Latest Port Phillip and Western Port Landcare Report Card now available
The 2014-15 Port Phillip and Western Port Landcare Report Card is now available online. The Report Card provides a snapshot into Landcare groups within the region, as well as the work done by the PPWCMA to support these groups.
This report card reveals that there are 85 Landcare groups within the region, covering 731,366 hectares of land (76.8% of all privately-owned rural land in the region).
Volunteers contributed an estimated $1,546,830 value in reported volunteer time, delivering activities related to on-ground works, learning, communication and administration. In addition, Landcare groups rated the health of their groups above average at 3.6 out of 5.
Landcare in the Port Phillip and Western Port region is supported by the PPWCMA through funding from the Victorian Landcare Program and the National Landcare Programme.
Last chance to apply for Round 2 Dandenong Ranges Community Grants!
There isn’t much time left for local community groups, the Country Fire Authority and others in the Dandenong Ranges to apply for a share in over $1 million through Round Two of the Dandenong Ranges Environmental and Bushfire Fuel Reduction Community Grants. This work is supported by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme. Applications close on 11th April 2016.
The grants will enable local groups and partnerships in the Dandenong Ranges to reduce the impact of pest animals, improve habitat through revegetation and reduce the fuel load by removing woody weeds and other invasive plants.
There are three types of grants available:
Small Projects - under $10,000 for short-term, smaller projects
Medium Projects - up to $50,000 for longer-term projects delivering multiple activities across one year
Large Projects – greater than $50,000 for projects that plan to address multiple threats or issues in a staged process over one year at a landscape scale
Federal Member for La Trobe, Jason Wood MP, said, “This project is part of a 3-year, $3 million commitment to the Dandenong Ranges, funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme and coordinated locally by the Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority.
“The National Landcare Programme is helping communities across Australia to undertake important local projects. The Dandenongs are a vital part of Melbourne’s tourism industry with a thriving community. This program aims to address some of the fire risk issues that concern visitors and locals, while improving the biodiversity of the Dandenongs”, he said.
PPWCMA delivers shorebird and wetland conservation training
PPWCMA, West Gippsland CMA and BirdLife Australia recently teamed up with the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation Rangers to deliver shorebird and wetland conservation training.
Twelve participants learnt first-hand from industry experts about wetland ecosystems, shorebird identification and monitoring, beach-nesting bird conservation strategies and toured the beautiful beaches and wetlands within the internationally significant Corner Inlet Ramsar site.
This training showcased actions that protect wetlands and manage the threats to these sensitive ecosystems. Participants learnt how to identify a range of birds, giving them skills to monitor populations and provide recommendations to land managers.
A highlight of the training included a boat trip from Mcloughlin’s Beach to meet with and assist BirdLife Australia and the Victorian Wader Study Group to monitor birds. Gunaikurnai Rangers were shown how to set cannon-nets which were used to catch shorebirds, allowing the study group to record vital information.
A second training course will be run from 20th – 22nd April 2016 at the Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association in Hastings. Contact PPWCMA’s Andrew Morrison at email@example.com for further information.
This training program forms part of the PPWCMA-led Ramsar Protection Program, funded through the Australian Government's National Landcare Programme.
Workshops to help landholders prepare for dry conditions
In March, PPWCMA’s Regional Landcare Facilitator, Karen Thomas, and Sustainable Land Management Coordinator, Sarah Halligan, held two ‘Preparing for Dry Conditions’ Workshops within the region.
The first workshop, held in Tyabb on the Mornington Peninsula, was attended by approximately 30 local landholders keen to learn more about preparing for periods of low rainfall. A second workshop was held in the Yarra Valley and was attended by approximately 40 landholders.
Agriculture Victoria’s Animal Welfare Officer, Craig Swain, discussed the importance of caring for livestock during dry conditions and how to manage feed and disease. Agriculture Victoria’s John Bowman and Nick Dudley then discussed the importance of water budgeting, ideas for farm planning and establishing stock containment areas, as well as protecting pastures during dry conditions.
Following the workshop in Tyabb, the group visited the property of Maria Parnham which is being used as a demonstration property funded through the PPWCMA’s Sustainable Agriculture project. The project is focussing on shade and shelter for livestock, along with establishing stock containment areas to protect remnant bushland and to manage pasture.
Wurundjeri Elders meet on future of Leadbeater’s Possum
In February, Wurundjeri Elders, Aunty Alice Kolasa and Uncle Colin Hunter met with Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews, at Melbourne Zoo to discuss the drafting of a Threatened Species Recovery Plan for the Leadbeater's Possum. The plan will seek to outline ways to save the species from extinction.
Wurundjeri Elders have previously not been involved in this type of planning and were pleased to pass on their knowledge and experiences in managing the species. It is hoped that the Wurundjeri can have an active role in ensuring the survival and conservation of the Leadbeater’s Possum into the future.
Regional Catchment Strategy team undertake extensive consultations with partners
Over the past few weeks, our PPWCMA Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) Coordinators, Ian Morgans and Rebecca Koss, have been busy travelling around the region meeting with many of the RCS partner organisations.
Face-to-face consultations about the proposed changes to the Port Phillip & Western Port Regional Catchment Strategy have seen Ian and Rebecca talk with local councils including Moonee Valley, Whittlesea, Frankston, Bayside, Yarra Ranges, Maroondah, Knox, Macedon Ranges, Melton, Nillumbik and Baw Baw, as well as DELWP Port Phillip’s staff.
By the end of their consultations, Ian and Rebecca will have talked about climate change strategy, advocacy, and the forthcoming Knowledge Banquet with staff from 36 organisations across the region.
Grow West Implementation Committee looking to the future
The first meeting of the new Grow West Implementation Committee was recently held in Bacchus Marsh. The meeting was the first since some changes to the Committee, which included the appointment of a new Chairman, Justin Horne from the Moorabool Shire Council, and the addition of new community members.
The Committee also saw the retirement of two long-serving members, who both contributed over 12 years to guide and promote Grow West.
The committee was full of enthusiasm for Grow West taking on a significant delivery role of the Australian Government’s Greening the West 1 Million Trees programme, which will aim to plant at least 410,000 trees by 30th June 2017.
Positive early results in fruit tree compost trial
Recently, PPWCMA Regional Landcare Facilitator, Karen Thomas, inspected her compost trial sites under fruit trees. It’s been four months since the compost was spread and with the seasonal conditions being dry since then, Karen was keen to see what was happening at the trial sites.
On the control row, it was quickly evident that water was not infiltrating into the sub soil, but pooling and running off into the adjoining inter-rows, which were lush and green. The soil surface under these dry conditions and the current industry practice of herbicide use is resulting in crusting, cracking and lack of diverse soil biological activity.
In contrast, the fine compost mulch row and the coarse compost mulch row both had significantly more visible moisture, were cooler to touch and showed evidence of excellent biological activity. Water can be seen infiltrating the compost layer and there is no soil damage from the drip irrigation, as in the control row.
At the second trial site, the grower was particularly impressed by the ground cover protection the compost mulch provided which overcame the nuisance algal growth visible in the control row. Karen and the growers are pleased with the trial observations to date.
These observations, alongside the data collected through soil moisture and temperature probes in the soil will be presented at an event later in the year.
Community grant helps to provide data on native species
The Victorian National Parks Association recently completed their ‘Caught on Camera in Bunyip State Park – Small Mammals and Fire Project’ funded through the 2014/15 PPWCMA Community Grants.
Community volunteers carried out camera monitoring at 20 locations within the Bunyip State Park using motion sensing cameras left on-site for three weeks at a time. Results were then reported to the community and project partners at a workshop in August 2015. The results provided further insight into how the populations of small marsupials recovered after the 2009 bushfires and their current behaviours.
Details about pest species and locations were provided to Parks Victoria throughout the project to enable immediate pest management actions. The data collected by the project is now used to inform decisions on pest control activities for Parks Victoria. It is also vital in supporting native species in the Bunyip State Park, including the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot, as well as more common native animals like Swamp Wallabies, Echidnas and Antechinus.
This grant was funded as part of the Victorian Government's Victorian Landcare Grants.