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First Falls 2022 Report

Published on 12/30/2022

First Falls Project report 2022 

Say Morialta to most locals and you usually get a response along the lines of "Oh we love visiting the Falls and the playground". It is definitely a local favourite! First Falls is one of our most visited project sites - even if most people don't realise they are visiting it at the time. The current project commenced in 2012 with myself (Liz Milner) and Ann Taylor going out together once a month to remove the weeds along the walking track from the First Falls car park and to work near the base of the falls. The project will be 10 years old in November 2022 and the transformation along the walking track and near the base of the falls is apparent to anyone who visits regularly. The current team has grown from just the two in 2012 and they are a fabulous crew who each have their own preferred patch to work on, it is wonderful to see their "small project areas" transform as they perform the vital followup work each year to keep the introduced plants at bay. It is heartening to see the native plants still bouncing back even more after the removal of blackberry in particular.

Our primary focus has always been the highest quality bush, and so the north side of the creekline has been mostly ignored, with some effort each year going into pushing the blackberry front downstream where it is thickest - this is only a metre or so each year, but given that the blackberry used to grow all the way to the pool at the base of the falls we have pushed it back a nice distance now. This year we also had a small team jump across the creek to the old track below the falls and start on the removal of fennel. They did a great job on the more mature fennel but there will be plenty of seedlings in the years to come! They have already done a lot of work removing the broom in this area.

 Lovely regeneration at the base of First Falls February 2022

First Falls at the 6th July 2022 habitat restoration event

We were also lucky to have a few volunteers drop in and help on the steeper slopes not suited to most volunteers over the past 12 months. There is an extensive area of Wonga Wonga vine in the gully above the last bridge and a large area was treated this year. Some of the larger boneseed above the track was also removed along with any broom we could see flowering, an important annual spring job! The area just below the last bridge has also seen extensive blackberry removed this year, with the track crew coming in and spraying the blackberry there will be a few years of followup needed to keep this area under control, but we are already seeing some great native regeneration.

Over the past 10 years the project has seen many of the deciduous trees which do not belong removed from the walking track and creekline. All the willows and ash were removed and all the Arundo (a bamboo) treated, though vigilance is still needed to ensure they don't return. Even some non-local wattles have also been removed. This year volunteers have extended the area clear of olives and basaling of Rhamnus and olive continues with the area around and above the walking tracks and Giants Cave treated extended again this year.

Some First Falls volunteers at work during 2022:

It has been my pleasure to instigate this project and co-ordinate with the help of others for almost 10 years. As mentioned in previous newsletters I am now off to live in New South Wales in October. Many thanks to the many different people who have been involved in the project over that time. The project no longer has a dedicated project co-ordinator, so if this is of interest to you please contact either myself or the current committee. The project will continue to be run with the support of the rangers and the committee until a new co-ordinator can be found. The website had the First Falls history published earlier this year and the images there tell a great story of recovery. Check it out! First Falls History

Liz Milner
September 2022

Group photo 7 September 2022

7 September 2022 it was time to say farewell to Liz as the co-ordinator of the First Falls volunteers. Liz has now relocated interstate. 
Volunteers and Ranger Tom got together for this group photo.

We thank Liz for her huge commitment, dedication and contribution to the work of the Friends in her many roles.