garden is a community led initiative to create accessible food gardens in public places throughout the Pittwater area. Our aim is to share skills and knowledge in creating fabulous local, organic food. But it's not just about great food. We also aim to foster community connection, stimulate creative ideas for community resilience and celebrate our abundance. Open to all ages and skills, our first garden is on the grounds of Barrenjoey High School (off Tasman Road)Become part of this exciting initiative to change the world locally. 

Avalon Community Garden
2 Tasman Road
North Avalon

Wildlife Carers and Organisations in Pittwater:

Sydney Wildlife rescues, rehabilitates and releases sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife. From penguins, to possums and parrots, native wildlife of all descriptions passes through the caring hands of Sydney Wildlife rescuers and carers on a daily basis. We provide a genuine 24 hour, 7 day per week emergency advice, rescue and care service.

As well as caring for sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife, Sydney Wildlife is also involved in educating the community about native wildlife and its habitat. We provide educational talks to a wide range of groups and audiences including kindergartens, scouts, guides, a wide range of special interest groups and retirement villages. Talks are tailored to meet the needs and requirements of each group. 


Found an injured native animal? We're here to help.

Keep the animal contained, warm, quiet and undisturbed. Do not offer any food or water. Call Sydney Wildlife immediately on 9413 4300, or take the animal to your nearest vet. Generally there is no charge. Find out more at: www.sydneywildlife.org.au

Southern Cross Wildlife Care was launched over 6 years ago. It is the brainchild of Dr Howard Ralph, the founder and chief veterinarian. SCWC was established solely for the purpose of treating injured, sick and orphaned wildlife. No wild creature in need that passes through our doors is ever rejected. 


People can assist SCWC by volunteering their skills ie: veterinary; medical; experienced wildlife carers; fundraising; "IT" skills; media; admin; website etc. We are always having to address the issue of finances as we are a non commercial veterinary service for wildlife in need, who obviously don't have cheque books in their pouches. It is a constant concern and struggle of ours when we are pre-occupied with the care and treatment of the escalating amount of wildlife that we have to deal with. Just becoming a member of SCWC for $45 a year would be a great help. Regular monthly donations however small, would be a wonderful gift and we could plan ahead knowing that we had x amount of funds that we could count on. Our small team of volunteers are all unpaid even our amazing vet Howard, so all funds raised go directly towards our precious wildlife. SCWC is TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

Find out more at: southerncrosswildlifecare.org.au/wp/

Avalon Boomerang Bags 2019 

WORKSHOPS are held Tuesdays during the school term
at the Avalon Recreation Centre 11.30 - 3.30pm

Everyone is welcome; come for an hour or come for all 4, we'll even provide a cuppa and guaranteed laughs.  Non-sewers also very useful.

Pop in with your excess fabric donations or spare enviro bag donations. We also sell our very handy Boomerang Bag coffee cups, stainless steel drink bottles and other enviro products and of course, our "Bought to Support"  bags. 

These two koalas lost their mothers to deforestation

I call on you to urgently end the deforestation and land-clearing crisis by making potential koala habitat, threatened species habitat, and other high-conservation-value areas off limits to clearing, and by repealing the land-clearing codes.

I also urge you to invest in a restoration and conservation fund and deliver the world-class mapping, monitoring, and reporting the community expects.

Long Reef Guided Reef Walks

Please find below the 2017 – 2018 timetable for guided walks of Long Reef Aquatic Reserve.

If you’d like to join us on a walk please contact me a couple of weeks before the walk date to make a booking. FREE GUIDED WALKS of Long Reef Aquatic Reserve with NSW Department of Industry & Investment Fishcare Volunteers will be held on the following date:

Dates for 2019
Sunday 6 January 2019         3:00pm – 5:00pm
Sunday 20 January 2019       2:00pm – 4:00pm
Sunday 17 February 2019     1:00pm – 3:00pm
Sunday 17 March 2019          11:30am – 1:30pm
Sunday 7 April 2019               2:30pm  – 4:30pm

Walks are held subject to weather conditions

Bookings are preferred.
Please email Wendy to book:

Newport Community Garden: Working Bee Second Sunday of the month

Newport Community Gardens Inc. is a not for profit incorporated association. The garden is in Woolcott Reserve.

Local Northern Beaches residents creating sustainable gardens in public spaces
Strengthening the local community, improving health and reconnecting with nature
To establish ecologically sustainable gardens for the production of vegetables, herbs, fruit and companion plants within Pittwater area 
To enjoy and forge friendships through shared gardening.
Membership is open to all Community members willing to participate in establishing gardens and growing sustainable food.
Subscription based paid membership.
We meet at the garden between 9am – 12 noon
New members welcome

For enquiries contact newportcommunitygardenau@gmail.com
4 Pines Brewery Newport will be providing up-cycled malt bags from the brewery to store the trash and keep it from our shores. 

Do you get a beer? 
Absolutely! 4 Pines will hand out tokens to participants which will be redeemable for a fresh cold beer back at Public House. 

Bushcare in Pittwater 

For further information or to confirm the meeting details for below groups, please contact Council's Bushcare Officer on 9970 1367

Where we work                      Which day                              What time 

Angophora Reserve             3rd Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Dunes                        1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Golf Course              2nd Wednesday                 3 - 5:30pm 
Careel Creek                         4th Saturday                      8:30 - 11:30am 
Toongari Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon (8 - 11am in summer) 
Bangalley Headland            2nd Sunday                         9 to 12noon 

Winnererremy Bay                 4th Sunday                        9 to 12noon 

North Bilgola Beach              3rd Monday                        9 - 12noon 
Algona Reserve                     1st Saturday                       9 - 12noon 
Plateau Park                          1st Friday                            8:30 - 11:30am 

Church Point     
Browns Bay Reserve             1st Tuesday                        9 - 12noon 
McCarrs Creek Reserve       Contact Bushcare Officer     To be confirmed 

Old Wharf Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      8 - 11am 

Kundibah Reserve                   4th Sunday                       8:30 - 11:30am 

Mona Vale     
Mona Vale Beach Basin          1st Saturday                    8 - 11am 
Mona Vale Dunes                     2nd Saturday+3rd Thursday     8:30 - 11:30am 

Bungan Beach                          4th Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
Crescent Reserve                    3rd Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
North Newport Beach              4th Saturday                    8:30 - 11:30am 
Porter Reserve                          2nd Saturday                  8 - 11am 

North Narrabeen     
Irrawong Reserve                     2nd Saturday                   2 - 5pm 

Palm Beach     
North Palm Beach Dunes      3rd Saturday                    9 - 12noon 

Scotland Island     
Catherine Park                          2nd Sunday                     10 - 12:30pm 
Elizabeth Park                           1st Saturday                      9 - 12noon 
Pathilda Reserve                      3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon 

Warriewood Wetlands             1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 

Whale Beach     
Norma Park                               1st Friday                            9 - 12noon 

Western Foreshores     
Coopers Point, Elvina Bay      2nd Sunday                        10 - 1pm 
Rocky Point, Elvina Bay           1st Monday                          9 - 12noon

What Does PNHA do?


About Pittwater Natural Heritage Association (PNHA)
With urbanisation, there are continuing pressures that threaten the beautiful natural environment of the Pittwater area. Some impacts are immediate and apparent, others are more gradual and less obvious. The Pittwater Natural Heritage Association has been formed to act to protect and preserve the Pittwater areas major and most valuable asset - its natural heritage. PNHA is an incorporated association seeking broad based community membership and support to enable it to have an effective and authoritative voice speaking out for the preservation of Pittwater's natural heritage. Please contact us for further information.

Our Aims
  • To raise public awareness of the conservation value of the natural heritage of the Pittwater area: its landforms, watercourses, soils and local native vegetation and fauna.
  • To raise public awareness of the threats to the long-term sustainability of Pittwater's natural heritage.
  • To foster individual and community responsibility for caring for this natural heritage.
  • To encourage Council and the NSW Government to adopt and implement policies and works which will conserve, sustain and enhance the natural heritage of Pittwater.
Act to Preserve and Protect!
If you would like to join us, please fill out the Membership Application Form ($20.00 annually - $10 concession)

Email: pnhainfo@gmail.com Or click on Logo to visit website.

Think before you print ; A kilo of recycled paper creates around 1.8 kilograms of carbon emissions, without taking into account the emissions produced from transporting the paper. So, before you send a document to print, think about how many kilograms of carbon emissions you could save by reading it on screen.

Pittwater's Environmental Foundation

Pittwater Environmental Foundation was established in 2006 to conserve and enhance the natural environment of the Pittwater local government area through the application of tax deductible donations, gifts and bequests. The Directors were appointed by Pittwater Council. 


About 33% (about 1600 ha excluding National Parks) of the original pre-European bushland in Pittwater remains in a reasonably natural or undisturbed condition. Of this, only about 400ha remains in public ownership. All remaining natural bushland is subject to encroachment, illegal clearing, weed invasion, feral animals, altered drainage, bushfire hazard reduction requirements and other edge effects. Within Pittwater 38 species of plants or animals are listed as endangered or threatened under the Threatened Species Act. There are two endangered populations (Koala and Squirrel Glider) and eight endangered ecological communities or types of bushland. To visit their site please click on logo above.

Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment Activities

Bush Regeneration - Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment  
This is a wonderful way to become connected to nature and contribute to the health of the environment.  Over the weeks and months you can see positive changes as you give native species a better chance to thrive.  Wildlife appreciate the improvement in their habitat.

Belrose area - Thursday mornings 
Belrose area - Weekend mornings by arrangement
Contact: Phone or text Conny Harris on 0432 643 295

Wheeler Creek - Wednesday mornings 9-11am
Contact: Phone or text Judith Bennett on 0402 974 105
Or email: Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment : email@narrabeenlagoon.org.au
"I bind myself today to the power of Heaven, the light of the sun, the brightness of the moon, the splendour of fire, the flashing of lightning, the swiftness of wind, the depth of the sea, the stability of the earth, the compactness of rocks." -  from the Prayer of Saint Patrick