Recapping last Sunday – a perfect day for celebrating our volunteers at Nobles Rocks

Recapping last Sunday – a perfect day for celebrating our volunteers at Nobles Rocks

For those that made the trip down to Nobles Rocks on Sunday, we were lucky! After about three weeks of wind, rain, or (almost) constant cloud cover, nature looked after us on Sunday with a cloudless, sunny sky and a brief return to mild autumn weather.

Once everyone had gathered together, we had a good look at the completed structure, and I gave a brief overview of the Long Swamp Restoration Trial, as well as highlighting a few interesting facts, like:

  • the structure required about 6,600 sandbags to complete.
  • including site preparation and pack-up, the job took 11 days to complete, with up to 18 people (maximum) helping on any given day.
  • when you add it all up, it took 122 days worth of ‘human effort’ to complete – much of this contributed by our wonderful volunteers.
  • it is exactly 100 years since the last major sandbagging operation supported by the Nelson community.
  • from an ecological perspective, the project is now only just beginning, with our ecologists ready to detect the changes that occur in Long Swamp’s fish, frog and bird populations, as well as shifts in vegetation communities in response to restored water levels.
  • water levels in the swamp had risen 21 cm (to 83.5 cm) in the past week (given more recent heavy rain), 32 cm since 2 weeks earlier, 40 cm since 3 weeks previous, and 49.5 cm from our starting point (34 cm deep) a month earlier, when the channel first started running after the heavy post-Easter rain.

Our volunteers and friends joined NGT staff at the BBQ to thank our volunteers at Nobles Rocks. Absent from image but present were Leila Huebner and Mark Bachmann.

Then after a beaut BBQ (thanks Jess for doing a fantastic job of catering!), Adam and Dale made good on their ‘pact’ – to go for a swim behind the new structure, much to the amusement of us onlookers!

Adam and Dale go for a brief, but very chilly dip…

Despite the freezing temperature and the distinctive, swampy odour of rotten egg gas (hydrogen sulfide) – the boys were all smiles afterwards. Just a quick dip in the (relatively speaking) ‘warm’ ocean was required to freshen up!

Without a shovel in sight, and with swamp levels still climbing, this was a hugely satisfying day for us all.

The project would never have happened were it not for the dedication of the Nelson Coastcare Group (well done Leila and Jim), the fantastic practical support of Parks Victoria (thanks Daniel and Steve), Mick and Pud for their technical advice, the DELWP for generously providing grant funding, the GHCMA who funded the initial NGT fish and frog study 3 years ago, NGT staff and last, but not least, our marvellous volunteers. As well as people chipping in from various local friends and landcare groups, special mention must go to our most regular volunteers during the project: Gordon Page and his crew from the Friends of the Great SW Walk, and Liam, Callum and the crew of volunteer students from Deakin University, Warrnambool.

On behalf of everyone at NGT, well done and thanks!

Thanks to our volunteers!

Mark Bachmann