June “Jachère” 2017

from the Chairman, The Mulloon Institute

As three of our months start with the letter “J” (January, June & July) I have obviously set myself a challenge to be not only creative but also relevant when I select a title for my update for those months. Peruse your dictionary and you will quickly see our English language is not blessed with an abundance of “J” words! I’ve already used “jottings” and “journal” for example.

Invertebrate survey of Mulloon Creek 2016-16

Invertebrate survey of Mulloon Creek 2016-16

A recent aquatic invertebrate study of Mulloon Creek has revealed an astounding number of bugs! 

Nearly 3500 individual invertebrates were identified across over 60 species, with a couple of creatures whose identities are yet to be confirmed. 

Huge thanks to Dr Paul Cooper and Thomas Wallenius from Australian National University who conducted the baseline survey, and to South East LLS who helped fund the project.


DPI Office of Water & DPI Fisheries creek walk

Staff from the NSW DPI Office of Water and DPI Fisheries, along with The Mulloon Institute’s Science Advisory Committee, walked a section of Mulloon Creek with us last week, to better understand the scope of works being undertaken and planned as part of the Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project.

The works are part of the MCLRP which aims to build upon results from the successful Natural Sequence Farming pilot project on the MCNF home farm.

Tony Coote (founder of The Mulloon Institute) and Peter Andrews (independent landscape thinker) were also on hand to answer questions about the project.

It was great to have several landholders there too who are taking part in the project. Their participation in the project and reflections on how it is impacting the creek is invaluable to our work.

Overall it was a great day, talking with inspired people about a unique vision for the future of the Mulloon Catchment – one where it is buffered against climatic extremes, with more reliable stream flows, improved ecosystem functioning and enhanced agricultural productivity.

Well done to Peter Hazell (MCLRP Project Coordinator) for organising such an informative and well run day.

Walking the creek with Peter Andrews

Peter Andrews – independent landscape thinker and founder of Natural Sequence Farming – recently walked a section of Mulloon Creek to help with the planning of the Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project.

Natural Sequence Farming involves managing landscapes in a way that restores natural function and resilience, which allows the land to flourish even in times of drought.

The Mulloon Institute is working with 20 landholders within the Mulloon catchment to recreate the successes of the initial pilot project at Mulloon Creek Natural Farms.

Peter gave us some great feedback on the works to date and was happy to sketch out some valuable suggestions.

Thanks Peter, it was great having you out there!

If you are interested in learning about Natural Sequence Farming for yourself, The Mulloon Institute and Tarwyn Park Training will be running a four day training course on it this November 2017.

Click here for more details. http://bit.ly/2tvDQtn

NSW Environmental Trust & South East LLS creek visit

Thanks to Michael Dine of the NSW Environmental Trust and Felicty Sturgiss from South East LLS, who visited recently to see and discuss proposed creek enhancement works at Mulloon Farm North.

The works are part of the Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project which aims to build upon results from the successful Natural Sequence Farming pilot project on the MCNF home farm.

MCLRP's ultimate aim is to rebuild natural landscape function and resilience for the entire Mulloon catchment. This will help buffer the catchment against climatic extremes, lead to more reliable stream flows, improve ecosystem functioning and enhance agricultural productivity.

Birkenburn flume construction

Green Army teams have been working hard to rehabilitate an eroded gully in the Mulloon catchment near Braidwood, NSW.

Participants mostly from nearby Canberra, used rock, recycled concrete, soil and vegetation to armour a headcut that’s been working its way up a side tributary.

The protective rock structure aims to slow down water flow, retain sediment and enhance the site’s stability and overall productivity for grazing and ecological purposes.

The works form part of the Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project, which spans 23,000 hectares and involves 20 local properties, including Birkenburn where the gully is located.

Many partners are involved in the MCLRP including the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

The MCLRP is one of only five catchment scale projects worldwide helping the UN develop guidelines for sustainable, profitable and productive farming.

May "Missive" 2017

from the Chairman, The Mulloon Institute

You have probably been checking your inbox over the past two weeks wondering when you were going to receive my May update – I can only hope! Seriously though, unfortunately the past three plus weeks have not been pleasant as I’ve been dealing with the consequences of kidney stones. Long story short, many days in hospital resulting from an aggressive infection and now compulsory rest at home with an operation expected on the 23rd June. Hopefully back to somewhere normal after that.

Landscape Function Analysis training

Several of us were out in the field recently at Kalbilli with Luke Peel - The Mulloon Institute's Research Coorindator - to learn about Landscape Function Analysis.

LFA is a monitoring system to help assess how well an ecosystem is working as a biogeochemical system. It is conducted along a downslope transect at periodic intervals to see if and how the landscape is changing.

First we looked at overall features such as grass swards, inter-patches and erosion, before getting up close and personal with the soil surface itself to assess features such as perennial vegetation cover, soil surface roughness and physical crust brokeness.

Joining us were Simone from Landtasia Compost and Martin from Landtasia Organic Farms.

Thanks for the lesson Luke!

The skies have been buzzing...

The skies above Mulloon Creek Natural Farms have been buzzing with the sound of drones, much to the amusement of resident chickens and their guardian maremma dogs.

The drones form part of a climate and farm monitoring system being trialled at Duralla by Revolution Ag and Mulloon Creek Natural Farms.

The site at Duralla is the first site in Australia to trial Revolution Ag’s solar powered climate stations, of which the drones form an integral part.

The first climate station has been installed in a paddock where it measures soil moisture, rainfall, wind direction, wind speed, air humidity and air density.

A second climate station will also be installed in the brooder shed at Duralla to measure air moisture, air humidity, and temperature.

Both climate stations are fitted with cameras to visually monitor activities in the area, while drones can be used to capture and send additional data back to the climate stations.

Mulloon Creek Natural Farms and The Mulloon Institute are interested to see how these technologies can be integrated into their activities.

ANU Landcare Intrepid visits Mulloon Creek

ANU Intrepid Landcare is a team of young adventurous volunteers (18 to 30s) who meet once a month and travel around volunteering with different Landcare/Bushcare groups in the ACT and beyond. Their projects are a mix of one day local projects and weekend adventures which involve some degree of travel out of the area. The group always explore what each region has to offer and end the day with something fun like kayaking, swimming, surfing or bush walking. ANU Intrepid Landcare also help environmental groups such as NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, private landholders, farmers and other adventure conservation groups to carry out environmental projects.

A group of 18 students from ANU Intrepid Landcare volunteered their weekend on the 25th/ 26th of Jan to learn more about the different projects happening in the landscape of the Upper Shoalhaven and Upper Deua Catchments. Their first stop for the weekend was Mulloon Creek to learn about landscape rehydration. These young landcarers had the chance to ask questions, challenge ideas, eat blackberries and collect seed along the creek bed.

"Going to the Mulloon Institute was a highly rewarding experience for all of us. It was fantastic to see the rehydration of the landscape in action, and the flow on effects of this rehydration to biodiversity, productivity and water filtration. We were all so amazed to see how well this holistic approach to landscape repair is actually working, and will take this new knowledge back to our studies at university." Emily Jones - ANU Intrepid Landcare 

"Farming" February 2017 

from the Chairman, The Mulloon Institute

This month's update could have been "Fast" February, "Fervent" February or simply February "Facts", but "Farming" February gives me the opportunity to reinforce the relationship The Mulloon Institute has with Mulloon Creek Natural Farms (MCNF). That relationship is a very important aspect of our work as the MCNF is the working and living laboratory of what we seek to achieve in The Mulloon Institute.

A big thanks to the Green Army for the works they completed following the recent Tarago fire.

With the steep and rocky nature of the catchment that was burnt on Mulloon Creek Natural Farms, a flash runoff event is likely to result in a significant volume of soil and ash being exported from the site, which carries with it a range of negative water quality and aquatic ecological implications. The team constructed a series of sediment-retention weirs, utilising vegetation that was either killed by the fire or willow that was coppiced along the creek.

(File: 1 brush weirs left) Until groundcover re-establishes, these broad log & brush weirs (sills shown in red) offer a considerable capacity to retain soil and ash on the site (yellow shading).

(File: 2 brush weirs left 2) Another brush weir designed to intercept the flow as it concentrates along the left margin of the valley floor, just downstream from the previous image.

A front and side view of another brush weir, built in an adjacent valley. Construction involves logs being staked and wired to the bed to provide a solid foundation, with a tangle of branches and brush then wired regularly along its length. Note the ‘double-U’ that is utilised to protect the flanks of the structure during high flow conditions (lowest in centre, apex upstream). When these structures are viewed under high flow conditions, the roughness of the brush breaks up the energy of the flow considerably. Clearly these biodegradable structures have a shelf life, so vegetation management provides the long-term mechanism for retaining any captured sediment

Brush layering provides an alternative approach in this more confined section of channel. The cut branches of a dead Acacia have been placed with the butt upstream and branches down, then wired to a central anchor point. Once built, lopper are utilised to ensure that the centre of the structure is the lowest point to minimise the chances of the structure being outflanked by flow around the edges.

Another Green Army Team will be coming to the Mulloon Institute soon. Applications are now open!

The Best Green Army Project in Australia! Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project The Mulloon Institute Needs You!

Nominated by the UN as one of only five case study projects worldwide demonstrating landscape scale regeneration and sustainable agriculture. Be a part of this project and learn valuable landscape regeneration skills; build creek structures, revegetate creek banks, get to know weeds, fence sensitive areas

 For people aged 17- 24 years  Work for 30 hours a week for 25 weeks on a paid allowance  Work with the Mulloon Institute team and learn how to actively regenerate and rehydrate landscapes.  Receive training in First Aid and Work Health and Safety.  Opportunity to undertake training in conservation land management certificate II modules and to obtain a nationally endorsed skill set to support you into future career opportunities. Joining a Green Army Team will provide you with the skills, training and experience to improve your employment prospects while you work on projects that generate real and lasting benefits to the Environment.

To apply: Start you application online at www.manpower.com.au/greenarmy Or phone Manpower Green Army Team on 1300725937