|Slate Quarry Bridge, February, 2018|
|A small gravel island mid-stream|
The geology of the river through this section varies significantly. In some places, sections of the slate for which the nearby bridge and quarry were named can be seen whilst in others, aeons old granite is visible. The relatively newer basalt which flowed from nearby volcanoes active within the last few million years, now covers sections of the older landscape and in places, these relatively recent lava flows have even changed the course of the river, filling the original river valley and forcing the river to find a new course through the rocks.
|Somehow, the eucalypts manage to gain a toehold in the rocky soil|
|In a number of places, large rocky outcrops such as this dramatic example|
tower over the river below
In places along the length of the river, refuge pools - some of them measured at over 8m deep - provide protection for aquatic life during periods of low river flow and in drought conditions. At the time of our walk, water levels were falling after the release of an environmental flow or "summer fresh" designed to mimic the variable seasonal water flow of the river prior to European settlement.
|An elevated view of a natural "beach" formed along the riverbank|
With the combined knowledge of the group we were able to observe a variety of native plant species such as cherry ballart - a native species of sandalwood - banksia and of course a multitude of eucalypts. Unfortunately, in addition to the native species, we also observed a number of invasive weeds in the form of willows, thistles, gorse bushes and some sizeable stands of blackberry.
|A small stand of silver banksia finding purchase up the bank|
|River crossing at the end of our walk|
More details on the Moorabool, its flora and fauna, cultural significance, maintenance and recreational opportunities can be found on the CCMA's Living Moorabool Project pages.