National NRM update for December 2021-January 2022. 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 collaboration with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services, Central Tablelands LLS have completed an aerial control program in the Capertee Valley vicinity. The program aimed to reduce the impact of pest animals on the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, as well as agricultural enterprises - including pastures and livestock.

A one-day program covered over 10,000 ha and resulted in the destruction of 220 feral pigs and 3 foxes, while a seven-day program a few weeks later covering over 84,000 ha saw the removal of 916 feral pigs, 25 foxes, 23 feral goats, 2 wild dogs, 10 red deer and 5 feral cats. Qualitative reports received by participating landholders indicate a considerable reduction of feral pigs within the targeted areas as a result of integrated feral pig control techniques – including repeat aerial control programs, together with landholder-based trapping, shooting and baiting programs.

This program was funded through the Living on the Edge program, which brings together land managers in the Central Tablelands to control invasive species threatening the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

The work of Indigenous rangers on floodplains in NT's Kakadu National Park has helped identify an invasive plant previously unknown in Australia.

A species of water primrose, Ludwigia leptocarpa, was detected on the Magela Creek floodplain by Djurrubu Rangers while they were looking for habitat for the threatened Alligator Rivers Yellow Chat.

Following the initial find, a collaborative fieldtrip involving Parks Australia, the Weed Management Branch at the Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security, Djurrubu Rangers and Territory NRM was undertaken to assess the extent and behaviour of the plant. Substantial amounts of the plant were found in the initial detection area and Kakadu Rangers will be able to opportunistically search further afield for the plant this coming wet season. The information gained will inform a weed risk assessment and further management recommendations.

This collaborative effort is a great example of organisations working together for a common purpose and highlights the importance of the work of Indigenous rangers keeping a close eye on country.

A major revegetation project kicking off in January will improve the condition of sand dunes on the lower Burdekin’s most popular beach. The dune system at Queensland’s Alva Beach has been severely damaged in recent years, primarily by 4WD vehicles and quad bikes. Through a revegetation project being delivered through two NQ Dry Tropics projects, around 9000 plants will be established to stabilise the dunes, involving a number of local community groups.

As well as being popular with tourists, Alva beach is also a haven for green and loggerhead turtles, as well as a variety of birds and other wildlife. The project is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and Environment Restoration Fund.

A $75 million funding agreement to be delivered over seven years has been signed by the Torres Strait Regional Authority and the National Indigenous Australians Agency. This investment will support forwarding planning for jobs, infrastructure, equipment, training and capacity-building and will also support actions under the Land and Sea Management Strategy for Torres Strait (2016-2036) – a guiding framework for enabling Torres Strait communities to continue to sustainably manage and benefit from their land, sea and cultural resources into the future.$75-million-funding-boost-for-torres-strait-land-and-sea-rangers

In January 2020 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Hunter Local Land Services and MidCoast Council to formalise their joint commitment to improve the health of catchments within the MidCoast LGA.

The formalisation of long-standing partnerships has led to an increased alignment of programs, budgets and strategic direction across a broad range of issues, with projects including bushfire recovery assisting iconic species such as koalas and the Manning River turtle, research and monitoring to improve understanding of estuaries and assist oyster farmers, fishers and floodplain landholders adapt to changing catchments and climate, and collaboration with agricultural producers to improve production and environmental outcomes.

Watch this video to find out more

Over the past two years, WA's Wheatbelt NRM have been following the journey of two  different businesses who have formed a partnership to create a closed supply chain. An egg producer from Gingin who converts chicken manure, bird waste and cracked eggs into compost, has partnered with a grain farmer from Gabbin who converted to using composted chicken manure in place of synthetic fertiliser.

In order to overcome the costs associated with transporting large volumes of both compost for the grain farmer, and grain for the egg producer,  the egg producer buys grain from the farmer who trucks it to Gingin and backloads the composted chicken manure. The egg producer particularly likes the grain as it is produced in a low chemical system, resulting in a win-win situation. This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, check out these videos to find out more.

The Cradle Coast Authority is managing a project which engages agricultural landholders in actions that improve the river environment for the threatened and uniquely Tasmanian, Giant Freshwater Crayfish. Nineteen landholders have now entered into agreements which will improve their riverine environment.

Planned works include fencing along riverbanks to prevent stock access and in many cases prevent bank erosion, off-stream watering points and revegetation to introduce a variety of native plants, including deep-rooting species, on the tops of banks and as understorey layers. Four kilometres of riverbank has already been fenced, with more planned over the drier summer months.

Maintaining fallen timber and reintroducing vegetation is important for the survival of the Giant Freshwater Crayfish, as they rely on timber for food and the shading effect from streamside vegetation provides important habitat. This project is funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

More investment in aerial incendiary fire management, greater communication and collaboration between landholder groups and neighbours, and more information about opportunities in the carbon industry were among some of the key call-outs from the 2021 Fire Forum held in Cairns in December.

Organised by Cape York Natural Resource Management, the Forum brought more than 130 people together from Cape York, the Tablelands, Brisbane and Darwin. The two-day forum heard from Indigenous Ranger groups, Traditional Owners, fire practitioners, scientists, land holders, government departments, Queensland police, the SES, carbon farming experts and computer programmers.

Under the theme of “Tools for Fire Management” presentations ranged from techniques for managing fire; the use of technology and satellite imagery; and how sharing this information and being a united front will help mitigate the devastating cultural, environmental and economic threats posed by fire.
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In Victoria, Glenelg Hopkins CMA have undertaken vegetation monitoring at Kentbruck Heath and the Nangeela State Forest after recent burns by Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners, alongside DELWP and Parks Victoria staff. The intention is to introduce a cool burning regime in Southeastern Red-tail Black Cockatoo habitat to avoid stringybark canopy scorch, and impacts on their food resource.

Glenelg Hopkins CMA are working with Wimmera CMA and Limestone Coast NRM (SA), Traditional Owners, Birdlife Australia, Trust For Nature, Greening Australia, the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Forest Fire Management, and a significant number of volunteers from the community.

Together with partners the Living Landscapes Group, Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board are implementing practical activities to restore the unique and sensitive landscape of the vast Mallee woodlands north of the South Australian Riverland, which are some of the region’s largest protected natural areas. Take a look at their short video to view the vast Mallee woodlands north of the South Australian Riverland and some of its unique creatures.

A new reef water quality program has been announced to reduce the runoff of dissolved inorganic nitrogen from farms in Queensland’s Tully and Johnstone catchments. The $10.7 million program will deliver a range of projects – from helping farmers with nutrient management planning, installing constructed wetlands and expanding local scale water quality monitoring.

The program is being managed by Terrain NRM and funded by the partnership between the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and the Australian Government’s Reef Trust.

The "tunnels of love" - the tunnel constructed in 2018 to reconnect the Mt Little Higginbotham Mountain Pygmy-possum populations has successfully restored the possum gene flow which had been separated by the Great Alpine Road. Full details of the latest genomic study (commissioned by Victoria's North East Catchment Management Authority, and prepared by CESAR Australia) to determine the results of conservation and management practices for the possum are now available in this story.

The study was supported by the Australian Government's Bushfire Recovery for Wildlife and their Habitat program.

WA's State NRM Program has awarded a '2021 Community Stewardship - large grant' to Perth NRM, providing $353,510 over three years to support community-led stewardship in Perth's northern coastal corridor. This project will target six strategic coastal degradation hotspots along the north metropolitan coastal corridor to protect this significant and mostly intact landscape-scale ecological linkage, increasing its integrity, extent and connectivity. The project aims to engage over 3800 volunteer actions across 126 community events, supporting 10 community coastcare groups to to manage 8 hectares of our coast, targeting erosion management, priority environmental weeding, revegetation  and monitoring litter and microplastics. Follow the link for the full story.

SA's Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board has released a new guide for grape growers. Natural predators of vineyard insect pests - a guide to the natural enemies of grapevine pests in South Australia was written by Dr Mary Retallack with support from Wine Grape Council SA. Funding for the guide was provided by the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board through the landscape levy, with additional support from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. This guide has been developed to help vineyard managers identify and create strategies that encourage more natural insect predators to seek prey amongst the vines. Click here to take a look at the online version.

OceanWatch Australia has launched a world-first Fish Habitat Protection Protocol to safeguard the marine environment from future bushfire impacts. Impacts from the 2019-20 bushfires included the marine environment. However, the nature, scale and distribution of these marine impacts observed was unknown at the time.  Funded by the Australian Government’s investment in bushfire recovery for wildlife and their habitats, the OceanWatch team collected observations and data and the team built online mapping tools to aid discussions around recovery. The OceanWatch Protocol emerged, providing procedures around how Australians can prepare, fight and help vital aquatic environments recover.

Resources are now online to help readers think about how the processes, recommendations and mapping information could be used in future-proofing the health of our aquatic environments. Find out more at the link.