Adam contacted our Landcare group, looking for help in tackling some rill erosion on a steep bank that adjoined his property. The council owned the land that ended at the edge of the lake, and the grevillea trees that used to provide breakfast for the army of lorikeets had died. He approached the council to ask them to revegetate the site. The council said the cost to repair the neglected site would be approximately $50 000, which included 600 plants, mulch and the cost sending a water truck to ensure the plants survived. So sadly, Regatta Lake revegetation would have to wait as it was not a priority area. Instead the council cut down the offending dead trees and the only thing that grew on the steep slope was cobbler’s pegs. After a year the rill erosion had become worse and was forming a small gully. Being a soil scientist, I knew that a few leafy plants would lessen the impact from heavy rain but if we didn’t act soon, more top soil would be lost. The erosion would become a big scar on the landscape, not to mention a big problem for Adam as it was creeping up-slope, underneath his fence and toward his pool.
A few weeks later, the Springfield Lakes Nature Care received a welcome email, stating that 500 tube stock needed urgent planting. I was pretty excited – it was just the right amount and the right kind of plants. The Woogaroo cordylines, a local leafy native and Dianella brevi, a thick grass with loads of roots would help stabilise the soil and provide ground cover. They would grow nicely in this low nutrient sandy soil – possibly the reason why the grevileas died. So we approached the council to ask permission to plant and after a quick call to Adam and his neighbours, a plan was hatched to revegetate the site and realign the armament wall. Adam and his neighbours would water the plants and our group would supply the mulch.
So an Earth day SOS went out. To my amazement the local Girl Guides and 30 people showed up bright and early to weed and plant. Within 2 hours, the armament wall was repaired, 450 holes were dug and pot bound plants were freed and were cooling their cramped roots in the sandy soil. The sweat and digging seemed to have had a positive effect as we sat back on some rocks and had our morning tea of freshly made muffins and fruit donated by a local real estate agent. The saying many hands made light work was true in this case.
Doing some planting and getting my hands into the soil again was an uplifting Earth Day experience, as it bought a community together to rescue a small section of slope. Adam and I still chat when we meet along the path. He’s pleased his erosion problem is fixed and it all came about with a determined “We Can Do it together approach”.

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