The National Natural Resource Management (NRM) Regions’ Working Group congratulates Landcare on their 25th Anniversary and welcomes the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) call for a new decade of action to tackle the challenges confronting Australia’s land, water, wildlife and farmland.
The Chairs of Australia’s 56 regional NRM bodies met in Launceston on 21 March 2014 to review and reconfirm their commitment to the Landcare Statement of Common Purpose and to continuing to work closely with the National Landcare Network and Landcare Australia Limited to identify new opportunities to support Landcare.
Pamela Green, Chair of the National NRM Regions’ Working Group, said, “Regional NRM bodies have been proud to work with and support Landcare groups across the nation for more than 10 years. We look forward to continuing to build the partnership and to supporting the reinvigoration of Landcare networks. Working together helps produce the improvements in our natural resources needed to sustain our communities and our country into the future.”
Looking after our land, waters and living things is a large and long term task and needs all hands, heads and hearts working together to make a difference. Landcare and regional NRM bodies have complementary strengths where Landcare’s respected reputation helps to build local ownership and action. Their informal structure and networks provide a key to flexibility in adapting to change and their local knowledge supports innovation and sharing of new ideas. Landcare is a valued partner in delivery of priority activities to support profitable production of food and fibre and conservation of land, water and biodiversity.
Regional NRM bodies engage landowners, industry, all levels of government, non-government organisations, Aboriginal people, Landcare and other ‘care’ and volunteer groups in regional scale planning and prioritisation of action. They provide governance, accountability and technical underpinning of investment and deliver programs and projects under the regional plans. The regional NRM body network and regional plans encompass all of Australia and shares knowledge, examples and expertise.
“We are currently working with Landcare and others in contributing to the Australian Government’s design of the new National Landcare Program and look forward to supporting its implementation over the next decade,” Mrs Green said.
For further information contact:
Pamela Green, Chair, National NRM Regions’ Working Group 0438 608 790
Danny O’Neill, Executive Officer, National NRM Regions’ Working Group 0419 38 7 161
Corner Inlet Connections
The Corner Inlet Steering Committee (CISC) was established in 2007 to provide an integrated and collaborative approach to address issues impacting on the Corner Inlet Ramsar Site. The CISC includes representation from over 15 groups including community groups, landholders, government bodies and industry groups.
Since 2007, the CISC has been instrumental in coordinating a number of initiatives including:
- Corner Inlet Strategic Directions Statement (2008)
- Fostering Sustainable Behaviour in Corner Inlet: A Social Marketing Approach Study (2008)
- Development and delivery of the Corner Inlet Connections Project (2010 – 13)
- Corner Inlet Water Quality Improvement Plan (2013)
- Development the Corner Inlet Connections Project (2013 – 2018)
Corner Inlet Connections (2010 – 13)
Aim: to enhance the condition, connectivity and resilience of Corner Inlet habitats and landscapes.
Key Achievements (2010 – 2013):
- 282.52ha of riparian restoration and protection, erosion control and weed management in priority areas;
- 261ha of threatened coastal vegetation protected;
- 3500ha controlled for blackberry;
- 454.2ha of coastal saltmarsh protected;
- 80,000 ha of fox control and creation of buffers on islands at Corner Inlet;
- 30ha sprayed to contain extent of core infestations of Spartina;
- 59 effluent and nutrient management plans and 12 management agreements established for works on dairy properties;
- Over 20 community education events and field days;
- Over 60 media articles and more than 10 public education signs installed;
- Over 200 indigenous people engaged in the project.
Total Investment (Australian and State Government): $4.5 million over 4 years
Nationally Threatened Plant Project
Habitat loss, fragmentation and an absence of fire are leading to the decline of plant communities that support 25 regionally, nationally or state listed threatened plant species in eastern Kangaroo Island. Without active conservation efforts their decline and extinction will be inevitable.
By reinstating quality habitat through large scale plantings the survival of threatened plants becomes less reliant on small, unsustainable patches of remnant vegetation. During the 2013 Kangaroo Island Planting Festival, 319 volunteers planted 57,000 seedlings of 130 species, including three nationally threatened species, across 25 ha. Since 2008, 1,900 volunteers have planted 400,000 tubestock to re-establish 180 ha of diverse threatened plant habitat.
The role of fire in maintaining ecosystem diversity and health has also been investigated. Much of the landscape of eastern Kangaroo Island has not been burnt for at least 30 years.
Since 2008, more than 150 people have been involved in the completion of 42 prescribed burns to stimulate regeneration of senescent plant communities. Outcomes of this project to date include the regeneration of a diverse range of plants (including endemic and threatened species) and a substantial increase in knowledge of the effects of fire intensity and season on the regeneration response.
The prescribed burn program has been an excellent training opportunity, providing a large number of fire fighters with invaluable field based fire management knowledge and experience. It represents a unique example of what is possible when a large number of stakeholders work together to achieve a landscape scale conservation outcome.
- Plant communities supporting 25 threatened plant species are in decline.
- Since 2008, 1,900 volunteers have planted 400,000 tubestock to re-establish 180 ha of diverse threatened plant habitat.
- Since 2008, more than 150 people have completed 42 prescribed burns to stimulate regeneration of senescent plant communities
Australian Government $ 1,606,965
State Government $ 244,400
DEWNR $ 591,650
Community $ 89,376
Total $ 2,532,391
Pictured: Tamsin Groves and Anna Copley participating in the annual Kangaroo Island Planting Festival, restoring threatened plant habitat
Thriving Communities Start in Backyards
Living out of town means a place to escape the hustle and bustle for Kevin and Kay Barker of Black River. They knew that an infestation of weeds was taking over their 100 hectare lifestyle block, but controlling it was a different story.
“I was… just looking at it,” Kevin said. “I was scratching my head saying, ‘What am I going to do with this stuff?’”
The Barkers’ property was home to five of Queensland’s worst weeds. Situated within significant wildlife corridors with several threatened species, the weeds were taking over native plants, killing habitat for native animals and posing a poison risk for neighbours’ stock.
NQ Dry Tropics’ Healthy Habitat program helped hundreds of landholders just like Kevin and Kay. Thanks to funding from the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program, Healthy Habitat provided tools, knowledge, funding, support and channels of communication to encourage semi-rural landholders in the Burdekin Dry Tropics to manage their properties independently. The program has frequently saved landholders time, money and improved their property’s value.
With the help of an individualised property plan, a $2000 grant and almost triple that amount of their own contribution, the Barkers now have a long-term strategy and are managing their property for their children and the greater health of the region.
Following this success, NQ Dry Tropics released a series of self-help tools to assist more landholders to do the same. View the online information hub: Search Healthy Habitat at www.wiki.nqdrytropics.com.au
- More than 300 landholders engaged
- 24,000 hectares managed
- 160 weed species managed, including Weeds of National Significance
- More than $1.5 million invested by the Australian Government over five years
- Almost a quarter of a million dollars in grants awarded to semi rural landholders
- At least 50% of investment matched by landholders
Traditional Fire Management
Cape York NRM received $300 000 in 2012-2013 from Caring for our Country for a traditional fire management project (TFMP) which aimed to extend the coverage of traditional fire management practices and regimes across Cape York Peninsula.
The project has seen significant benefits to Cape York as a whole, by improving fire management skills and knowledge of Indigenous and non-Indigenous land managers, improving governance arrangements, raising awareness through improved communications and promotion materials, strengthening partnerships, and developing strategic fire plans.
In particular, burning and improved traditional fire management regimes were implemented on three areas of Cape York: Kings Plains station, Wunta traditional lands (Palinjii country) and Melsonby traditional lands – an area of over 120 000 ha.
The Kings Plains Fire Workshop (July 2012) was attended by 52 people from across Australia. Participants learnt and shared information on identification of ecosystems, burning strategies, cultural connections to country, placing ignition points, timing burns, regrowth, reading the health of the country, applying fire for different purposes and research of fire. A film from the workshop can be viewed at http://www.capeyorknrm.com.au/projects/fire/indigenous_fire_workshop.html
Other outcomes of TFMP included Cape York Traditional Owners invited to Victoria to exchange fire knowledge, and the production of a hard cover book “Fire and the story of burning Country”.
Cape York NRM also undertake extensive engagement with Wunta Aboriginal Corporation, including returning old people with younger family members to Nesbit Country to share and record traditional knowledge and develop a fire management plan. See more at: http://vimeo.com/58414991.
Grow West – 10 years of changing a challenging landscape
Grow West’s vision is to rejuvenate 10,000 hectares of the upper Werribee catchment, west of Melbourne by connecting large areas of public reserves; Brisbane Ranges National Park, Werribee Gorge State Park and up through to Lerderderg State Park, through a mosaic of restoration works on private property. Over the past 10 years, Grow West has revegetated and protected over 1,000 hectares of land, planted 1,000,000 seedlings, attracted over 1,600 volunteers and has invested over $4.5million into the environment.
Grow West is a collaborative project where local communities work together with all levels of government, businesses and organisations to achieve the best outcome for the region in the most effective and sustainable way. Project partners include Melbourne Water, Moorabool Shire Council, Southern Rural Water, Parks Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Victorian National Parks Association, Bacchus Marsh Lions Club, local landcare and friends groups, and individual landholders. Grow West is continually seeking new partners and investors to continue the momentum of this ambitious project that has made and continues to make a positive change to the landscape.
Planning for multiple use landscapes on farms
This project aimed to increase farmers’ capacity to recognise and plan for future opportunities in the context of climate change. It developed tools and processes to identify and plan multi use landscapes to deliver integrated climate change adaptation options.
The project worked with 10 farmers on Eyre Peninsula to develop practical plans to take advantage of opportunities and manage risks associated with initiatives around carbon products, biodiversity values and food production.
The project utilised the resources and expertise from a range of organisations to build the capacity of landholders to understand the opportunities that climate change may present, and to develop processes for identifying and planning for multi use landscapes at a property level. The project drew on the expertise of a scientific team from a range of agencies to work with skilled facilitators in farmer groups to develop practical plans to address opportunities and risks associated with carbon products, biodiversity values and food security.
The farmers developed integrated landscape plans for individual properties, including a process for aggregating carbon and biodiversity products and property case studies that can be utilised for informing others on approaches to integrated landscape planning in a changing climate.
10 farm businesses representing 21,800 hectares of land on Eyre Peninsula were engaged in this project and were brought together into a single group over four workshops during the two year period.
Next generation farm plans and property plans were developed by all farm businesses and were based on a risk analysis of these properties, where each farmer identified key areas for improved productivity and improvement in their native vegetation management.
A farm carbon story benchmark was completed with each of the farm business. The benchmarking highlighted the significant carbon stores that the farmers are custodians of with an average of nearly 190,000 t CO2 equiv. On average only 360 t CO2equiv are emitted annually. All but two properties come out on the positive side of tonnes per Co2e, sequestrating more than they omitted. This carbon story tool enabled the landholders to calculate and test future management scenarios.
To further add value to this next generation property planning process, five of the ten properties undertook a more in-depth assessment and analysis of their biodiversity areas and assessed the value of their native plant species, the condition of the native vegetation and biodiversity present, revegetation options within a working farm environment and opportunities for improving stock grazing management of remnant vegetation.
Farmer quotes “We knew some areas were a problem on our farm but we were not really sure what to do.” “We are now planning towards addressing these problem areas. We now have the momentum to move forward.”
This project was supported by Caring for Our Country, Australian Wool Innovation and the SA State Government’s Sustainable Dryland Agriculture Initiative Program. The project commenced July 2011 and is ongoing.
Carp Buster Fishing Series 2012-13
Wrapping up in Surat in May 2013, the 2012-13 Carp Buster Fishing Series ended with some impressive statistics:
• 1477 anglers removing
• 11,416 carp from the waterways of the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin
• weighing 9,000kg.
European Carp are a high profile pest fish, now believed to make up to 80% of the total fish biomass within the river and creek systems of the Basin. Taking a wider view, there are many factors that influence the health of our region’s water ways. The Carp Buster Fishing Series helps raise awareness about issues impacting on the region’s waterways—all while the participants are having fun with the family along some beautiful stretches of river. The Queensland Murray-Darling Committee (QMDC) ensures attendees at each Carp Buster event receive not only information about pest fish (including carp and tilapia) but also about weed threats and identification, and other natural resource management activities. Optional activities at Carp Buster events (dependent on staff availability and participant interest) have included water bug sampling where junior attendees (and the young at heart) have learned about the macro-invertebrates that exist within the river systems and how they can be used to determine the health of the waterways.
This fishing series is supported by the Queensland Murray-Darling Committee, including $6450 in advertising, promotion and project support, including funds from the then Queensland Government, as well as technical officer support to the value of $9200, and $3500 in prizemoney plus event organisation by the Thallon, Bollon, Goondiwindi, Mungindi, St George, Surat and Dirranbandi fishing clubs.