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North Dandalup Primary School takes action on bushland

Staff from North Dandalup Primary School checking on the health of their local bushland area

In a first for the Peel-Harvey Catchment, the North Dandalup Primary School launched their Action Plan on 14 June to protect and manage a 1.7 hectare bushland area on the school grounds.  Although small in size, the bushland is big on value, and includes a rare example of native vegetation that has been largely cleared from elsewhere in the Perth and Peel Regions.

School principal, Marie Auvache, was pleased to see the Action Plan launched with most of the school’s 134 students and teachers enjoying a walk through the bushland, affectionately named the ‘Pathway to Nature’.

The launch included Local Noongar Community Representative, George Walley, sharing his knowledge and cultural stories with students and teachers as they walked through the bushland.

‘The bushland gives us an open air, living classroom to teach the students so many things in the curriculum, from maths and ecology and to problem-solving and teamwork’, said Ms Auvache, ‘And children love to be in the outdoors.  It balances the time that we are spending indoors or on devices.’

The School, renowned for its environmental programme over the past two decades, has planted over 35,000 trees in surrounding districts since 2000 and has cared for the Bushland for many years. Preparing an Action Plan for the Pathway to Nature Bushland was the logical next step.

The Plan and related projects were managed by Landcare SJ, a community-based Landcare hub operating out of Mundijong, that has helped the School manage the Bushland over the past 17 years.

‘Both the School and the Landcare SJ team wanted the Plan to be simple and spell out the most important actions required to protect and manage the Bushland over the next 10 years’, said Landcare SJ Chairperson David Lindsay.

Maintaining fencing around the bush, controlling weeds and feral animals, and adopting a strategic approach to controlled burns are among the actions set out in the Plan. Landcare SJ will help the School implement the Plan.

The Action Plan project, along with on-ground weed control, flora surveys and feral animal control in the Bushland, was funded by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council through its Community Environmental Grants with the support of the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

The Action Plan is the first management plan based on a new model designed by the PHCC for community groups, schools and local governments. The new model is designed to prepare simple management plans for bushland or wetland reserves where a more complex management plan may not be required or possible given time and resourcing constraints.

PHCC Acting Chairperson, Ms Marilyn Gray hopes that other schools, local governments and community groups will consider using the Action Plan model before they prepare their next bushland management plan.

‘We are really pleased to have been able to fund Landcare SJ to prepare the Action Plan for the North Dandalup Primary School.  The school has long been recognised for their great work in caring for the environment.  They do such a great job of caring for their patch of bush and using it as a living classroom. Full marks to everyone involved in this project’ said Ms Gray

For further information on the Action Planning approach please contact Andrew DelMarco at the PHCC. www.peel-harvey.org.au

 

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800

 

We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present

Working together to protect native animals in Western Australia through Feral Cat control

Sponsors and presenters from the 2018 WA Feral Cat Symposium

Rock stars of the environment and conservation sectors recently came together from across Australia to present at the inaugural WA Feral Cat Symposium held in Mandurah on 31 May.  The Symposium was a huge success with nearly 200 people coming together to tackle the complex issue of protecting WA’s native animals, through effective, humane feral cat control.

Land clearing and feral cats remain the highest threats to our biodiversity and, while there are some fabulous success stories of isolated feral cat control, a landscape scale solution is yet to be realised. It is estimated there are between 1.4 to 5.6 million feral cats across Australia, killing more than 1 million birds, 1 million reptiles and 1 million mammals every single day.

Representatives of government, NGOs, research, industry and the RSPCA presented across 3 themes, being WA governance frameworks to support feral cat control, future techniques being explored, and a range of successful management actions.  Importantly, the humane side of biodiversity loss, the need to humanely control feral cats, was also discussed.  Panel sessions provided Symposium delegates the opportunity question the presenters and further elaborate on important issues.

The Symposium was focussed solely on the impacts on biodiversity from feral cats, and while the impacts of domestic and stray cats was not dismissed, it was made clear throughout the day that the topic was centred on the impacts and control mechanisms for feral cats only.

National Threatened Species Commissioner Sally Box, who travelled from Canberra for the Symposium, highlighted the scale of the problem from a national perspective.

Feral cats are a massive threat to Australia’s amazing mammals and birds.  This WA Feral Cat Symposium has been such a great opportunity to share success stories, contemplate the challenges we face, and put our heads together to find enduring solutions.

Bringing people together from across Australia to inform how WA can better protect its native animals is a great initiative and a concept we hope to keep going”, said PHCC A/Chairman Marilyn Gray.

John Woinarski, of Charles Darwin University and the Threatened Species Recovery Hub of the National Environmental Science Program, reinforced the alarming impacts of feral cats on our native animals.

Feral cats subvert Australian ecology, as they are a primary cause of the loss of much of our precious biodiversity. For our country, and for the natural heritage we want to pass on to our descendants, we need more effective policy, law, management and community involvement in the control of this threat,” he said.

Other speakers included Scott Thompson who talked about the success of using conservation detection dogs to help control feral cats.  Owain Edwards of CSIRO spoke on research for genetic biocontrol, a complex and emotive subject.  The science is advancing and there are some exciting developments that will continue to require a lot more research and robust dialogue as it progresses.

Rachel Paltridge and Christine Ellis travelled from Alice Springs to talk about the benefits the Nyirripi Indigenous Ranger Program is having in restoring biodiversity by integrating traditional knowledge and tracking skills with scientific research and new technologies for wildlife management – “two-way science.”

Dave Algar, Principal Research Scientist with DBCA presented the fascinating success story of eradicating feral cats from Dirk Hartog Island, off the coast of WA.

Australian Wildlife Conservancy CEO Atticus Fleming, who is adamant about the importance of controlling feral cats for the protection of native animals, said “This has to be the highest priority for conservation, as nothing causes more damage to native fauna than feral cats”.

PHCC Chairman Marilyn Gray said “We are so pleased to have been able to put together this Symposium. Bringing people together for a healthy environment is what we do.  It was a huge success and there was definitely an air of optimism in the audience. This is a complex issue, but we have to stop the extinction of our native animals. By coming together to tackle this, with support from government, sound science, exciting new technologies, and a collaboration across industry, I think for the first time in quite a while, we feel hopeful about the future for our native animals.”

“We are grateful for the generous efforts of everyone who gave their time to share their knowledge and information. This is such a complex issue and there are such a diverse range of management options. We need to share information, so that with good information, we can inform good decision-making, and take robust actions.”

On the day after the Symposium a smaller group of key stakeholders gathered to discuss the way forward.  It was unanimously agreed that the establishment of a WA Feral Cat Taskforce be explored so that representatives of all relevant sectors can continue to support each other by sharing information, resources, and actions to remove the barriers to effective coordinated landscape-scale control of feral cats across WA. At this stage a small number of nominated representatives will take-up the lead to work through identified priority actions and to ensure that the momentum from the Symposium continues into practical solutions to conserve our biodiversity, and protect our native fauna from feral cats.

Ms Gray expressed thanks to the Symposium supporters and sponsors including the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, City of Mandurah, Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute, NRM WA, Wheatbelt NRM, South West Catchments Council, Northern Agricultural Catchments Council, Bush Heritage Australia and the RSPCA.

 

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800

 

We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present

Waterways to benefit from greater cooperation on drainage

Attendees at the Peel-Harvey Drainage Symposium represented 23 organisations directly working on the region’s drains and waterways

Despite the lack of rain over past months, there was plenty of talk about flowing water at the Peel-Harvey Drainage Mini-Symposium held on the 9th May in Mandurah.

The Symposium, organised by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC), was convened to encourage greater collaboration between government, industry, researchers and community groups who are working on a range of projects to restore and transform the Peel Region’s rural drainage system.

The system, which includes many drains dug during the Great Depression, was established to reduce the risk of flooding and excessive waterlogging to settlement and farming.  The drains mean that rain falling in Byford, Pinjarra and Harvey quickly ends up in the Serpentine, Murray and Harvey Rivers and ultimately our waterways at Mandurah. Drains are like the veins that connect our catchment to the waterways and Estuary at Mandurah.

‘Rural drainage is something that we don’t often think about, but it is very important to our Region’, said Marilyn Gray, Acting Chairperson of PHCC. ‘Drainage has enabled our region to be settled, farmed and developed. However, we now know it also provides a fast-track for nutrients and pollutants to enter our waterways and Estuary, leading to algal blooms and fish kills in the lower Serpentine and Murray Rivers.

‘We need to do more to transform the region’s drainage network to ensure it not only continues to protect land from flooding, but also filters out the nutrients and pollutants in stormwater before it enters our waterways and Estuary. Restoring our drains to more natural living waterways is one effective approach.

The great news is that today’s Symposium presented numerous solutions which can be implemented by government, industry, developers, landholders and the community.  Drains can be transformed to trap more nutrients, hold back water for agricultural use and even restore wetlands for wildlife’ said Ms Gray. ‘We now need to implement these exciting solutions strategically across the catchment, including on farms and where land is developed for urban, commercial or industrial use’.

The Symposium attendees also learnt of how drainage water is increasingly being regarded as a resource that may be able to be used in future agriculture and industry in the region.

‘Our drying climate is making all water, including water in drains, even more precious. This makes demonstrating the economic value of transforming our drainage systems a little easier’.

‘We have been heartened by the State Government’s new approach to drainage developed over the past few years and look forward to working even more closely with the Water Corporation, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and local governments over coming years’ said Ms Gray.

The one-day Symposium featured fourteen speakers on topics as varied as design of new drainage systems, tracking the flow of nutrients in drains, waterway restoration, and construction of small weirs on drains.

‘The Water Corporation was pleased to be involved in the symposium to improve drainage in the Peel-Harvey region,’ said Suzanne Brown, Water Corporation Manager for Drainage and Liveable Communities.

‘Water quality in drains is a shared responsibility, so it’s encouraging to see more and more conversation around what we can all do to help.’

The Symposium was made possible by the support of the Water Corporation, the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the City of Mandurah.

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800

 

We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present

Millions of Native Animals Destroyed By Killer Cats

WA Feral Cat Symposium – May 31st Mandurah Performing Arts Centre

Recent studies suggest that the Australian feral cat population fluctuates between 1.4 to 5.6 million. Astoundingly feral cats are responsible for killing more than 1 million birds, more than 1 million reptiles, and more than 1 million mammals in Australia EVERY DAY.

That’s more than 900 million native animals killed by feral cats every single year. This is according to Dr John Woinarski, a Professor at Charles Darwin University, Deputy Director of the Threatened Species Recovery Hub, and a speaker at the Feral Cat Symposium in Mandurah on 31st May.

This event will bring the nation’s leading researchers, conservation groups, and government together to discuss this difficult but important issue.

This event has been made possible thanks to funding through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, and thanks to the following partners and sponsors: NRM WA, City of Mandurah, WA Biodiversity Science Institute, Northern Agricultural Catchments Council, Wheatbelt NRM, and the South West Catchments Council.

Numbats are Western Australia’s state mammal emblem and one of our most endearing small mammals.

Dryandra Woodland, located in the heart of the Peel-Harvey Catchment, is “home” to one of the only two remaining natural populations of numbats (Myrmecobius fasciatus) in the world. Unfortunately, numbats are easy prey for feral cats which are one of the key threats to their survival.

The Dryandra Woodland, is the single largest remnant of original vegetation in the western wheatbelt, and provides habitat for a wide range of native species. Scientists monitor the numbats in the forest. A network of cameras has shown that feral cats are responsible for past losses of numbats.

The Peel-Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC) supports efforts to restore the numbat population. A significant focus is working with farmers surrounding Dryandra to undertake feral cat control. Recent feedback has suggested more than 100 feral cats have been captured on private land in the district in the last 12-18 months, and there are many more cats! However, there are some encouraging signs and numbat numbers are stabilising which is a great result for the community, and the numbats.

The Feral Cat Symposium will highlight the impacts and share experiences from across Australia.

There are many good examples of successful feral cat control programs operating across WA and elsewhere in Australia, and there are important lessons and techniques to be shared amongst practitioners.” said PHCC Chairman Andy Gulliver.

The symposium will explore current experience and innovative future techniques for feral cat control.

The Threatened Species Commissioner Dr Sally Box will talk on the Australian Government’s perspective, and the importance of managing the threat of feral cats to a number of Threatened Species listed under Australian Government legislation. The Australian Government suggests that feral cats threaten the survival of over 100 native species in Australia, including WA’s bilby, bandicoot, bettong and numbat, and have caused the extinction of some ground-dwelling birds and small to medium-sized mammals.

Representatives from the State Government will talk about legislation and regulations which affect feral cat control in WA. With proposed changes to the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (BAM) Act, 2007, it is a good time to be discussing how this may affect future feral cat control efforts.

We have been fortunate to obtain a number of prominent and leading experts involved in research and on-ground control of feral cats, and we strongly believe the calibre of presenters and panel members will result in a constructive and robust discussion giving audience members a fascinating insight into this important issue and leave the community better prepared to tackle the scourge of feral cats across WA”, said Andy Gulliver.

Early bird tickets for this event are available up until the 14th May. See website at www.waferalcatsymposium.com for event and registration details.

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800

 

We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present

Technology creates new wetland art

Winner of the Wetlands from Above Photography competition. Photo taken by Natalie Goddard at Creery Wetlands

Visitors to the Cape Bouvard Winery/Brewery in Lake Clifton on the weekend enjoyed a display of aerial photos and videos that showcase the beauty of the Peel Region’s wetlands and waterways.

The visual display brought together the work of two projects by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council and City of Mandurah: a drone photo competition ‘Wetlands from Above’ and the Stretch Art Festival’s ‘Hydrodome’.

The ‘Wetlands from Above’ competition, organised by the PHCC, saw local drone operators compete to take their best aerial shots of the wetlands of the Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar Wetlands. Competition winners Natalie Goddard (first prize), Ryan Chatfield and Michael Bond provided spectacular images of the wetlands.

‘Drones are part of the disruption revolution helping scientists and natural resource managers monitor and assess the environment.  It’s been great to see drones also have an artistic side giving us a creative bird’s eye view of our amazing wetlands’, said PHCC chairperson Andy Gulliver. ‘Telling the story of our environment through art allows the community to connect with nature in new ways. We hope the photos encourage people to do their bit to protect the beauty that surrounds us.’

Competition photos were shown throughout the evening on a huge LED screen set to the sounds of live acoustic and jazz performances by local musicians Danny Bau and the Mahara Tocker trio.

The Wetlands from Above photos were complemented by a spectacular night-time light, sound and video artwork called the Hydrodome – a Stretch Arts Festival project.

Standing 6 m tall, the semi-spherical Hydrodome provided a 360 degree screen for a digital film inspired by Mandurah’s relationship with water. It has involved the work of artists Justin Wiggan (UK), Bernadette Lewis and David Carson and has engaged over 100 people from the Mandurah community who have contributed to the content of the film and soundscape.

Two domes, one viewed from outside and another from the inside, will be star attractions at this year’s Stretch Arts Festival on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 May,  Mandjar Square, Ormsby Terrace Mandurah.

City of Mandurah Mayor Rhys Williams was impressed with how the Hydrodome Project and the Wetlands from Above competition were encouraging the community to take a closer look at our local wetlands and environment.

‘This year’s Stretch Festival is another opportunity for everyone to get out and enjoy the artistic sights and sounds of Mandurah with friends and family, and appreciate our beautiful wetlands and waterways’ said Mayor Williams.

The evening was made possible by the PHCC through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program. The Hydrodome is part of the City of Mandurah’s Stretch Arts Festival.

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800

 

We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present

Plastic shopping bag phase out needs to go further….another 35 microns further

PHCC’s Jesse Rowley, volunteer Matthew Read and PHCC’s Jordon Garbellini

The PHCC has welcomed the end to light-weight plastic shopping bags to be introduced in WA on 1 July 2018 and hopes it will lead to the complete end of single use plastic shopping bags in the next 2 years.

The 1 July ban to be implemented by state government will make it illegal for shops to provide plastic bags which are less than 35 microns.  A micron is one-millionth of a metre, and bags less than 35 microns are what we currently see at most checkouts.

The PHCC wants the ban to extend to all plastic shopping bags that are less than 70 microns thick so that retailers and shoppers are strongly discouraged from shifting from thin plastic to glossy thick plastic bags that may still be available after 1 July under the government’s current plans.

We want to see a complete shift away from single use plastic shopping bags in the long term, said PHCC Chairperson Andy Gulliver.  Government and community leaders need to support and encourage the use of re-useable shopping bags that can be used over and over again.  This is a simple action that each and every one of us can do to look after the environment, everyday!

At present, plastic shopping bags and other plastic products are littering our beautiful environment and don’t degrade any time soon, especially in a landfill.  And when plastics get into the Estuary and marine environment, they can injure and kill wildlife, and get incorporated into the food chain.

Local community groups in the Peel-Harvey Catchment are frustrated by the amount of plastic litter that is ending up on foreshores, beaches, roadsides and bushland.  In one 2 km stretch of Coodanup foreshore for example, volunteers collected 127 plastic packaging items in one rubbish pickup event in 2017, of which 60% were plastic bags.

So important is the issue that the Mandurah-based Youth on Leadership group has devised a campaign to raise community awareness on the impacts of single use plastics on the local environment and what can be done to reduce reliance on single use plastics.

It’s fantastic to see the Youth in Leadership Group’s Heal Peel campaign being developed, said Andy.  Young people are showing us adults the way with their marketing campaign. We hope that the State Government puts as much effort and enthusiasm into a state-wide awareness-raising campaign, with a much bigger budget of course.

Other states have shown that a 35 micron bag ban doesn’t necessary reduce the amount of plastic bag litter, and in SA and NT it has been shown to make little if any difference. That’s why the government needs to get to a 70 micron bag ban, and follow it up with a strong public awareness campaign, said Andy.  The key messages are: bring your re-useable bags to the shops, store them in the car when not in use, and don’t litter our beautiful state!

The PHCC’s submission to the State Government’s Plastic Bag Ban Discussion Paper can be found here

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800

We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present

Community Caring for Bandicoot Brook

Waroona District High School’s Bush Rangers have adopted Bandicoot Reserve as a study area

Look what’s happening at Bandicoot Brook! With a little help from the students at Waroona District High School, the Coolup Land Conservation District Committee (LCDC) will continue a project to protect rare flora and Nationally listed TEC’s.

The National Landcare Program funded Community Environment Grant was awarded to Coolup LCDC in June this year to help build on weed management activities started in 2014 as part of the Bandicoot Brook Reserve restoration program. Colleen Archibald, NRM Support Officer, based at the Waroona Landcare Centre provides the Coolup LCDC with guidance and support.

A 68ha linear reserve of remnant vegetation, Bandicoot Brook Reserve provides an important linkage between the Murray River in the east and the Peel-Harvey Estuary in the west. The reserve is home to critically endangered clay pan communities,  including three Nationally listed TEC (Threatened Ecological Communities) and 18 species of rare and priority flora. The site is a window into what much of the eastern Swan Coast Plain would have looked like prior to European settlement.

Serious weed invasion from bulbous and grass weeds is the main threat to the reserve. The Coolup LCDC are supporting the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions, with activities aiming to implement strategic and effective weed control, encouraging native plant regeneration and improving the condition of the surrounding clay pan communities.

Bandicoot Brook Reserve is a perfect site for both education and community activities. The Waroona District High School Year 9 Bushranger’s class have adopted the reserve as their study area. Educational field trips will be held throughout the project, focusing on the importance of the wetlands and woodlands of the Pinjarra Plain.  Regular community walks, talks and hands-on management activities with schools and the wider community will raise awareness of the values of Bandicoot Brook Reserve and the importance of the wetlands and woodlands of the Pinjarra and Swan Coastal Plain.

This project is supported through the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800

 

We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present

 

Grant helps protect world-class environment at Lake Clifton

PHCC’s Jane O’Malley, Lake Clifton-Herron Landcare Group’s Nancy Fardin and Jenny Rose with Keith Armstrong, Neil Blake and Neil Richards from the Department of Environment and Energy

One of Western Australia’s most important wetlands has been given a boost, with funding from the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council helping to protect the fragile environment at Lake Clifton.

The PHCC has provided almost $10,000 to the Lake Clifton-Herron Landcare Group through round two of their Community Environment Grants, enabling the group to carry out on-ground activities across a stretch of shoreline at the lake.

The Lake Clifton-Herron Landcare group used some of the funds to carry out a weed survey which is now informing a weed control programme which will take place shortly. A further $15,730 of funding is committed through Phase two of the PHCC Community Environment grants, and will go towards implementing weed control at the site.

“The weed survey will also help inform an action plan for the lake, and this will need to be considered carefully to get the best result for future projects,” Jenny Rose from the Lake Clifton-Herron Landcare Group said.

Lake Clifton is one of the most valuable environmental sites in the City of Mandurah, Shire of Waroona and broader Peel Region and is part of the Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar system, which is a Ramsar wetland of international significance.

 “The Lake Clifton-Herron Landcare Group has been working hard for many years to protect the lake by managing weeds and the survey is assisting to focus priority actions to achieve the group’s vision, which is to restore the Lake’s shoreline vegetation to a more natural state.” PHCC CEO Jane O’Malley said.

Removing weeds will help clear the way for future planting programs to re-establish a native buffer of vegetation, which provides habitat for local and international migratory shorebirds and the small organisms on which the Shorebirds birds feed on.

The vegetation buffer also filters unwanted nutrients from water, stopping them entering the lake and upsetting the natural balance of the ecosystem, which is critical to the threatened federally listed Thrombolites, which have existed over thousands of years at Lake Clifton and are iconic to the Peel Harvey region.

This project is supported through the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800

 

We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present

Farmers 4 Fauna Project: Partnership Announcement

Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) in Dryandra Woodland (photo courtesy of Rob McLean from Numbat Taskforce)

22 January 2018…An exciting partnership project between the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC), Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and Project Numbat is providing support to landholders near the Dryandra Woodland to control feral animals on their properties to protect threatened native animals.

Dryandra Woodland is a National Park and is located in the upper reaches of the Peel-Harvey catchment, straddling the Shires of Narrogin, Cuballing, Williams and Wandering. The woodland is one of WA’s most valuable nature conservation reserves as it is home to unique native flora and fauna species, including the threatened woylie (Bettongia penicillata) and Western Australia’s state mammal emblem, the numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus).  Dryandra is the largest remnant of original vegetation in the western wheatbelt and the only area left in WA where Numbats live where they have not been re-introduced.  The former Threatened Species Commissioner had a particular affinity with our Numbats and, in putting their vulnerability into context, used to quote that Numbats are rarer than Black Rhino’s.

Numbats are one of the 20 mammals identified in the Commonwealth Government’s Threatened Species Strategy. The Strategy acknowledges the role farmers and private landholders play in the conservation of our native animals and it has an ambitious target of culling 2 million feral cats across Australia by 2020.

Monitoring at Dryandra shows that feral cats and foxes are coming into the woodland through adjacent bushland and farmland areas, and woylie and numbat populations were continuing to decline. In response the DBCA introduced the Dryandra Numbat Woylie (Predator Control) project in 2015 and began working with the community, and collaborating with neighbouring landowners to assist to protect these iconic mammals.  The Predator Control project enabled some complementary feral predator control initiatives to be introduced in addition to the ongoing baiting to control foxes. The Farmers 4 Fauna is enabling greater support for Farmers to be involved, with over 70 Farmers attending the launch of the project.

The PHCC and Project Numbat are now engaging with surrounding landholders who are enthusiastic about playing a significant role in the protection of our native animals through the Farmers 4 Fauna project. By applying this coordinated approach across public and private land, PHCC, DBCA, Project Numbat and the Farming community aim to increase the number of native animals in, and around the Park and minimise  risks to agriculture from disease and predation by foxes and feral cats.

The Farmers 4 Fauna project is already seeing the Farming community band together towards this common goal.  Farmers around Dryandra now have access to free cat traps and 1080 baits which have been provided to the Shires of Cuballing, Narrogin, Wandering and Williams.  Training and licensing support is also being provided, as well as events and field days which will continue to bring the Farming community together to share information and success stories. Monitoring will continue to assess the impact of the actions and focus efforts to areas of most need.

PHCC Chairman Andy Gulliver said – “The Farmers 4 Fauna project is a great example of how successful partnerships can achieve fantastic things for our community and our environment. This project will result in meaningful support for some of our most treasured native species, in one of the most significant bushland remnants remaining across the West Australian Wheatbelt. We thank both the DBCA and Project Numbat for all their hard work in the development and initiation of this great project, and our Farming community for their enthusiasm in playing a key role in protecting our native animals”.

This project is supported by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800

 

We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present

Bird Walk and Talk at Lake Yalgorup

Golo Maurer, Key Biodiversity Area Program Manager from Birdlife Australia logging his observations using Birdata.

18 January 2018….A keen group of bird enthusiasts and curious community members recently joined specialists from Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, BirdLife Australia and the Mandurah Bird Observers Group at the beautiful Lake Yalgorup to discover more about this diverse wetland and its migratory and resident bird populations.

13 people from the local community were lucky enough to share an early morning “Walk and Talk” at Lake Yalgorup led by Golo Maurer from BirdLife Australia along with Bill Russell and Bob Patterson from the Mandurah Bird Observers Group. This was a great chance for the group to spend a couple of hours bird-watching and enjoy a morning tea information session about the value of bird-watching survey data and how it will help Birdlife gain insight and protect Australia’s bird species.

Lake Yalgorup, a stunning wetland nestled in the Yalgorup National Park just south of Mandurah, is one of many lakes which make up the Peel-Yalgorup Wetland System. The 26,500 hectare wetland system, including Lake Yalgorup, is a designated wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention (Ramsar Site 482) and is renowned as the largest and most diverse estuarine system in southern WA.

By organising this event at Lake Yalgorup, PHCC hope to introduce residents from Mandurah and the broader catchment area to bird-watching, meet and connect with experienced bird-watchers, promote the beauty and attractions of the Peel-Yalgorup wetland system and share information about the importance of bird-watching.

Beginning the Bird Walk and Talk at Martins Tank campsite, the group braved wet weather to explore the bushland around Lake Yalgorup.  As experienced bird-watchers eager to share their knowledge and expertise, Golo, Bill and Bob talked with the group about the diverse wetland, local bird species, and how individuals and groups can take part in bird monitoring. Despite the poor weather conditions, the group enjoyed the experience, soaking up (pardon the pun!) the beauty of the surrounding landscape and spotting twelve different species of birds.

During the morning tea information session, Golo demonstrated how to complete a bird survey using the innovative citizen science App, Birdata. Birdata is a gateway to BirdLife Australia data where users can draw bird distribution maps, generate bird lists for any part of the country and also submit survey information to this important environmental database. The group entered their sightings for the day on Birdata, with a few of them downloading the App and entering the survey data themselves.

Golo also talked about BirdLife’s Guardian program, another citizen science initiative where people and groups can register to become guardians of Key Biodiversity Areas and take part in annual Easter Health Checks which report on the condition of an area. By becoming a guardian of Key Biodiversity Areas and using the mobile App Birdata, community members are able to contribute to a pool of valuable scientific data and create a snapshot of an area helping BirdLife and other environmental organisations protect bird species and their habitat.

PHCC plans to organise more events just like this in the future. If you’re interested in learning about birds and how to bird-watch, please register your interest by emailing admin@peel-harvey.org.au

Andy Gulliver from PHCC said, “Yalgorup Lake is a part of the Peel-Yalgorup System, a wetland of international importance listed Ramsar 482 site. The ecologically diverse site is recognised for its migratory and wetland birds and PHCC is pleased assist in connecting residents with an opportunity to learn about this unique environment and try their hand at bird-watching. Bird monitoring plays a crucial part in conserving this special area. We are thrilled to able to introduce new people to these groups and to the many opportunities for them to play a role in citizen science projects that make a valuable contribution to conservation of the Peel-Yalgorup Wetland.”

To find out more about Birdlife, Birdata and Key Biodiversity Areas please visit the following link at https://birdata.birdlife.org.au/

The Bird Walk and Talk at Lake Yalgorup was supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800

 

We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present

 

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