National NRM highlights for September 2019 – showcasing NRM highlights from around the nation, including innovative new projects and progress updates. 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.
September is biodiversity month, and this month’s summary focuses on some of the many projects going on around the country to protect our threatened flora, fauna and habitats.
Back to the wild.
Perth NRM was one of 70 participants in a fantastic project to bolster the number of critically endangered Western Swamp Tortoise (Pseudemydura umbrina) in WA’s Moore River Nature Reserve. In late August, 73 tortoises, bred at Perth Zoo, were released into the reserve – the largest wild release so far for this native reptile. To read more about this exciting initiative, click here.
On National Bilby Day (the second Sunday in September) the NT’s Territory NRM announced the launch of a collaborative project with Central Land Council to help protect bilby populations and habitat in central Australia. The greater bilby is listed as Vulnerable in the NT and is the only remaining member of its genus. Bilbies have disappeared from over 80% of their historic range due to predation, a changing fire regime and habitat loss. Over 70% of wild bilby populations are now only found on Aboriginal lands.
This project will support Indigenous Rangers and Traditional Owners working on country to monitor bilby populations, identify potential new bilby sites, develop and implement fire management to increase bilby food plants, maintain cover and help prevent extensive wildfires, and undertake predator control for foxes and cats. Territory NRM will also facilitate the development of a regional conservation action plan across the bilby’s range with ranger groups and Traditional Owners.
A project to protect several peatland sites from feral horse grazing is underway in the Upper Murray. The project is a collaboration with local landholders, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) and Murray Local Land Services. Montane peatlands and swamps are listed as an Endangered Ecological Community in NSW and the project sites on McPherson’s plains and Tomney’s plains contain the critically endangered Bago Leek Orchid and Kelton’s Leek Orchid.
This project aims to protect peatland sites by reducing the damage caused by feral horses through the installation of fences surrounding the sites that allow the passage of native animals but not horses. For more information, check out the latest newsletter from Murray LLS.
Queensland’s Terrain NRM is working with the Centre for Rainforest Studies and the Tree Kangaroo and Mammal Group on a new online mapping tool to help Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroos. This database of information has been built using verified sightings, public and private databases, studies and surveys from the last 40 years to identify where Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroos are, where they have been and what areas of the Far North are ideal for tree kangaroo populations.
Members of the public are encouraged to contribute to this database by reporting any sightings to an online facebook group. For more information, visit the Terrain NRM website.
Back to the wild Part II.
Throughout August, 37 Helmeted Honeyeaters were released into Victoria’s Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve. The Helmeted Honeyeater Recovery Team has been working together to save this precious native bird from extinction, concentrating much of its work on re-establishing the habitat at Yellingbo for the bird, to grow it in size and scale.
The Helmeted Honeyeater Recovery Team is a voluntary collaboration of conservation organisations including the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA (via the Yarra4Life program), Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Parks Victoria, La Trobe University, Monash University, Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater and Zoos Victoria. For more information, visit the Yarra4Life website.
In South Australia’s APY lands, staff from the Alinytjara Wilurara Natural Resources Management Board joined APY Land Management Warru Rangers for this year’s warru (Petrogale lateralis) survey. The survey found that the population inside the warru pintji (fenced enclosure) appears to be increasing with 55 individuals trapped, 19 more than the 2018 survey.
Sadly however the wild population translocated to a nearby location appears to be impacted by feral predation. Warru or black-footed rock-wallaby are considered to be one of South Australia’s most endangered mammal species and the incredible work done by the Rangers to care for this species is far from over. Read more about the survey here (p10).
Finally, to celebrate biodiversity month, the Threatened Species Bake Off one again invited competition entries for desserts in the shape of a threatened species. The Bake Off aims to build awareness in the community about Australia’s remarkable and unique threatened wildlife that call Australia home. Check out the amazing entries here.