Friends of Mound Springs Working Bee, June 2022

On the Arid Recovery viewing platform

The main Friends of Mound Springs field trip took place in the week 14th to 20th June 2022. FOMS participants were Rick Moore, Heatheranne & Pete Bullen, Bernice Cohen, Bruce & Sherrie Gotch, Bren Lay, Hadyn Hanna, John Tagell, John Brimacombe, Erik & Stefan Dahl, Garry & Michelle Trethewey, Craig and Helen Whisson and Simon Lewis. FOMS President Colin Harris was a late withdrawal due to a Covid close-contact situation. It was good to welcome Heatheranne and Pete Bullen, John Brimacombe, Erik and Stefan Dahl and Garry and Michelle Trethewey on their inaugural FOMS outings.

The FOMS contingent was accompanied on most of the trip by Sam Stuart and Keegan Solomon of the Arabana Ranger team.

Participants convened at Roxby Downs, then drove to Arid Recovery, the 123 square kilometre conservation reserve on the Borefield Road approximately 20km north of Olympic Dam. The Chief Executive of Arid Recovery, Katherine Tuft, welcomed the group and led a walk out to the viewing platform as sunset approached. This was followed by an evening meal provided by the Arid Recovery team and then a walk, with one of the two walk groups fortunate to spot some bilbies. The group camped overnight at Arid Recovery.

On the following day, the group headed up the Borefield Road and Oodnadatta Track to William Creek and then on to Levi Springs, where FOMS volunteers fenced 12 springs in 2019. Overnight camp was at Levi Creek, near the fenced springs. Some of the group spent the next morning at Levi Springs to check the fence and carry out any necessary repairs and repeat vegetation monitoring established at the time of the 2019 fencing.

The Fountain Spring, showing cattle pressure outside of the fenced area

A second group left Levi Springs to check springs on the Peake which were fenced by the State Environment agency in the 1980s (Outside, Twelve Mile and the Fountain). These springs were in good condition with Phragmites still the dominant vegetation in the spring vents and tails. The boundary fencing required some attention, as could be expected with fencing in these conditions after 35 years or so. This group also looked at the Vaughan Spring, an unfenced bulrush (Typha) spring showing significant cattle impacts.

Both groups then travelled to the Peake Overland Telegraph site / Freeling Springs. The whole group spent the next day at this site. Two bollards were installed at the carpark to complete the protective work here. New brochures were installed and vegetation trimming was undertaken around the carpark area. Two groups carried out maintenance work on the Mine Walk and the Creek Walk. The Mine Walk maintenance crew also did some additional work on the two mine shafts, where erosion has created hazardous gaps around the protective fencing. Those working on the Creek Walk established a short side-track through the creek-line vegetation to guide those walking out to the cemetery.

Saturday 18th saw the group heading south, journeying via William Creek to Strangways Springs. After setting up camp, most of the group carried out maintenance work on the two walking trails at Strangways while Bruce and Sherrie applied some linseed oil to the Bill Giles memorial seat at the Gibber View location. There was also some discussion at the Woolwash site about how to improve the visitor experience at this location. The group then spent the night at the usual camping spot in the Strangways dunes.

With work completed at Strangways, the group continued to Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park. There, Rick led most of the party in an inspection of Jersey and Elizabeth Springs. Bruce led a second group to Horse Springs and Buttercup Spring in the southern section of the Park to install two motion-activated cameras.

The work at Wabma Kadarbu completed the allocated tasks for the trip. On the homeward journey, the group stopped briefly at Herrgott Spring near Marree and Rick outlined some suggestions for improving the spring’s environs and using the site as part of a program to improve community awareness about mound springs.

A successful trip: many thanks to all involved!

Vaughan Spring showing severe cattle impacts. This is a Typha (bulrush) spring and it is suspected that Typha springs such as this one may have less saline water than some of the nearby Phragmites springs, therefore being more attractive for cattle.
Bren, Craig, Helen and Rick look on while Stefan works on the Creek Walk
Two additional bollards were installed to complete the works needed at the Peake OT carpark
Bruce and Sherrie oiling the Bill Giles memorial seat at the Gibber View site

Most of the group near North Freeling Spring