National NRM update for April 2020. This update represents just a handful among the hundreds of NRM projects going on across Australia, which are made possible through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and from respective State governments.

Farming and conservation groups call for $4b post-pandemic jobs boost.

A coalition of more than 80 landcare, environmental, farming and conservation groups has written to state and federal governments proposing the creation of 24,000 jobs in land rehabilitation as part of a post-pandemic stimulus package.

Under the proposal, landscapes and infrastructure damaged by the recent drought and bushfires would be rehabilitated in part by people who had lost jobs as a result of the coronavirus.

Read more at the following links in the Age, or last week’s excellent NSW Country Hour segment featuring Rich Gilmore from the Nature Conservancy and Chris Norman from NRM Regions Queensland.

Territory NRM have just released a new report that highlights the benefits that conservation practices on pastoral land can bring. The ‘Good Pastoral Business: A case for protecting native vegetation and biodiversity within the Territory Beef Industry’ report highlights how conserved native vegetation and ecosystems can drive increased productive performance and sustainability, with this potentially translating to monetary revenues and helping to buffer against climatic variation or market disruptions. It also notes the opportunity for the industry to respond to evolving consumer preferences and better engage with markets by demonstrating sustainability along value chains. Download a copy of the report at the link.

In late March, Oak Valley Rangers in SA’s Maralinga Tjarutja Lands undertook a three-day survey of quandong trees to assess damage caused by camels as part of a long-term monitoring program. Supported by the Alinytjara Wilurara Natural Resources Management Board with funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, the rangers’ survey focused on a species of quandong known as ‘ice cream’, which, unfortunately is highly palatable for camels.
The rangers assessed 84 trees and recorded damage, camel tracks, camel scat, whether the plant was flowering/fruiting and the amount of seed on the ground. The high vitamin C quandong fruit forms an important part of the local Traditional Owners’ diet and traditional bush tucker gathering practices.

As part of the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council NRM’s ‘Gnow or Never’ project, landholders in the Northern Agricultural Region of WA are planting 167.3 hectares of seedlings from Binnu in the North to Gutha in the east, to restore important Malleefowl habitat. Careful selection of flora for habitat restoration is vital to cater to these needs and ensure that any revegetated areas mimic the Malleefowl natural habitat while also preserving the genetic diversity of the revegetated area. For more information, visit the NACC website.

NQ Dry Tropics works closely with landholders on strategies that promote better pasture cover, and help hydrate landscapes by retaining rain on property, slowing it down and spreading it out across paddocks. They have put together a video showcasing five different techniques that have been used to remediate eroded gullies, and all of them consider the bigger picture by incorporating improvements in land management. You can view the video here.

These projects were funded through Australian Department of the Environment and Energy Reef Trust.

A survey of canola growers in WA’s South West Region found that about two-thirds of respondents encourage pollinators such as insects and birds onto their property through trees, shelterbelts and biodiversity corridors. The same percentage also practice Integrated Pest Management, particularly visual assessment of the number of pest insects prior to spraying and using more targeted insecticides.

The survey is part of a 5-year project being undertaken by the South West Catchments Council which works with farmers to improve the pollination services provided by beneficial insects and other pollinators through revegetation programs that enhance food availability for pollinators. For more information, visit their website.

Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges is working with ABC’s Gardening Australia on a YouTube series about how to rebuild your garden after fire. There are now six episodes online, covering topics including why gardening is an important part of the recovery process, the effect of fire on ash and soil, and what to consider when rebuilding your garden. You can access the playlist here.

Timber from bushfire-affected trees along Upper Murray roadsides has been used to control erosion and improve the habitat of the endangered trout cod near Towong.

Agencies from both sides of the border have collaborated on the project, which has resulted in dozens of large logs converted into river ‘snags’ at the Lighthouse Crossing Reserve. The logs provide shelter, food and breeding locations for fish and other aquatic animals.

The habitat restoration project was initiated by Murray Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government’s bushfire recovery package for wildlife and their habitat. Read the full story here.

In Tasmania’s far south, the new three-year ‘Pasture Information Network’ program has begun. Led by the Derwent Catchment Project (DCP) in partnership with NRM South, and funded by through the Australian Government’s Regional Land Partnerships program, this initiative will support farmers to manage dryland pastures in the Derwent region. The program will establish a farmer-to-farmer mentoring program, discussion groups, a pasture program and demonstration sites. For more information, visit the NRM South website.

In the south east of SA, the ‘Our Coorong | Our Coast’ project is tackling African Boxthorn and treating infestations via helicopter. Using this method allows workers to access 26,000 hectares of terrain that would otherwise be difficult to reach. This area is home to internationally significant migratory birds and endangered resident beach nesting birds, so controlling pests like Boxthorn is key to protecting their fragile habitats. Visit the Natural Resources South East website for more information.

Farmers from across the central Gippsland region are showing their commitment to a better environment by signing up to a new round of funding of the Fert$mart program.

The program delivered by local agronomists and funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program is supported by the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Gippsland Water and GippsDairy. The program assists farmers to better manage their use of fertilisers and effluent to produce more on-farm profit and reduce nutrient run off into local waterways. Read the full story here.