Protect the integrity of Mitchell Creek Catchment as a valuable natural resource and create open space for Palmerston residents.
Statement of Acknowledgement
“We acknowledge that Friends of Mitchell Creek Catchment Land-care Group Inc. operates on the Traditional lands of the Larrakia people.We respect their spiritual relationship with the country and acknowledge their cultural beliefs are important to the Larrakia people living today.”
Mitchell Creek Catchment and urban development
Mitchell Creek is a relatively natural freshwater creek system within the Catchment running along the eastern side of Palmerston in a north/southflow into Elizabeth River. Urban development is having a drastic impact on the Catchment environment with increasing loss of biodiversity and of public recreation opportunities.
Recommended aims -the result of 3 previous very detailed management plans identified the following actions as needing to occur to minimise damage caused by urban development:
UPDATE October 2017
A current activitty is the arrival of a Federally funded Green Army Team operating in the suburb of Bellmack for 6 months. There are now areas of remnant dense woodland and pandanus swampland which need biodiversity surveys to be undertaken to establish the status of tthe black footed tree rat – threatened species – and the revegetation of these areas to improve habitat.
Urban Planning in the catchment is complete for Johnston, Zuccoli and Bellamack and construction is progressing towards completion.
The major issue that remains is how to conserve and remediate the Catchment biodiversity which now exists around and within the Eastern Suburbs of Palmerston?
Farrar, for example – an earlier constructed Palmerston suburb built further North in the Catchment is still subject to housing Development Applications despite being predominately pandanus swampland.
More to come on this topic!
UPDATE May 2014
A brief reflection of the above recommendations now, in 2014, reveals that we still need to be in active pursuit of these goals. Construction is ongoing in the suburbs of Johnston and Zuccoli and the hope of success through protective zoning has turned out to be fragile. This is due to Ministerial discretion being sufficient to remove or reinstate Conservation Zoning at any time depending on the whim/aims of Government. Its evident that the whole of Mitchell Creek Catchment is way past being considered for Reserve status due to urban development. To date neither NT Government nor City of Palmerston Council have an interest or intent in balancing urban development within this intact natural Catchment environment. This is a short sighted view due to the increasing loss of amenity for residents and visitors and of the mitigating effects of retained woodland and riparian vegetation (shade eg) in terms of temperature control and heavy water flows (flooding and erosion control).
We’ve just reviewed our aims and objectives set in 2009 and have achieved a number our goals, as mentioned above clearly some are less amenable to being solved!!!
I will include an updated table here shortly which will reset some of our focii for the coming year.
See presentation below for a slide show of our Group’s aims and activities.
Thanks to the very many people who have assisted this long running campaign -you have kept us relevant in the long fight for protection of the Catchment’s natural values and open space for Palmerston people.
Our initial focus of developing a community environmental advocacy group has matured into an incorporated Landcare Group which engages community in on ground activities and advocates for the protection of the natural values of the Catchment. We engage with local individuals and families, schools, community sporting bodies, conservation and environmental groups, 2 levels of government, corporate businesses and educational institutions.
Our current aims are to increase community engagement through Landcare activities, educational programs, heritage and cultural activities; also to lobby stakeholders to form a joint working group of all Catchment stakeholders by 2016 to develop a Catchment MasterPlan up to 2030.
The absence of a Master plan for the Eastern suburbs of Palmerston, namely Farrar, Johnston, Zuccoli and Mitchell cancels informed debate by most stakeholders about future urban planning in the catchment. Natural environmental areas of the Catchment formerly Conservation areas are left unprotected and Open Space zoning is compromised. Thus we lack the knowledge to plan ahead despite our best efforts.
Nevertheless our Group is proactive and produced a Catchment Master Plan this year (see below) and were able to discuss this in depth with both the NT Department of, and current Minister for Lands, Planning and Environment. The Department was helpful in providing in kind support to our Plan in terms of their spatial data. Talks are ongoing with the Minister.
Last week, recognition of our Group’s achievement in highlighting the plight of Mitchell Creek and engaging the stakeholders (mentioned above) “to work cooperatively together in addressing local environmental issues” has led to our Chair, Sue McKinnon being nominated for and winning two major annual NT awards – the 2013 NT Landcare Individual Award and the 2013 NT NRM Champion Award “for developing an important model for environmental community groups faced with the challenges of new urban developments.” (from NT TNRM Award brochure)
These are important awards as they highlight the need in the NT for balance between the competing demands of increasing urban development in a sensitive natural environment.
We encourage the use of this community engagement model by individuals or groups of people concerned about their local environment and wanting to make a difference!! Please contact us with any ideas or questions (see above for contact details)
available- 1st edition – “Birds of Palmerston in Australia’s Top End”————-
Availability – Friends of Mitchell Creek Landcare Stall at Palmerston Markets, each Friday night from April to November or contact the author direct at firstname.lastname@example.org
$25.00 per copy
by Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow with Michael Stott. Pub.1st Edition, December 2012, Scrubfowl Press. ISBN 978-0-9578849-2-2
—Mitchell Creek Catchment – Amenable Conservation Corridors Master Plan Map (November 2012)———
Our Friends of Mitchell Creek Catchment Landcare Group have completed the Caring for Our Country (CFOC ) community action grant project to provide an updated Catchment NRM MasterPlan. The local EcOz Environmental Services company were engaged by ourselves to compile the Plan. Greening Australia NT were our sponsoring body in 2011. EcOz and ourselves provided an initial presentation to a NRM workshop on the 30/11/12 and will be holding a Public Forum in Palmerston to launch the Plan in early 2013. We will provide further details closer to the launch date (tbc) The funding covered 4 documents
All documents can be accessed via the above tab – “NRM Catchment Plan”.
A Public forum for the Palmerston community will take place early 2013.
Biodiversity Funding – ‘connecting corridors’ of green project
This funding will cease in July 2014, we do still have grant money available to continue our planned work on the two sites, 1 in Gunn Valley and 1 in Johnston. Activities still to be undertaken are continued weed management and shortly we will be planning re-vegetation activities. Volunteers are welcome at these activities. Contact Jo Martin at CVA (NT) on 89813206 if you would like to participate.
The next training offered to Friends Group members will be in Wildfire Emergency procedures, this is about keeping yourself safe if caught in a dangerous situation, it does not cover fighting fires!!.Again please contact Jo Martin as above.
The outcome of linked corridors in the NRM Plan ties in with recent Commonwealth Biodiversity Funding received by the our Friends Group as part of the Urban and peri-urban Darwin Landcare Network funding application in March 2012. This was compiled and submitted by Conservation Volunteers Australia. Our project is called ‘connecting corridors of green’ and 8 Landcare Groups are participating in this 3 year project to undertake weed management initially and to follow-up with planting “green corridors’. Our Friends Landcare Group, with the assistance of the project planner from Clouston Assoc have identified two sites for undertaking landcare work through community engagement in Mitchell Creek Catchment.
We have signed permissive occupancy leases over both sites following discussions with the Crown Land branch of the NT Government and have finalised our public liability and voluntary workers accident insurance.This allows us to have continued access to these two sites. More information will be provided as the activities increase on these sites.
Please refer the following 2 links for site maps: Sub-site8aMitchellCreek-Escarpment_sheet (2) which shows the Gunn Valley site near Maluka St,Palmerston CBD and Sub-site8bMitchellCreek (3) of Johnston Wetland off Brisbane Ave., (refer also our Information pamphlet attached at dropdown menu above)