Newsletter – March 2017

As Ross says in the Riddells Creek Landcare column in this March edition of Riddells Roundup –

Early March sees a big event in rabbit control—1000 doses of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus K5 were released at roughly the same time across Australia.

Greening of Riddell supports Landcare’s concern about rabbits. The property west of Wybejong Park is pockmarked with rabbit diggings, creating soil wash aways in the last few heavy rain events.

Here is some history to shine a light on the rabbit problem.
In 1859, approximately seven rabbits were released at ‘Barwon Park’ near Geelong. Just seven years later, 14,253 rabbits were shot on Barwon Park.
By 1875, the rabbit was well established in the western districts of Victoria, in South Australia at the southern end of the Flinders Ranges and around Sydney.
By 1879, the South Australian and Victorian infestations had merged covering the area from Spencer Gulf to north-eastern Victoria.
By the 1920s, rabbits had colonised most of the southern half of Australia and were present in extremely high numbers. The rate of rabbit invasion varied from 10-15 kilometres per year in wet forested country to over 100 kilometres per year in the range lands. The invasion of the rabbit was the fastest of any colonising mammal anywhere in the world.
The impact of rabbits on the Australian environment has been disastrous. Rabbits have significantly altered the botanical composition of extensive areas of natural habitat.

Rabbits are prolific breeders, able to produce numerous litters per year. Two rabbits can breed to over 180 rabbits in just 18 months!
Rabbits are stimulated to breed by the presence of nutritious green growth. This usually occurs during the wetter months but can include wet summers.
Survival of young is substantially increased when rabbits have safe harbour, especially breeding burrows and warrens. The destruction of warrens is the key to achieving long-term rabbit control.
One rabbit is one too many. Leaving a pair of rabbits or just one burrow will lead to re-infestation.
Rabbit control is most cost-effective, now, in late summer and early autumn as breeding has generally ceased in the rabbit population.

If the Chinese can eradicate flies, surely we can beat rabbits!

Newsletter – January 2017

Walkers in Wybejong Park have been cooling down next to a gurgling stream, green grass and flourishing bush plants.  Such a treat in January!  The Parks Victoria logo Healthy Parks Healthy People should add Happy Dogs.
At our last working bee three volunteers cut and poisoned the gorse regrowth on our south side frontage off River Gum Road. This included gorse around an elm tree with a honey bee hive in its base by a volunteer in her bee suit in 36 degree heat! Also paths were mowed, plants watered and weeded, then we lingered over morning tea at the picnic bench in the shade of the elms and oaks.
We have  been advised by Melbourne Water that our grant applications for 2017 were successful. We will get $1000 for fees and subscriptions, website update and administrative costs. And $1260 for weed control and creek side plants for the south side River Gum Road frontage, and for repainting, de-rusting and graffiti tag removal on the quarry steps.

We employed a local excavator contractor to extend the concrete pipe near the Somerville Lane entrance to the Park.  The drain was cleaned up and it functioned well in the Big Downpour in early January. Now, at the end of the laneway, the CFA and other big vehicles can turn left into the Park without having to do a complicated turn.

Greening of Riddell working bees are held on the first Saturday of the month, from 9:30 am till lunch time with a morning tea break.  I’m always amazed at how much a small group of people can accomplish. Feel free to come and join us.

If you wish to contact Greening of Riddell, our email address is greeningriddell@gmail.com and our postal address is PO Box 142, Riddells Creek, Victoria, 3431