National NRM update for July 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.
The Australian Government’s Dept of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has opened a $13 million competitive grant round to support the delivery of breakthrough priority established pest animal and weed control tools. The grant will fund projects to better manage the impact of established pest animals and weeds. For more information visit: www.agriculture.gov.au/pests-diseases-weeds/pest-animals-and-weeds/grant-round
Cape York NRM has been selected to lead the Cape York Reef Community Action Plan. In partnership with South Cape York Catchments, Cape York NRM will host community consultations, inviting Traditional Owner groups, local government, and the science and wider community to participate in the strategic planning, implementation, monitoring and celebration of projects. Input from six Queensland regions will inform the shared goals for community in protecting the Reef. The Cape York Reef Action Plan is funded by a partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. Click here for more information.
Tasmania’s three NRM regions will be working collaboratively to deliver Stage 2 of the Tasmanian Government’s $5 million Weeds Action Fund (WAF). Initiated in 2018-19, this five-year $5 million state government initiative is providing a strategic and targeted approach to tackling high priority agricultural and environmental weeds. The aim of the program is to improve the productive value of agricultural land and protect Tasmania’s natural values; support land managers in tackling serious weeds; ensure coordinated public and private investments; encourage a “shared responsibility” for weed management; and encourage landowners to co-invest in removing the threat of serious weeds on their properties. NRM North will be leading the program, working with Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industry Parks, Water and Environment, alongside delivery partners NRM South and Cradle Coast Authority. The first round of applications will be opening in spring. For more information, visit the NRM North website.
Check out this great video showcasing activities to re-establish and reconnect habitat for endangered Malleefowl in the Berrook State Forest (near Murrayville in Victoria). The Malleefowl is a ground nesting bird that is under threat from predation by foxes, habitat loss and degradation as well as habitat fragmentation. In 2018, 15 hectares of rare vegetation was established, alongside an additional 42 ha of supplemental planting. More plantings were completed in 2019 and 2020 and by June of this year, an additional 33ha of plantings were completed. The site adjoins the Murray Sunset National Park, so will help to improve habitat connectivity for Malleefowl. These works were made possible through a partnership between Mallee CMA, Victoria’s Dept. of Environment, Water and Planning, Greening Australia and the Victorian Malleefowl Recovery Group.
SA’s McLaren Vale Biodiversity Project is clearing invasive woody weeds by turning them into biochar to improve soil health in vineyards and replanting with native species where they were removed. This work boosts biodiversity, benefitting vines by attracting good bugs and improving habitat for native animals, such as the endangered Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. This video is a great summary of the work being done, which is being supported by The Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board.
Landholders in Queensland’s wet tropics are signing up for nature refuges to expand a 100km rainforest corridor to help protect cassowaries. A partnership with Terrain NRM and Queensland Trust for Nature is streamlining the conservation agreement process. Kuranda Conservation received funding from Terrain NRM earlier this year to cover the cost of nature refuge assessments for landholders wanting to place greater protections over their land. The grant for Kuranda Conservation was part of larger ‘Rebuilding Rainforest Resilience’ project including revegetation work, a landholder incentives program, community grants and ways to reduce cassowary deaths and injuries on roads. This project is supported by Terrain NRM through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. Visit the Terrain NRM website for more information.
Despite only being announced a few months ago, restoration works and rural fencing repairs in the ACT’s Lower Cotter Catchment following the summer bushfires are now complete. The work will help restore the land and improve water quality in the Lower Cotter Catchment.
Workers helped to control invasive environmental weeds such as blackberry and pine that have been an ongoing issue in the reserve. These weeds displace native plants and provide shelter for rabbits and pigs, which are pests.
This work was part of the Government’s COVID-19 stimulus ‘fast track’ program that have been helping local construction businesses and keeping more Canberrans employed, while renewing local infrastructure across the city.
This year, as part of the larger Driving Corridor Connectivity project, NSW’s Central Tablelands Local Land Services is providing $10,000 to support Mid Lachlan Landcare’s collaboration with landholders to increase landscape connectivity. Remnant native vegetation is scarce across the Central Tablelands, and Mid Lachlan Landcare has been recruiting local landholders to get involved with the project.
Vegetation corridors and paddock trees across the landscape provide significant benefits for farmers as well as for conservation, creating shade from fierce summer heat for livestock and crops, and shelter from winter frosts and wind. Trees and native vegetation also improve soil structure and reduce salinity, while providing habitat for bird and pest predators that keep pest species in check.
The Driving Corridor Connectivity project is supported by Central Tablelands Local Land Services with funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. Visit Central Tablelands LLS website for more information.
Rangelands NRM in WA has received a NLP Smart Farms Small Grant for its ‘Fixing the Zippers’ program. This ‘biological rehydration’ approach will help pastoralists on eight stations across the Rangelands use hay and livestock as a low cost, sustainable remediation solution for eroded gullies. The feed will be used to attract stock to specific areas to help maintain the land and prevent further erosion. Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator Sarah Jeffery was recently interviewed by ABC Pilbara about the program – listen here (from 9m45).
If you’re interested in seeing just how fast gullies can erode, this video from Terrain NRM is a striking example
The endangered Stuart Mill Spider-orchid (Caladenia cretacea) is found in woodlands of central and western Victoria. In July, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria’s Orchid Conservation Team introduced a couple of hundred of these plants back into the wild, thanks to the efforts of volunteers from the Australasian Native Orchid Society – Victorian Group, and project partners Project Platypus Upper Wimmera Landcare, Parks Victoria, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Trust for Nature, Wimmera CMA and a wonderful local landowner. This project was funded by the Grampians Threatened Flora Regional Biodiversity Hub.
In Queensland’s northern gulf region, Tagalaka Rangers have commenced a new season of work. In early July, rangers spent time with some of the directors from the Tagalaka PBC reviewing the draft of the new on-country plan and travelled on-country for a inter-generational field trip. The rangers are hosted by Northern Gulf Resource Management Group and funded by a QLD Working on country grant.
A successful trial demonstrating that Felixer™ cat grooming traps are safe to deploy around numbats means that effective control of feral cats in WA’s South West is potentially a step closer. The South West Catchments Council, working with WA’s Dept. of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has completed trials of these traps with captive numbats at the Perth Zoo to ensure the traps identified the animals as non-targets. The project will now move on to testing the Felixer ™ traps in the southern jarrah forest to determine how they can be deployed and managed to control feral cats and protect native wildlife. For more information on the project, visit the SWCC website.
Athel pine is a serious problem in South Australia’s APY Lands but the APY Pastoral Management Team’s eradication program is having effective results. Supported by the Alinytjara Wilurara Landscape Board, with NLP funding, the work of APY’s Pastoral Management Team is vital given athel pine could potentially infest watercourses throughout most of inland South Australia if left unchecked. The athel pine removal program is an important part of the Pastoral Land Care strategy and an example of one of the many initiatives that enabled Anangu to engage with their community, and develop leadership skills. More information can be found in the winter edition of the Alinytjara Wilurara newsletter, available for download at the link.
Ernst and Young report:
A new report released by Ernst and Young suggests that a targeted government ‘green’ stimulus could generate billions of dollars for local economies.
The ‘Delivering economic stimulus through the conservation and land management sector’ report examines the economic impacts of an economic stimulus proposal developed by a coalition of more than 70 conservation, farming and land management groups. The report finds that a $4 billion national conservation and land management employment program would create 53,000 jobs, reduce welfare costs by $620 million and raise economic output by $5.7 billion over the next four years, with economic gains rising to $9.3 billion over the next 20 years. To read a copy of the report, click here.
In response to rapidly changing circumstances, NRM organisations, community groups and industry sectors around the country have risen to these new socially distanced challenges and embraced digital technology to help keep spreading the word. Here’s just a small selection of some of the great online resources available on a range of NRM topics.
Perth NRM Video resources (including a series of videos on regenerative agriculture)
Principles of regenerative agriculture; an 8-part series created by Bass Coast Landcare Network, Mornington Peninsula Shire, South Gippsland Landcare Network and Western Port Catchment Landcare Network
Remember The Wild vlogs (about nature connection and film making)
Protecting Ramsar wetlands YouTube playlist by Port Phillip and Westernpost CMA
The Regenerative Journey with Charlie Arnott: This podcast is a must for anyone who is curious about regenerative agriculture and the wide ranging and significant benefits of its adoption and practice, not just for farming communities but also for anyone who eats food and cares for the planet.
Queensland’s Northern Gulf NRM have a great video chat series ‘Croaker conversations’ with experts from a range of fields
NSW’s Northern Tablelands LLS have put together this ‘Productive Producer’ podcast series for local farmers
North Queensland Dry Tropics have released a series of YouTube videos on soil health, and how to assess it