Plenty of passion for Yanco Creek platypus


By Andrea Mitchell, YACTAC & Kathy Tenison, Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc

Platypus. Photo by Trevor McKinnon on Unsplash

Yanco Creek & Tributaries Advisory Council (YACTAC) and Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc recently held three community events to learn about the elusive platypus population in the Yanco Creek system.

Three events were held at the Palladium Theatre, ‘Tarrabah’ and ‘Yarrabee’ in Morundah on the 16th and 17th of June. Wet and stormy weather proved no deterrent for the forty-three attendees.

The evening began with Welcome to Country by Wiradjuri Elder Michael Lyons, who also played the didgeridoo to a Dreamtime story. Geoff Williams, Australian Platypus Conservancy, shared amazing facts about the platypus and provided insight on key findings from YACTAC’s platypus report. Dr Joanne Connolly, Charles Sturt University, spoke about the local platypus population and how to improve platypus habitat. From Kathie Le Busque, ANU Sustainable Farms, we learnt about enhancing farm dams for the best environmental and agricultural outcomes.

The following day, twenty-three participants had an early start searching for platypus on Michael and Anna Coughlan’s farm. No luck on the day, but ‘Tarrabah’ provided wonderful creek habitat suitable for these iconic species. The big and little kids loved searching for the macroinvertebrates with Kathie Le Busque at her paddock lab and back at the Morundah Pub. A cooked breakfast and cuppa at the pub warmed everyone while Michael and Anna Coughlan spoke about their holistic farming practices for a healthy creek system.

The last event involved planting 200 native grasses and understorey at ‘Yarrabee.’ A small band of volunteers, along with manager Andrew Ritchie and staff, helped make the job a quick one. It was also good to hear from the locals about their local platypus and fish knowledge. Di Kelly from Coleambally saltbush has also completed the last of the direct-seeding along the fenced riparian areas.

A big thank you to all the people and organisations who made the events possible, including co-organisers Kathy Tenison, Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc & Andrea Mitchell, YACTAC; grant funding - Riverina and Murray Local Land Services and Wettenhall Foundation; Anna and Michael Coughlan, ‘Tarrabah’; ‘Yarrabee’ manager Andrew Ritchie, staff and volunteers; guest speakers - Kathie Le Busque, Joanne Connolly, Geoff Williams; Michael Lyons; Dave Fahey, Morundah Pub for catering and tech support; and landholders who took part in the larger platypus monitoring project.

Geoff Williams, Kathy Tenison, Kathie Le Busque, Joanne Connolly, Andrea Mitchell, Michael LyonGeoff Williams & community

Geoff Williams, Australian Platypus Conservancy top tips for ensuring the future of local platypus:

  • Fence off riparian habitat and/or adopt grazing regimes that minimise damage to streambanks by stock
  • Avoid the use of pesticides close to rivers and streams
  • Protect all existing tree, shrub and native groundcover habitat in riparian areas

Some useful links from the events:

More information:

  • Andrea Mitchell (Project Officer – YACTAC)
  • Kathy Tenison (Local Landcare Coordinator – Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc)

Yanco Creek at Morundah

Top Photo: Platypus. Trevor McKinnon on Unsplash.

Middle left photos: Geoff Williams, Kathy Tenison, Kathie Le Busque, Joanne Connolly, Andrea Mitchel, Michael Lyons.

Middle right photo: Geoff Williams & the community at Yanco Creek, Morundah

Bottom photo: Yanco Creek at Morundah.

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