• Malcolm Fisher

Embrace Your Inner Nerd! And Help Save Manly Dam

Updated: Feb 13

If the idea of becoming a “Citizen Scientist” floats yer boat but you don’t know where to start, don’t worry. We have the technology! What’s more, you’ll soon be able to go for a bush walk and actually figure out exactly what you’re looking at! Plus, you can contribute research-quality data and help protect our beautiful environment at the same time. It’s all part of a project initiated by local environment group the “Save Manly Dam Catchment Committee” (SMDCC). And you too can get involved, just by taking photos!

First, download the iNaturalist Australia App and sign up at www.inaturalist.ala.org.au

Then, search for the Manly Dam Biodiversity Project where you’ll see all the amazing images of plants and animals that have already been registered. (The pics have to be taken within the Manly Warringah War Memorial Park or Mermaid Pool boundaries - and please keep to recognised paths!)

When you take photos within this area and upload them, you’ll receive help with identifying species, which is no easy task - In a recent report, the Australian Conservation Foundation revealed 25% of Australia’s nationally listed threatened plants and 46% of threatened animals can be found in our urban areas and for 39 threatened species these urban areas are the last remaining places in which they exist. That’s why protecting places, such as Manly Dam, is absolutely crucial! - Your great nature photos will then be automatically added to the project’s data and verified by experts.

All information gathered assists conservation, education and management and, naturally, if you find a rare species or one previously unrecorded, celebrity status, David Attenborough film roles and international public speaking engagements are assured.

That name again, the “Save Manly Dam Catchment Committee” (SMDCC, yeah you know me, Naughty by Nature O.P.P.) has additionally received a Federal Government grant, facilitated by Zali Steggall MP with Northern Beaches Council and ACF also contributing, THANK YOU!! This has allowed the SDMCC to commission the best flora and fauna experts in Australia to conduct professional surveys of the Manly Dam environs, something that has never been comprehensively done before.

And we have some truly awesome things living amongst us: The nation’s cutest animal, the Eastern Pygmy Possum, a fragile resident taking pride of place on the project logo - created by local artist Brentos @artofbrentos. There are also Fishing Bats, Climbing Fish and a plant that is found nowhere else on Earth - the Seaforth Mint Bush.

Know this 1: SMDCC has campaigned against many developments that have threatened the park’s environment over the years (winning some and losing some). If the Beaches Link tunnel is approved, in its current form, it means bulldozing over 10 hectares of bushland along Wakehurst Parkway for road widening and excavation. An Environmental Impact Statement has been released with all the gory details.

Know this 2: Manly Dam wall was built in 1892 to provide a water supply for the small settlement of Manly. To safeguard the newly created reservoir from pollution, its surrounding water catchment was consequently strictly protected. Our society inherited a pristine bushland sanctuary, rich in Aboriginal heritage and glorious enough to be declared a War Memorial Park to honour our veterans. Manly Dam Reservoir is the last body of unpolluted freshwater in Sydney where it is still safe to swim.

For every other bit of dam info, follow Save Manly Dam Bushland on Facebook and Instagram

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