We are always looking for volunteers to work in the catchment removing weeds. I will provide transport to and from Brisbane, accommodation and free meals to those who are interested.
Bartopia is dedicated to promoting the conservation values of Yamahra Creek Catchment. The Yamahra Creek catchment is in the western region of the Border Ranges identified by the Australia Federal Government in October 2003 as a "biodiversity hotspot". It is a catchment area fully contained in private land and bounded on three sides by Mt Barney National Park. The creek flows into Barney Creek, the Logan River and then into Moreton Bay. So in a very public sense the work that is carried out in the upper catchment has a profound effect further downstream into the Logan river system and then into the Bay.
As well as well as being in one of the more remote and pristine catchment areas of South East Queensland Bartopia is also part of a significant land bridge between the Gondwana Rainforest to the South and remnant vegetation to the North.
At Bartopia we are committed to achieving as much as possible sustainable levels of conservation work. Part of our commitment was to propose to the Queensland State Government the establishment of the property as a Nature Refuge. It means that into perpetuity such activities as running cattle and timber logging will no longer be allowed.
In making their decision the State Government declared Bartopia Nature Refuge can make a "significant contribution to biodiversity conservation". Bartopia is an area containing or providing habitat for flora and fauna listed as rare or threatened; it has habitats or vegetation types that are threatened such as 'endangered'; it has in its boundaries of 'concern' regional ecosystems; it has remnant vegetation of significant conservation value; and it contains ecosystems and habitat types for which conservation is recommended on scientific grounds,
The upper catchment/watershed of Yamahra Creek constitutes the whole of Bartopia Nature Refuge and is infested with Lantana camara. Work has been underway for over eight years to remove this noxious weed using my own resources, volunteer work (Conservation Volunteers Australia -CVA) and ongoing generous support from the State and Australian Governments and SEQ Catchments. Other weeds of significance are emerging throughout the catchment and weed species such as Moth Vine (Araujia sericifera) and are presenting an ever increasing danger to the catchment which will require even more intense activity into the future.
In the upper reaches of the catchment Lantana camera removal with one exception has never been carried out since the valuable timber Red Cedar was removed from the area 70 years ago. Before the property was declared a Nature Refuge it had been used for grazing cattle. With no fencing over the entire catchment and the National Park the detrimental effect of unrestricted and uncontrolled cattle grazing was disastrous to the local ecology from grasses and creek banks to the transportation of a whole variety of weeds throughout the catchment. With the announcement of the Nature Refuge no cattle are allowed into the upper catchment and by inference none therefore into the whole of the catchment.
The conservation plan we have in place will hopefully have a lasting benefit in that there will be no further consolidation of dense thickets of Lantana camera. The largest and densest of thickets which was encouraged by a lack of canopy and grazing cattle and allowed to flourish over a period 70 years will be removed.
As Lantana is removed revegetation of the cleared area needs to be followed up as soon as possible to ensure stabilisation of the soil and establishment of the canopy. And before this can begin, there needs to be an adequate supply of local provenance stock tubes on hand.
A project funded by the Australian Federal Government under the provisions of the Envirofund tender has been successfully completed. The funding allowed me to collect local provenance seeds from the catchment and grow them into tube stocks ready for planting. It has provided me with sufficient tube stock for planting 2,000 native trees. We developed a flora survey of the property that fed into the seed collection regime. An on-site shade house/nursery facility was built to propagate seeds and the seeds were collected. Successful planting using volunteers from CVA were then carried out once the drought broke and the ground was moist.