National NRM update for September 2021. 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.

In NSW, work on the Wild Dog Fence Extension project is underway. While COVID-19 and other issues are impacting the next phase of construction commencing, the NSW LLS project team is continuing to work through the assessments for biodiversity and Aboriginal cultural heritage as well as the approvals pathway.

The NSW Government has committed to extending the NSW Border Wild Dog Fence by 742 km which it will fund at an estimated cost of $37.5 million. The commitment comes following a feasibility study (first published January 2019) that was commissioned by the Border Fence Maintenance Board and funded by Local Land Services. For an update on the project visit https://www.lls.nsw.gov.au/what-we-do/our-major-projects/nsw-wild-dog-fence-extension-project

The Northern Territory’s Gamba Army is set to continue its strategic work to curb the spread of gamba grass after the NT Government recently announced a further $500,000 in funding. This weed management initiative is reducing the environmental and wildfire threat posed by gamba grass, an invasive weed of national significance. Territory NRM and the NT Weeds Management Branch will continue to work in partnership to deliver this project. Over the past year, the Gamba Army project has carried out weed control work at 30 sites, covering approximately 760 hectares. Read more about the project here.

In NSW, Central Tablelands Local Land Services have been working alongside Central West LLS to find and conserve previously unknown populations of the Small Purple-pea (Swainsona recta), one of 30 plants identified as a conservation priority under the Federal Government’s Threatened Species Strategy. Over the last three years, targeted surveys have identified an additional 19 populations in the Central Tablelands and Central West regions, and the search for new populations will continue this spring.

Working with the Australian National Botanic Gardens, seeds were collected after the flowering season last year for the National Seed Bank. Propagation is already underway to bolster wild populations and help conserve this species in our natural landscape. LLS teams will be collecting seeds again after flowering this year. https://www.lls.nsw.gov.au/regions/central-tablelands/key-projects/searching-for-swainsona

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation Fitzroy Water Quality Program aims to stop 50,000 tonnes of fine sediment from Queensland’s Fitzroy River basin entering the Reef’s waters every year. To do so, Fitzroy Basin Association, Catchment Solutions, Greening Australia and Verterra are conducting a series of projects that focus on improving degraded land through erosion control work and improving land management techniques.

Using the best available science, the program’s delivery partners are working on areas along the Fitzroy River that are contributing the largest loads of sediment to the Great Barrier Reef. Follow the link to hear about the experiences of one landholder who has been able to reclaim grazing land he once thought was lost and create a more productive enterprise as part of this project https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXuclglQBJk

Burnett Mary Regional Group’s new Bushfire Recovery Project at Bulburin National Park in Queensland is underway. Bulburin is an area of abundant and connected biodiversity, much of which is endangered and found in few places. Since the bushfires in 2019, this area is under threat and particularly vulnerable to incursions by invasive species.

This project will remove pests such as feral pigs and lantana. Baseline surveys in the area have been conducted, and the data is being collaborated across partners.The 2019 Bushfire Recovery Project is funded by the Australian Government and conducted in partnership with Gidarjil Development Corporation, University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland Parks And Wildlife Service and Gladstone Regional Council.

NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall at the Northern Tablelands Local Lands Services Bait Shed alongside LLS staff.

The latest tool in the Northern Tablelands Local Land Services’ arsenal against feral pigs, wild dogs, foxes and rabbits has officially opened at Inverell thanks to a $684,000 new baiting shed. The state-of-the-art facility at the Inverell Research Station in NSW includes a bait preparation area, cool room, veterinary lab, Travelling Stock Reserve chemical storage and workshop, and storage for pest control resources.

Research suggests that 70% of the wild dog and fox populations, 80% of the feral pig population and 90% of the rabbit population needs to be controlled annually to prevent an explosion in numbers and this new bait shed will play a key role in that. For more information, visit the Northern Tablelands LLS news page.

The Limestone Coast Landscape Board through the Our Coorong | Our Coast project are undertaking aerial boxthorn control targeting scattered individual plants in the Coorong area from Parnka Point to South of the Murray Mouth. African boxthorn poses a significant threat to the sensitive and internationally recognised environment throughout the Coorong area.

Compared to on ground treatment in an area such as the Coorong, aerial control is efficient, cost effective and opens up access to 7,000 hectares of difficult to access terrain that can’t otherwise be reached. Follow the link to find out more about this project.

Some of Australia’s most genetically diverse populations of the threatened daisy, the Button Wrinklewort, have been created by Victoria’s Glenelg Hopkins CMA this spring. A recovery project has seen DNA samples and seed collected from plants growing at 8 known sites in south-west Victoria over the last three years.

The work has allowed the team at the Glenelg Hopkins CMA, with support from Monash University, the Arthur Rylah Institute and the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, to propagate plants from diverse geographic origins. This spring, seedlings have been planted out to create four entirely new populations of Button Wrinklewort with diverse genetics backgrounds. To find out more about this project, visit https://www.ghcma.vic.gov.au/2021/10/new-populations-of-threatened-button-wrinklewort-created/

Over the past 18 months, SA’s Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board, together with Insight Extension for Agriculture and the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA have been investigating the rising issue of dry saline land throughout the Northern Mallee and Murray Plains regions locally and also areas on the Eyre Peninsula. Concerns over the growing impacts of dry saline land degradation across the Murray Mallee and the Eyre Peninsula have increased in recent years and this investigation showed that dry saline land affects a wide range of soil conditions and appears in vastly different landscape environments.

The next phase of this project will be looking into treatments and management methods to rejuvenate the dry saline patches in much more detail. https://www.landscape.sa.gov.au/mr/news/210824-investigations-helping-concerns-over-dry-saline-land-impacts-nws

Staff from WA’s Peel Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC) recently carried out monitoring of red-tailed phascogale nest boxes looking for evidence of this rare and threatened marsupial. PHCC monitor 8 nest boxes in total, located in Dryandra Woodland, East Yornaning Reserve and on private property, and while they didn’t see any red-tailed phascogales, this year, they did spot evidence of nesting material.

PHCC have also received several reports from landholders who have seen both red-tailed and brush-tailed phascogales on their properties. This project is supported by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Threatened species bake-off

September marked biodiversity month. To celebrate the occasion, the Threatened Species Commissioner invited everyone to submit pictures of their culinary creations showcasing our threatened species via the Threatened Species Bake-Off. Follow the link to view all the delicious submissions! https://www.facebook.com/media/set?vanity=TSCommissioner&set=a.196857409147067