08 December, 2011

Doing the cycad stomp

On Monday I packed the kids off to school and headed for the hills - literally. I decided I needed a few extra photos for my annual Barwon calendar, but they just happened to be on parts of the river which were about as far away as I could get. Despite this, I decided I had time to make it there and back and get the shots I needed.
West Barwon Dam, confluence of the West Barwon River
and Munday Creek
I made good time and snapped snapped away at the West Barwon Dam which was looking suitably vast on this sunny morning then headed for the east branch of the Barwon. Here I made a quick circuit of the lake, took more shots - including the one I needed for the calendar - and stopped for a break.
As I was sitting at a high point overlooking the lake, I read the strategically placed, but rapidly fading, information board. It informed me - as I knew - that early in its existence, the level of the lake was lowered by several metres after the upper part of the landslide which had originally dammed the river, gave way.
What happened next is still visible today.
Not surprisingly, the trees and other vegetation which had been submerged by the initial inundation had died off. When the water level fell after the partial collapse of the initial landslip, several metres of deforested bank was revealed. This provided an opportunity.
North bank of Lake Elizabeth (left) showing regrowth of land originally
covered by higher water levels
On the cool, shady north bank of the lake, the cycads took hold - the green fronds of tree ferns which were ideally suited to this environment came to dominate the land immediately above the water level. The myrtle beech trees, so common in other parts of the temperate rainforest found in the Otways, also took their opportunity.  From where I was sitting, a quick glance showed this quite clearly to be the case.
Amongst the myrtle beech and tree ferns on the north bank of Lake Elizabeth
On the opposite, more exposed bank I was informed, tussock grass found a niche and established itself.
Lake Elizabeth Beach from the north bank
Tussock grasses on Lake Elizabeth Beach
Looking at this bank from the opposite side, the definition does not seem to be as clear as on the north bank, however it is certainly different, more open and with less of a rainforest feel to it.
So, armed with the necessary photos and some new information, I completed my circuit and headed once again for the lower reaches of the Barwon.

1 comment:

  1. hi jo i am going to make this short for now to see if you are moneriting your page my contact is kbamford50@yahoo.com.au love to ask you some things about lake elizabeth thank's kevin