Spring Creek Community Forest is the name we give to an informal project by local residents managing a section of public land (part of the Hepburn Regional Park) along Spring Creek between the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve and Breakneck Gorge. For over 25 years we have been active in initiating working bees constructing walking paths, managing naturalised vegetation (so called ‘weeds’), planting trees and building gabions and leaky weirs to slow and manage flood waters along tributary gullies and the main creek. Observation, scientific research and documenting ecological changes over the last 25 years, particularly in relation to willow ecology makes Spring Creek an important reference site in the debate over management of willows along streams in southern Australia.
We have been using the area to teach reading landscapes on Permaculture Design Courses and tours, and have also been active in defending the area from threats of willow removal programmes funded by Landcare and fuel reduction burning programs around town areas.
In the long process of rebuilding the HD website, we have just got the substantial archive of stories, pictures, presentations, articles and maps about willows and Spring Creek, back on line as a reference. We have included Spring Creek in the pages about Melliodora because it represents the permaculture zone 4 (the managed wild) and zone 5 (ecological reference area) for Melliodora (see eBook) Spring Creek Community Forest is also a demonstration of permaculture in action in the local community that has inspired other public land permaculture projects in our area such as Daylesford Community Food Gardens.
In the future we hope to be running more tours of this interesting and picturesque public park to raise awareness of the amenity and conservation value of this community asset as well as the wider issues of applying permaculture principles and strategies to public land management.