• Ian

Letter from Istari - May 2022

Updated: May 22

Floods - Weeds - Feral Pigs - Koala - Val Jac the Goanna - Dingo - Tree Planting - Tree Troff - Cane Toads - Images of the Bush

The summer was, in one word, wet. The rain was regular and the ground just got more saturated. La Niña was promised and it rained. Sadly some living trees started falling over with the ground soaked and soft.

The storms became more frequent. As January progressed we ended up with 155mm of rain falling which is below the average of 170mm. The previous month delivered 249mm, a lot over the December average of 143mm.

February brought the first really hot day, getting up to 38ºC, followed by a big storm dropping 61mm of torrential rain in ninety minutes. The creeks and wetland rose rapidly with flash flooding.


This was the beginning of the wettest February ever recorded.


The Floods of 2022

I suppose the floods were inevitable but the scale is something else. These were the biggest floods we have seen and recorded.

We created two blogs, our first flood diary and The Floods of 2022, on the floods so I won't go into those details.

As February and the summer drew to an end the rain really started. Firstly it was storms and then rain events to beat all other rain events.


We had our first mini flood followed by the big one.

See the unfolding event with lots of photos in our first flood diary with lots of photos including the rescue of Jac our three legged goanna.

The floods that descended on us on those last days of February will not be forgotten. The record breaking flood nearly flooded our house and destroyed large sections of the north coast especially around Lismore.

By the end of February we had recorded an incredible 636mm of rain. But this wasn’t the end.

It just kept raining through March, keeping the ground totally saturated. Although we didn’t get lots of rain we had it almost every day, some days delivering a few millimetres or with a storm 30 to 60mm.

As March came to an end the rain came again along with the second huge flood.

The affect on the bush was amazing to see.

See our blog The Floods of 2022 for a full wrap up of the mini and major floods including Terry's journey to Lismore after the big flood.


Weeds

The plank is attached by wire to a star picket.  The plank got washed away in one of the floods, snapping the wire.
Plank bridge to cross the creek

In January, before the floods we went back to work slashing the annual weed growth on the other side of the creek. We could easily cross the creek with our plank bridge at the time.

The annual weeds were in full growth at that time reaching a couple of metres high after so much rain. We wanted to cut them down before they seeded and spent several days slashing them.

After the floods all those weeds we slashed died anyway after being completely submerged in flood water. You can’t tell the future.


Last year we managed to get a grant through the Land for Wildlife program to work on our cats claw creeper* infestation. The grant provided $2000 worth of work. We used a group through our local Clarence Environment Centre, to do the work. The effects were visible by January. It can take up to six weeks to see the results with cats claw. Terry and I also continued spraying after the team left. As is usual we missed some and some regrew.

Terry and I went back down to carry out a second round of spraying in January.

Cats claw is often difficult to see as the vine grows up the trunk only showing the leaves at the top of the tree. Sometimes these vines can grow to the diameter as thick as an persons leg. We found one that had grown up a young tree, curling around the tree and gradually embedding into the trunk as the small tree grew..


Cats claw vine embedded in a Lilly Pilly trunk

The vine trunk had been cut off at the base as is usual practice but we were astonished to see that the vine had not died above the cut. The vine had tapped into the tree to continue to get its nutrients!

We finally have been able to cross the creek after the flood. The floods have changed the area that we had sprayed but you can see where we did our second spraying.


For further information on Cats Claw Creeper see our blog Killing Cats Claw