Protect The Gap Rainforest

In October 2023, SOWN announced that bushland along Enoggera Creek at The Gap had been shown to be rainforest of national significance.

A survey conducted in 2022-23 concluded that the area supports the nationally listed, critically endangered Lowland Rainforest of Subtropical Australia ecological community. Much of the vegetation has been mapped as an endangered rainforest regional ecosystem (RE 12.3.16) by the Queensland Herbarium.

See The Gap Rainforest Statement of Significance here.

In February 2024 a funding submission was lodged to revegetate land adjacent to Enoggera Creek in The Gap Rainforest area. This is in conjunction with the ongoing efforts to manage and enhance the six bushcare in The Gap Rainforest:

  • Yoorala Street
  • Watercress Farm
  • Bob Wilson, Raiweena Street
  • Nicholas Park
  • Walton Bridge Reserve
  • Glenella Street Park

History of project

Protect The Gap Rainforest is a SOWN project which began in 2022 aimed at identifying and implementing actions to protect and maintain endangered rainforest remnant areas along Enoggera Creek between Enoggera Reservoir and the entry of Fish Creek.

The first stage was a series of five botanical walks which identified and mapped remnant plant species (and other plants including weeds) using iNaturalist. Anyone can view the observations by logging onto the Protect The Gap Rainforest project map on the iNaturalist website. For a list of the plants recorded see The Gap Rainforest Statement of Significance.

Coordinator John Abbott said the project was initiated by the local catchment group, Save Our Waterways Now supported by Brisbane City Council’s Community Conservation Partnerships program.

“The survey focused on six rehabilitation sites on the banks of Enoggera Creek between Enoggera Reservoir and Walton Bridge Reserve at The Gap,” John said.

Botanist Rob Price assisted volunteers to confirm identification of plant species and then he compiled the Statement of Significance.

“We now know that numerous trees here are several hundreds of years old,” John said.

One Brush box Lophostemon confertus was estimated to be 370 years old. Numerous Weeping lilly pilly Waterhousea floribunda were mature trees prior to British colonisation.

Threatened species found included the vulnerable Macadamia nut Macadamia integrifolia as well as two rare and critically endangered species, Native guava Rhodomyrtus psidioides and Scrub turpentine Rhodamnia rubescens.

Several rainforest species found are from ancient plant lineages which evolved prior to the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Surveying the sites 2022-23

Fifth walk, February 2023

The fifth Walk The Creek was held at Walton Bridge Reserve and Glenella Street Park on 17 February 2023. Walton Bridge Group leader Anne Jones gave a history of the two adjoining sites. Both sites have significant remnant areas. The highlight of the day was recording specimens of the rare and critically endangered plant Native Guava Rhodomyrtus psidioides. See story here.

Fourth walk, November 2022

The fourth Walk The Creek was held at Nicholas Park The Gap on 11 November 2022. Group leader Janet Mangan gave a brief history of the site which sits on Enoggera Creek across from The Gap State High School sporting fields

Third walk, October 2022

The third Walk The Creek event was held at the Bob Wilson bushcare site at Riaweena Street The Gap on 14 October 2022. Group leader of the site Bob Whiteman welcomed project botanist Rob Price and the volunteer naturalists, and gave a brief history of the site. The lower bank features remnant vegetation particularly Waterhousea floribunda. The upper bank was extensively planted with native species in the 1990s but still includes several large Camphor Laurels planted in the 1940s.

Following the walk Rob Price reported that we now have 118 local native species cumulatively from all three sites. See Excel spreadsheet here. To navigate the spreadsheet you will see multiple tabs down the bottom, with the first one being the master list and following that each “walking the creek” site on separate sheets.

“Each site list is just the species I saw along the meander my group took, and the trees we all measured, allowing for distraction by other tasks and overlooking some species. So they are far from comprehensive as our meander was guided by following the significant trees,” Rob said.

Second walk, July 2022

The second Walk The Creek event was held at Watercress Farm on 14 July 2022. Project Botanist Rob Price told the group he had recently become aware of a scientific paper which provides information on how to deduce the age of mature Eucalyptus species. Download a PDF of the paper called Growth Rates Of Eucalyptus and other Australian native tree species derived from seven decades of growth monitoring. Guided by the paper Rob was able to make estimations of the age of some of the trees being recorded. At the end of the walk he was able to report trees estimated to be more than 300 years old.

First walk, June 2022

The first Walk The Creek event was held at Yoorala Street on 10 June 2022. Information on plant species was recorded using the app iNaturalist.

iNaturalist

The project is mapping the status of vegetation and plantings in The Gap on Enoggera and Fish Creeks. This information is being recorded using the app iNaturalist. Anyone can view the current observations by logging onto the Protect The Gap Rainforest project map on the iNaturalist website.

Background

The working group kicked off the project on 2 April 2022 by adopting the following terms of reference:

  1. Review the status of vegetation, plantings and access in this part of Enoggera and Fish Creeks following recent flooding.
  2. Identify ways in which the seven existing Habitat Brisbane groups can work together better.
  3. Identify and implement actions to progress Sown Enoggera Creek Plan Action 2.2 Protect The Gap Rainforest: Protect and maintain ‘endangered’ rainforest remnant areas (RE 12.3.16) along Enoggera Creek between Enoggera Reservoir and the entry of Fish Creek.
  4. Report to the SOWN Management Committee as required and review the operation of the working group at the end of 2022.

The working group agreed to Walk the Creek by visiting each of the seven sites involved – to review flooding damage, identify significant vegetation, and to discuss future actions and plantings. These visits would aim to involve group leaders, invited botanists, people with historical knowledge, and interested SOWN members. The first Walk the Creek was held on 10 June 2022.

Working group member John Abbott said residents of The Gap know we live in a special environment with lush, natural vegetation along our creeks.

“Few realise just how special or unique some of this vegetation is,” he said. The narrow corridor of trees along Enoggera Creek between Enoggera Dam and Walton Bridge Reserve contains many remnant rainforest plants and has been classified by the Queensland Herbarium as an ‘Endangered’ Regional Ecosystem (RE 12.3.16).

SOWN has seven bushcare groups working in this section of the creek. “We will be exploring how these groups can work together and better utilise their resources,” John said.

The signature tree species found in this section of Enoggera Creek is the Weeping Lilly Pilly Waterhousea floribunda. Other rainforest trees commonly found include Black Bean Castanospermun australe, Hoop Pines Araucaria cunninghamii, Kamalas Mallotus species and sandpaper and strangler figs Ficus species.

“Recent catchment planning by SOWN has highlighted the importance and threats to this remnant rainforest and the need to protect and maintain it,” John said.

Major threats to The Gap rainforest include clearing and encroachment of urban uses into the creek corridor, growth of weed trees such as Chinese Elm and Camphor Laurel, which are expensive to remove and proliferation of weed vines such as Cat’s Claw and Madeira Vine, which smother and kill mature trees.

Partnering with Brisbane City Council is also an important part of the plan. Council supports bushcare groups through its Habitat Brisbane program and undertakes activities such as removing large weed trees, as recently happened behind the high school.

References

Ngugi, M.R., Doley, D., Cant, M. et al. Growth Rates Of Eucalyptus and other Australian native tree species derived from seven decades of growth monitoring. J. For. Res. 26, 811–826 (2015).

Enoggera Creek bushcare sites species lists October 2022 XLSX

20220610 Yoorala Street West iNaturalist list PDF

20220714 Watercress Farm iNaturalist list PDF

20221014 Bob Wilson Bushcare site iNaturalist list.pdf

20221111_Nicholas_Park_iNaturalist _list

20230217_Walton_Bridge_&_Glenella_Park_iNaturalist_list

Rainforest at Enoggera Creek at Walton Bridge Reserve. PHOTO: Mark Crocker

Richmond birdwing butterfly vine Pararistolochia pravenosa at Riaweena Street. PHOTO: Mark Crocker

The fifth Walk the Creek event started at the Lions picnic shelter at Walton Bridge Reserve on 17 February 2023. Photo shows Walton Bridge group leader Anne Jones welcoming the participants.

The fourth Walk the Creek team at Nicholas Park on 11 November 2022. L-R Bob Whiteman, project botanist Rob Price, Anne Jones, John Abbott, Nomusa Nzama, Jodi Rees, Janet Mangan and Brendan McIntyre (in front).

​Third Walk The Creek event on 14 October 2022 at the Bob Wilson bushcare site, Riaweena Street The Gap. L-R, Bob Whiteman, Kerry Williamson, Brenda Keough, project botanist Rob Price, Brendan McIntyre, Nomusa Nzama, John Abbott, Janet Mangan, Ed Bennett. PHOTO: Anne Jones

Second Walk The Creek event on 14 July 2022 at the Watercress Farm bushcare site, Allamanda Street The Gap. The project botanist Rob Price is first on the left. PHOTO: Ed Bennett

L-R Jodi Rees, Anne Jones, Brendan McIntyre, Klaus Querengasser (obscured), Marina Novak and Janet Mangan recording plant species using iNaturalist at the first Walk The Creek event on 10 June 2022. PHOTO: Renée McGlashan

Botanist Rob Price looks up to the canopy at the third Walk the Creek event ion 14 October 2022.

Weeping Lilly Pilly in The Gap rainforest at Walton Bridge Reserve. PHOTO: Anne Jones