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Bangalow Palm Creek, is a threatened catchment

Bangalow Palm Creek, is a threatened catchment in Warners Bay that contains a lone bush tucker Quandong tree.

An ecosystem includes all the living things (plants, animals and organisms) in a given area, interacting with each other, and with their non-living environments (weather, earth, sun, soil, climate, atmosphere). In an ecosystem, each organism has its own niche or role to play.
Sir Arthur George Tansley (1871 –1955) an English botanist introduced the concept of the ecosystem into biology. We now understand that ecosystems are the foundations of the Biosphere and they determine the health of the entire Earth system.
The term `eco’ refers to a part of the world and `system’ refers to the co-ordinating units. Both living organisms and non-living physical conditions comprise the whole. These two are inseparable but inter-related. The living and physical components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows.
Ecosystems can be of any size: as massive as the Great Barrier Reef; a whole forest area such as Munibung Hill; down to a small pond in one of the creeks. 
Ecosystem boundaries are not marked (separated) by rigid lines, but they are often separated by geographical barriers   Ecosystems tend to blend into each other. Therefore, a place like Munibung Hill can have many small ecosystems with their own unique characteristics. On a larger scale, the whole earth can be seen as a single ecosystem, or in the case of Munibung Hill can be divided into several ecosystems, depending on the used scale. Scientists call this blending “ecotone”
The whole of Munibung Hill is greater than the sum of each of the smaller ecosystems that make up her complete identity.  One of those smaller parts is the Bangalow Palm Creek ecosystem at the end of Daydawn Avenue, Warners Bay.  Home to a variety of plant and animal species, this ecosystem of ecosystems – for millennia an integral part of Munibung Hill – has been separated from the mother lode that is Munibung Hill proper.

Human development has seen the surrounding bushland cleared.  But a critical element that remains is the water trickling from the escarpment further upstream to the west. This feeds the creek and the variety of aquatic plants and animals that live there. While most of the creeks from Munibung Hill used to be like this, most are now described as ephemeral, meaning they run infrequently. This makes Bangalow Palm Creek unique and of particular significance – another important reason for protecting the site. One further point worth noting, says Wendy Patrick, curator of the MHCS Flora Gallery, is that : Elaeocarpus obovatus Hard Quandong is quite uncommon on the hill (“I only know of three mature trees – including the one in the creek – and a couple of smaller ones”). It is a bird and butterfly attracting tree when in flower and has edible fruits. Worth preserving!

While so many waterways around Munibung Hill have been classified as stormwater channels and reduced to drain status, this must not be the outcome for Bangalow Palm Creek – for ecological, cultural and heritage reasons. While a remnant today, there is no reason why Bangalow Palm Creek couldn’t be reunited with Munibung Hill and restored to her original healthy self.

The area has been the subject of a recent Vegetation Management Plan. Plants important to the overall make up of Munibung Hill have been identified. Local resident Shaun McLeod is a voice for the creek and is working to have the area protected from a planned rezoning application  It is important to maintain a riparian buffer zone along the banks of the creek and to ensure that no development is permitted closer than 20 metres .

More pictures with descriptive notes in the Magazine story.

MMM … Issue 23, October 2021