Introduction of The Mt Barney Journey

The members of The World As I Am began work in the Yamahra Valley back in 2013 focusing on the infestation of Moth Vine within the National Park. Since then the company was formed and work has continued within the park both funded and volunteer.

The problem was, upstream from the National Park were three privately owned properties all of each also contained this Moth Vine. Although all three properties were diligent in controlling this vine, it still posed an extreme threat to the valley.

After speaking Ben Barton from Mt Barney Wilderness Retreat we had our first of three land holder interested in forming a united front to attack the Moth Vine. Soon after The Bulimba Catchment Committee (B4C) purchased the land east of Ben's property and it was then that the situation really changed.

After a meeting with the President of B4C The World As I Am surveyed the entire catchment line within these properties. The report was submitted and from there it was decided that B4C would fund the treatment of both Ben's and B4C's property. Works began in the upper portion of the catchment line, which flows into the Logan and therefore Brisbane river.

During these works the final land holders were contacted and a survey was completed by The World AS I Am. The Grace's Hut group were happy to join this catchment team.

All of which was funded by B4C.

The B4C Environment Fund trustees recently decided, with the generous support of their donors, to expand the Yamarha Ck Mothvine Project to cover all properties in the upper catchment and has committed an additional $8,000 taking the Funds total investment to $14,000 so far. This along with the NP work should give us a good chance of significantly slowing the spread of the infestation.

Let this be an example to all the valleys in SE QLD. Patients and persistence does pay off.

On a personal and professional level I would like to thank B4C. Your commitment to the environment is priceless.

And so the Catchment team was formed.


Journal of Works

Click on the dates below to view the works journal entries for that date.

+ WEEK OF 15/FEB/2016

Sunday afternoon as we entered B4C’s property we commence a slow drive by, searching for Moth vine along the access track. We identified a couple of Moth vine and destroyed them. Searching further in this location we discovered a large infestation. We tagged it with the intention to return on Tuesday, if we had time.

Works continued in Grace’s Hut from last week along the south bank of the creek line heading towards the National Park. Density remained consistent, as did the stinging nettle. Once we reached the boundary we moved to the access track and headed back towards the infrastructure. By the end of the first day we had treated ¾ with only 150m remaining.

On the Tuesday we continued to the Hoop pines before crossing the creek line and heading back to the National Park. This was completed by lunch time, which concluded Graces’ Hut.

Thanks to Corne Mare who volunteered for two full hot and humid days, we were ahead of schedule. I am happy to say that there will be no pod collecting this year. I am sure that is a relief.

With a couple of hours remaining we returned to the sight we identified Sunday afternoon and treated the infestation. This sight is typical of bird dispersal as the parent plant was 2 years older than any other species on sight which is consistent with Moth vines not podding before 2 years of growth. Regardless, the surrounding areas were searched but no further evidence of Moth Vine was located.

This concludes works within the Yamahra Creek valley with the exception of one day in Raspberry flats and a volunteer day to complete the catchment line on the Graces’ Hut and National Park boundary.

I want to thank Ben Barton from Mt Barney Wilderness Retreat for your support, allowing us to stay for free to complete the work in the valley. So many great memories at your place. I look forward to see you again soon my friend.

Thank you Grace’s Hut group for allowing us to prevent seed source from entering the National park and for the use of your place for the last 2 weeks of the project.

Bulimba Creek Catchment Committee for having the foresight and the heart to support and fund this project. Also for allowing your staff to assist in zone 1. Your dedication to the environment is impressive and I thank you.

And finally, thank you Justin for allowing The World As I Am to continue works in the park and starting the process of cleaning the whole of Yamahra valley.

On a final note, I am proud to have been a part of such a significant project. Having 4 separate land holders, a business, a non-profit organisation, a private land holder and Queensland Parks and Wildlife working together to support the environment, is a dream come true.

It has been a pleasure. I truly will miss this place.

+ WEEK OF 08/FEB/2016

Just wanted to start by saying although Stinging Nettle is native, being stung more than 50 times per day is getting really old.

Monday we returned to the Mt Barney National Park and continued from the previous week. A new area not previously identified was located 50m north of the creek line that was heavily infested.

We treated all Moth Vine to the Hoop pine forest before returning, south side of the access track, to Raspberry flats where we completed the areas that didn’t take to the burn off. From there the catchment line entering Yamahra creek west of Raspberry flats was treated.

We then travelled west to the boundary of Grace’s Hut and the National Park and headed north up the catchment line. This area was heavily infested with very mature species at least 5 to 7 years old. Progress was slow and although I assumed this catchment line would be completed, the numbers prevented it. I will return to this area on a weekend in the near future with some volunteers to complete this catchment line in my own time.

I also spotted some more Moth Vine on Cleared Ridge on the north side which is worrying as these vines are about 3 years old. Last year would have been their first podding so that means the moth vine will be entering the next valley. I will remove these vines during the volunteering weekend.

Tuesday we returned to Grace’s Hut. Continuing from where we let off a few weeks ago we headed east towards the National Park in the creek to 20m south. We made it about ¾ way down the creek line just before the Flowering Peach. This leaves two days to complete the creek line to the boundary and head back towards the huts along the access track. Then crossing the creek and heading east towards the park.

It will be tight but we have a trained volunteer coming with us in the attempt to complete this property on time.

+ WEEK OF 01/FEB/2016

Work began on the north side of the access track on the catchment line immediately west of Raspberry flats heading west towards Grace’s Hut. It was great to see an area that was heavily infested last year completely clean, less the recruitment. We continued west to the Hoop pine forest.

Some mature species sprayed last year were still present but 98% of Moth Vine treated were less than 8 months old. Recruitment was very high but easy to handle. Most were hand removed.

Once we reached the hoop pine forest we followed the southern side of creek line heading east towards Raspberry Flats returning to the catchment line before crossing the creek and heading west again.

Again very few species over 2 years old but the juveniles where everywhere. So dense and hidden within the Lomandra. At times there were more than 150 within a square metre. Works concluded 70m short of the Hoop Pine forest.

Next week we will continue from that point and complete the creek line to the Hoop Pine forest. We will then return to the catchment line that enters Yamahra creek immediately west of Raspberry Flats and treat it from the access track to Yamahra creek.

Once completed we will head west and complete the catchline line on the Grace’s Hut boundary that runs parallel with the access track as you enter the park. That will conclude works within the park with the exclusion of the day saved for Raspberry Flats.

Works will then return to Grace’s Hut for the three remaining days.

ON A FINAL NOTE: Wanted to thank Jannico Kelk and Corne Mare (who volunteered for 3 full days) for your dedication. Through the ridiculous heat and humidity, working in sweat soaked long clothing, surrounded by Wild Raspberries and Stinging Nettles the team pushed on and achieved more than was expected. Well done team. The environment thanks you for your legendary effort.

+ WEEK OF 25/JAN/2016

Works moved to the National park at the junction of Mt Barney creek and Yamahra Creek heading west towards Grace’s Hut. Prior to entering the park, I briefly surveyed the effect of fire on Moth Vine as it could be a potential tool implemented in the control technique. Below is a list of observations:

  • All presence of juvenile Moth vine gone. It is unclear atm whether they have been destroyed but given their shallow root system at this stage, presume they have been.
  • All species less than two years old have been destroyed. Again, no evidence of them present as the fire has incinerated them to the point where nothing remains. Further monitoring is required.
  • Mature species, the burnt stems leading to the basal of each vine are still present but dead. Following the vine to the basal, they are still alive but easy to locate.

From the junction heading west to the first creek crossing on the access track the density wasn’t too bad but much higher than last year. All Moth vine treated were less than 8 months old therefore manually removed. From that crossing, heading up stream the density dramatically increased to triple that of last year.

Again juveniles allowed us to manually remove but the numbers within the Lomandra’s were very high considering all pods from the mature species were collected the previous year. The seed bank within the soil will be active for the next 7 years even if we prevent and further seed dispersal.

By lunchtime the third day we had covered from the junction of Mt Barney Creek and Yamahra creek to the catchment line entering Yamahra creek east of Raspberry Flats. We also covered the creek line heading west from that catchment line to the next catchline line before beginning the access track heading east. And that is where we stayed for the rest of the day.

The area is so infested, with species so mature and intertwined that in 3 hours we only covered an area 10ms deep by 30ms wide. Problem is that spot or over spray using a registered herbicide for Moth Vine will not work as the foliage is not dense enough to absorb enough herbicide to kill these vines given the bio mass of the root system. The understorey is so thick with grasses and bracken that to locate a basal of a vine that runs 10ms through the understorey before shooting up a shrub, tree etc, is extremely time consuming.

If we are to continue this way, all time allocated to this project would be absorbed into this one area. In my opinion there is only one option. After speaking with the ranger inn charge, he agreed to burn Raspberry Flats. This way all recruitment will be destroyed, the 2 to 3 year vines will require monitoring but the mature species will shoot again within the next few months. With the understorey open we will be able to target the Moth Vine in a far more efficient manner.

Next week works will begin on the catchment line west of Raspberry Flats and head west towards the Hoop pine forest. There are 5 days remaining. One will be saved to return to Raspberry Flats.

+ WEEK OF 18/JAN/2016

This week work continued in the Grace’s Hut property in the cattle yard. The remaining section north of the cattle yard was consistent to the previous week with patches of extremely high density. Once completed we moved to the eastern side of the catchment line joining Yamahra creek that runs alongside the cattle yard before heading east along Yamahra creek.

The first round of works are complete in Grace’s Hut and we will begin the final 3 days once the National Park is completed.

Tuesday we were to start in the park but Ben brought it to my attention Monday afternoon that the park and the eastern portion of Grace’s hut was to be burned, preventing us from entering the park. So Tuesday and Wednesday we returned to Ben’s and B4C’s property to complete the final 2 days of secondary work.

Over the two days we completed zones 1,2,5,8 and 9. This concludes work in these two properties. Once the Green Army begins I recommend that all catchment lines (outside the treatment areas) leading into Yamahra Creek be surveyed and Moth Vines removed including pods asap.

Time remaining in the valley is 8 days in the National Park and 3 days at Grace’s Hut. As long as everything goes according to plan, works will be completed by the 16th of February.

Below are some images over the 3 days at Barney

+ WEEK OF 04/JAN/2016

Works continued in the Grace’s Hut property in the cattle yard. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were to be the last days in this property but rain on Tuesday prevented work to continue. Wednesday the rain ceased and works continued. The hope was that we would quickly finish the cattle yard and continue along the creek line from the hoop pines at the junction of the final catchment and head east to the park.

Unfortunately after completing the cattle yard the surrounding areas were absolutely inundated with Moth Vine. I believe that pods were collected in the cattle yard and left in a pile but not removed. Thousands of Moth vine were present between the eastern side of the cattle yards to the access track. Progress was so frustratingly slow.

These moth vines were at least 3 years old, yet the growth was that of a juvenile due to slashing or fire or both. Vines only 30cms long with minimal foliage. Ideally, I would have used the spot spraying technique simply because of the amount of time it takes to cut and paint vines in such density, but because of the amount of foliage per vine, spot spraying would not kill the bio mass of root systems within the soil. Truly was a nightmare.

As a result, after Wednesday we had removed the Moth vines in the heaviest populated areas but are still yet to finish this area. Unless there are more nasty surprises we should have it completed by morning tea time. Then we will continue with the creek line.

If the lower creek between the Hoop pines and the park is consistent with the upper creek, we would need 3 more days to complete the northern and southern sides of the creek line to the access track but given the width and if we come across areas were pods have been stocked and not collected it could be more. Finally there is the southern side of the access track. Maybe half a day.

So it is obvious that we aren’t going to complete Grace’s Hut within the 10 days. We will press forward as hard as we normally do but this first pass has been trying. Confident that every area we have treated is complete but we need more days. We will leave this decision to this catchment team. We are open to whatever needs to be done to complete this as we have come this far. If funding is a problem then we would recommend a volunteer weekend. Not ideal but The World As I Am will be there to educate the volunteers and QA the works.

This coming week after the day remaining at Grace’s Hut, we will return to the junction of Mt Barney creek and Yamahra creek and head west. We have 8 days to reach the hoop pine forest. Creek line and access track. It will be a challenge.. one way or another it will be done.

+ WEEKS OF 21/DEC/2015 AND 28/DEC/2015

Works continued in the property east of Mt Barney National Park. Treatment continued from the previous week which was on the southern side of the creek line on the last catchment line that enters Yamahra creek before the infrastructure. Traveling east towards the National Park the southern side was completed all the way to the crossing on the east side of the infrastructure. The density of the Moth Vine was consistent through this area slowing progress.

We returned to the western border to begin works on the northern side of the creek line. Again heading east. The first 150m wasn’t too bad but after that works came to a grinding holt as the Moth Vine was the densest identified in the valley thus far. Works concluded about 50m short of the previous weeks on the southern side of the creek.

This week we will complete the northern side up to the hoop pines before returning to the western border again to begin on the southern side of the access track and head east towards the infrastructure along with the catchment lines entering Yamahra Creek.

Moth Vine is in full flower we are extending work iur days as we need to return to the park and eradicate the Moth Vine before they start to pod.

+ WEEK OF 14/DEC/2015

This week works began in the western portion of a property west of the National Park. Starting on the southern side of the creek line we treated the area between the access track and the creek.

The section from the first crossing to the tree line was extremely dense. Very mature species treated in the past were identified and treated. Juveniles ran into the hundreds, with plenty of open seed pods meaning that there is a rich source of seed bank. For this reason alone progress was slow. We moved as quickly as we could despite the amount of Nettles and Wild Raspberry that continuously cut and stung us.

Heading east from the first tree line the density reduced but high density was consistent. Again very mature species growing through the Lomandra, through the undergrowth and so many juveniles. What would appear to be a huge vines growing over the Lomandra would constantly be 10 to 15 vines, obviously where a pod had dispersed its seeds.

Continuing east we came across a second location where work was really slowed due to the extreme density. This location is just west of the infrastructure of this property in the final catchment line that joins Yamahra Creek.

Work concluded in this catchment line and will continue this Monday and Tuesday.

I would like to welcome the newest member of The World As I Am... Jannico Kelk who started with us last week. I am happy to say that he handled every environmental factor Barney could throw at him with flying colours. Despite the ticks and leeches, the fly's and Sting Nettles, the Wild Raspberry and Lantana and the oppressive heat and humidity there wasn't a single complaint, where most people would have given up. Nice work Jannico.

The B4C Environment Fund trustees recently decided, with the generous support of their donors, to expand the Yamarha Ck Mothvine Project to cover all properties in the upper catchment and has committed an additional $8,000 taking the Funds total investment to $14,000 so far. This along with the NP work should give us a good chance of significantly slowing the spread of the infestation.

+ WEEK OF 07/DEC/2015

We continue works within the park in the western portion.

Starting on the northern side of then creek from where we finished in the previous week. Again the progress was slow due to the density of Lomandra, Rubus and Stinging nettles as the Moth Vine were present in high density, growing through the understorey up to 20m in length.

Once the northern side of the creek was completed we continued along the southern side where very mature Moth Vines smothered the native vegetation along the creek banks, in some cases covering a whole trees with hundreds of old pods. These species would have to be 5 years old at least. Along the southern bank the Moth Vines extended far beyond the 20m allocated zones and where also treated which impeded on the time frame for that area. It is believe that there are more Moth Vine further south of the treated area and most likely very mature as the eco system is ideal. It is recommended that time is allocated to these areas for further surveying and treatment.

Should the rest of the valley (within the National Park) be completed within the time frame we will return to this site and search the habitats.

This area, between the Grace’s Hut boundary in the east to the first creek crossing in the west is by far the highest population on Moth Vine within the park. The seed bank is extensive and further treatment and monitoring of this area is fundamental to the success of this project.

After 2 full days of treatment in the western portion of the park we returned to the Hoop Pine forest and headed east, completing that portion before the end of the day. All primary work has now been completed within the park therefore we will return once primary work in the Grace’s Hut property is completed.

Moth Vine has begun flowering so it is now a race against time to remove the vines before they begin to form seed pods. After Christmas we may have to convert to three day weeks rather than 2 day weeks to counter this process.

Next week we begin work on the western portion of Grace’s Hut on the B4C boundary, heading east towards the National Park.

+ WEEKS OF 24/NOV/2015 AND 01/DEC/2015

2 weeks of work at Mt Barney. We started in B4C's property on the SW boundary in the final zone. Zone 5 contains a very dense understorey of Rubus and Cissus that carpeted the ground making it very difficult to locate the moth vines basal. With broken terrain, the vegetation continuously hide deep holes along the catchment line making this zone a test of patience.

During this trip the flies started to annoy us for the first time. 4 different species of flies, all that stung like the horse fly. The constant attacks made work even more uncomfortable.

With the completion of zone 5 all primary work was completed on the two properties.

We began secondary work on Ben's properties in the upper portion of the catchment line and headed downstream. Work in these properties will conclude after the next visit.

+ WEEK OF 16/NOV/2015

The World As I Am returned to Mt Barney to remove moth vine threatening the valley. This week we had the assistance of Bulimba Catchment Committee.. BC4.. attacking the zone with the highest density of moth vine to date. I would like to thank Daryl, Chris and Chris for their help. Works were completed ahead of schedule which allowed us to continue treatment outside of the previously identified areas.

On Monday the 12th and the following Tuesday works continued in the valley of Yamahra Creek at Mt Barney on the eastern portion of Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C) property.

Many of the areas worked on during this visit had the highest densities of Moth Vine identified in the valley to date. Seed was collected from the pod that had already ripened and dispersed. Luckily each seeds were trapped in the understorey.

GPS co-ordinates were collected that identify areas of significance for future monitoring and treatment.

By next visit the primary works for this property will be completed.

Mt Barney really turned it on for us this trip. We were lucky to experience nature at its best. Ticks and Leeches, snakes... 6 if I recall correctly... jumping bull ants, mosquitoes and even a spider bite. And that was just the critters.. Stinging nettle with hairs that pentrate the skin and sting for an hour, Wild Raspberry that cuts through any exposed skin, coxspur with thorns as long as matches. Reeds in the creekline that are as sharp as razors and let not forget the Gympie Stinging trees. And best of all, if you aren't paying attention your legs can be tangled in the understorey creepers/climbers, resulting in falling over and experience a combination of any of the above..

Add a hot and humid day and we are in paradise. Why would you want to work anywhere else.

+ WEEK OF 9/NOV/2015

This week we began work in the National Park continuing on from where we left off in April. We started on the west side of the hoop pine forest where Rubus and Bracken were the dominate species in the understorey. Rubus so dense that it could support the weight of me. To access the Moth Vine we had to climb over the Rubus and treat it from above. It was very time consuming, following each vine as it wove through the vegetation. So many Moth vine in all stages of maturity.

Once this are was completed we located many pockets of outbreaks upstream but luckily there weren't so many environmental factors to inhibit our progress. That was until I came across a Tiger Snake sunny itself on the Bracken.I was searching the canopy and moving forward slowly when I looked down to see this snake only a metre in front of me. At first glance I thought it was a Carpet Python but on closer inspection the patterns weren't blotches but strips. The head also wasn't a diamond shape typical of a Carpet Python.

After lunch on the final day we commenced work on the final section in the western most protion of the National Park where the Moth Vines were very dense. Again, growing through Stinging Nettle, Rubus and Coxspur.... and the stinigng flies... so many flies.

This coming Monday work will continue from where we left off.