National NRM update for May 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 and from respective State governments.
Territory Natural Resource Management (TNRM) has been awarded close to $1 million to assist pastoralists to become drought ready as part of the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund. The ‘Rain-ready Rangelands’ project will be coordinated by TNRM, and is a partnership between the NT Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Queensland's Department of Environment and Science, and The North Australia Climate Program. It will aim to facilitate the implementation of sustainable and productive land management practices for pastoralists to recover from past droughts and build resilience for future climate variability across the Northern Territory. More information is available at the link.
In partnership with Watershed Landcare and Mudgee Local Aboriginal Land Council, NSW's Central Tablelands LLS is undertaking a cultural burn at the Crudine Travelling Stock Reserve (TSR) with the intention of reducing biomass and competition from dense groundcover and thatch. Crudine TSR is known habitat for the threatened Small Purple-pea, and reducing competition may aid in the germination of additional Small Purple-pea plants. The burn will also assist in preparing the site for planting of the species. Central Tableland LLS has teamed up with the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG) in Canberra and collected seeds in the last two seasons from populations in the Central Tablelands region. Some of the seed has been stored in the National Seedbank, and some has been propagated. There are currently 200 Small Purple-pea plants at ANBG getting ready for planting events in spring and autumn.
Wheatbelt NRM's Noongar Boodja Rangers recently returned to Aldersyde, near Brookton, for the ‘Biodiverse Sandalwood Project’ in WA. Traditionally, sandalwood plantations consist of host trees and sandalwood only but this project is trialling a new method where a range of other native species are added to the mix to increase biodiversity and longevity of the restoration. To date, the Rangers have planted approximately 28,000 seedlings (12 different species) and 150kg of seed (including sandalwood). The property where the plantings have taken place is family owned and was previously used for livestock and cropping. https://carbonpositiveaustralia.org.au/our-work/brookton-sandalwood-wa-project-pages/
WA's Northern Agricultural Catchments Council NRM Coastcare Support Officer recently joined Halfmoon Bioscience and the Latitude Pearls Flotsam and Jetsam team on a trip out to the Houtman Abrolhos Islands. Marine debris at the Abrolhos Islands poses a threat of entanglement to the nesting shorebirds and well as hazards to other marine life. The annual Latitude Pearls Flotsam and Jetsam clean-up targets marine debris at the Abrolhos Islands to reduce these hazards and protect the area. The collected debris will be carefully sorted to categorise type and source of the materials. This process is important for identifying the root of the issue and will inform better processes to reduce the problem at its sources.
Three Victorian Government agencies are working together to rehabilitate Johnson’s Swamp, a Ramsar-listed wetland between Kerang and Cohuna. The devastating floods of 2010-11 introduced lignum and tall marshy reeds into the swamp which are now threatening to take over the wetland. The vegetation is limiting the amount of open water and out-competing other aquatic plants that contribute to overall biodiversity and wetland health. North Central CMA, Parks Victoria, and the Arthur Rylah Institute have been working on a plan to fix the problem, and ensure there is space and resources for waterbirds to feed and breed. The first step will be slashing and poisoning about 20 hectares of the lignum and reeds, followed by the delivery of around 1500 megalitres of water. The partial fill will drown the lignum and reeds and will prime the wetland for a full fill in spring. That will allow other types of aquatic vegetation such as eel grass and milfoil to grow, creating the right conditions for the waterbirds that are so important to this community.
The endangered northern quoll’s survival prospects have received a boost, with a new project in areas of Far North Queensland where they have survived the invasion of cane toads. Five organisations will work together on activities including artificial dens for quolls, genetic research and controlled burn programs. Terrain NRM has teamed up with Gulf Savannah NRM, Australian Wildlife Conservancy, James Cook University and Western Yalanji traditional owners to deliver the project at Brooklyn Station Nature Refuge north of the Atherton Tablelands. https://terrain.org.au/northern-quoll-recovery/
SA's Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board is leading a long-term program to reduce the impacts caused by feral goats and deer across the region. The Regional Grazing Pressure Management program is funded through the Landscape Levy and is being delivered in partnership with the Department for Environment and Water’s National Parks and Wildlife Service, Green Adelaide, ForestrySA, SA Water, and private landholders. The program uses a coordinated approach of staff-led operations, specialist contractors and volunteers. A recent two-day aerial goat control operation across 1400 ha in Montacute removed 323 feral goats and 6 deer. A further 110 goats were removed by trapping and ground shooting. In 2021, the aerial operation covering 800ha in Montacute removed 454 feral goats. This site has been a particularly important focus following the Cudlee Creek bushfire, due to the feral goat’s ability to impact regenerating native vegetation and erode fragile soils.
Tasmania's NRM North is working to protect the Ringarooma Ramsar wetland and have commenced weed control works at Mount Cameron Reserve to reduce threats to the floodplain site. The works follow a vegetation assessment carried out in March 2022. Gorse, blackberry, Spanish heath, and all other weed species will be sprayed while the weather is suitable. The project has experienced significant delays over the past 18 months due to persistent wet weather associated with La Niña conditions preventing access to the site for planned monitoring and weed control activities. The weed control works will continue with favourable weather conditions until June 2023. Find out more about NRM North's work with the Ringarooma Ramsar Project here.
SA's Northern and Yorke Landscape Board is collaborating with First Nations people, Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation and National Parks and Wildlife Service to undertake cultural burning on Country, with funding from WWF-Australia’s Regenerate Australia program. Also known as fire-stick farming, cultural burning is a complex practice based on low intensity, cool burns with low flame height, that destroy weeds and promote native vegetation regrowth - particularly grasses. It is a return to the traditional practices of Aboriginal communities that used fire as one of their tools to manage the land. These cultural burns are the result of several months of planning, and are part of Marna Banggara, an ambitious project to restore lost species to the landscape. Read more at the link.
Victoria's Corangamite Catchment Management Authority has begun installing logs and root balls into the Barwon River, with the support of OzFish Unlimited, to boost fish habitat in the area. As part of the Australian Governments’ Fisheries Habitat Restoration Program, the restoration work aims to reinstall vital habitats for native fish to help them thrive. Large woody structures such as snags and root balls recycled from bushfires and floods will form critical habitats for targeted recreational fishing species like the estuary perch. As the Barwon River currently lacks sufficient woody habitat, 700 tonnes of logs and snags will be placed along 4.5km to help get the Barwon River towards the state average. Click on the link for more information.
This year's Cape York NRM Grazing Forum in far north Queensland attracted almost 70 attendees to discuss the business of beef over two days with presentations on a wide variety of subjects including genomic sequencing of cattle, carbon credit schemes, soil sequestration, gully erosion remediation, financial support grants, fire management planning, how to use the NAFI alert system and the nuts and bolts behind better performing grazing businesses. Sharing knowledge and speaking up in Q&A sessions was also an important part of the Forum, and there were plenty of opportunities for attendees to compare notes with other graziers or speak with an expert. The 2022 Grazing Forum is funded by the Australian Government and supported by Meat and Livestock Australia and AgForce.