Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get involved with volunteer work or planting events in my local area?

Planting events and other educational activities are usually held each winter around June and July.

They are promoted in a variety of ways including our website under ‘Sustainable Onkaparinga Events’, the National Tree Day website, letters to nearby residents or sometimes through an existing volunteer group. Some planting events are also organised directly with schools through our partnership with the NRM Education Team.

We try to change planting sites each year across the council region to make sure everyone has a chance to participate.

Another good way that you can help your local creek every day is by picking up rubbish. You could even organise a Clean up Australia Day event and invite other people to join in.


Why are there logs, sticks often left in the creekline after weedy trees have been cut down?

Scientists have proven that when you leave logs on the ground you will see 30% more species of birds that feed on the ground.

Logs can help stabilise the soil, particularly when you are removing weedy plants, and they can provide a safe, protected moist place for some of our more delicate native plant species to grow or animals such as yabbies to hide underneath.

Taller logs or dead trees, can provide a place for waterbirds to perch while they are searching for food or resting.


Why are trees like Olives, Ash and native looking Swamp Sheoaks being removed?

Plants that are considered ‘woody weeds’ often originate from countries with similar climates or they can even come from other states of Australia. These woody weeds often thrive in a creek environment due to the high nutrient and moisture levels where they will then aggressively outcompete with local native plants for space, water and sunlight.

Many species that we are removing are declared by law in this state or even throughout Australia because they threaten our native vegetation and our primary production industries. Declared plant species must be removed or controlled by landowners.

Some plants that originally come from interstate such as the Swamp Sheoak from the east coast of Australia, while closely related to our local native Sheoak, can rapidly grow and spread into our remnant native vegetation communities. Here they will displace native plants and quickly dominate the whole ecosystem.


Why are there dead trees in my creek?

The best method of eradicating certain woody weed species such as olives, ash trees, Swamp Sheoaks and willows is by injecting the trunks or stems with a herbicide while they are actively growing. This ensures the whole plant is killed right down to the roots before it is removed. If removed too soon, the woody weed will re-grow or send up many suckers or shoots by using the energy stored up in its root system. This can lead to an even worse weed problem in the long run.


The deciduous trees were providing me with shade and privacy and now they are gone. Will they be replaced?

Deciduous trees such as willows and ash trees are not native to Australia and there are many environmental reasons to remove them, particularly from our watercourses where they become weedy by spreading rapidly, creating blockages due to their invasive root systems and dropping a large amount of leaf matter into watercourses which degrades water quality and fauna habitat.

We will be planting local native plants to help manage erosion, create homes for wildlife and re-introduce some plants species that have disappeared If you would like to have planting done which also provides screening or privacy for your home, please contact the Nature Conservation Team to discuss this further. We will try to accommodate your needs where we can.


Can I plant my own plants in the reserve / creek line near my house and if so will they be protected?

Any planting in a council reserve or other public land requires permission from the land manager. All plantings that are undertaken by council are planned and need to take a number of factors into consideration including impact on native vegetation, safety of other reserve users and adjacent residents, access requirements, impacts on infrastructure and bushfire risk.

Selecting appropriate species is very important, particularly within reserves containing native vegetation. We will only plant species that have been grown from locally collected seed in order to achieve the best conservation outcomes.

Anything that is planted into a reserve or creek line without approval may be removed as part of our reserve maintenance or project works.

For more information on getting a permit to plant on a council reserve, please refer to the Permits and Licences section.


Can we pick the blackberries and olives?

When treating weedy plants with edible fruit, we try to minimise the potential health impacts on the community and any animals that may eat the fruit. We do this by applying herbicide mainly when the plants are not carrying fruit and placing temporary warning signs if edible fruiting plants have been treated in an area that is readily accessible to the community. 

However, the collection of any plant material, including olives and blackberries, requires a permit from the land manager. For more information please refer to the Permits and Licences section.


Is rubbish collection part of the Urban Creek Recovery Project?

While some rubbish is collected as part of our ongoing maintenance work within all reserves, it is not specifically a funded outcome of the Urban Creek Recovery project.

We recognise that litter and rubbish is a major issue in many of our creeks and we will continue to work with our communities and stakeholder groups to try to clean up litter and rubbish and find ways to prevent it from entering our waterways. We always welcome ideas and volunteer support to help us address this issue.


Why are some grasses being left long while other areas are getting cut?

During the spring and summer months the contractors and field staff often leave some clumps or areas of grass long while other sections are getting cut. This is usually done to protect stands of native grasses and give them a chance to set seed. Once they set seed, we can cut them or carefully brush cut around them to reduce bushfire fuel loads.

Native grasses are an important part of the ecosystem because they provide food for kangaroos, insects, birds and larval stages of many butterflies. They also stabilise the soil and are of a lower bushfire risk than introduced species because they usually stay green at their base over summer rather than drying out completely like the weedy grasses tend to do. 


Can someone come and do a presentation to my children’s school?

Facilitating environmental education within schools is supported by the NRM Education Team  who works directly with the schools in the Onkaparinga region and are hosted by the City of Onkaparinaga. While the Urban Creek Recovery project team may be able to do a presentation in your child’s school if time permits, we prefer that this is linked with other environmental and sustainable management outcomes that are part of the NRM Education program.