The year in review
December 2017/January 2018
2017 was a busy year which saw some great projects, training events and field days delivered across the South East, here are a few highlights from each of our local areas.
Far south coast
- 2017 saw the conclusion of the 3 year “Realising the potential of our wetlands project” which, among other things saw 4,000 volunteers engaged and supported with relevant education, 106 unique farming entities involved, the creation of the South East Wetland Carers Network, control of pests over 25,000 hectares, control of weeds over 1,700 hectares and over 100 hectares of revegetation work across private and public land, including the restoration of Coastal Saltmarsh and Swamp Oak Forest Endangered Ecological Communities.
- The team worked with key stakeholders, including the Bermagui Golf Club, to manage extensive populations of Norfolk Island hibiscus which was impacting the Bermagui River Wetland system.
- 2017 also saw the addition of two new biosecurity staff which has increased the capacity of the team to deliver biosecurity services on the Far South Coast.
- A training exercise simulating a Foot and Mouth disease outbreak was held at the Bega saleyards involving agents, transport operators, vets, DPI and LLS staff. Planning and preparation for emergency events are key aspects of LLS service delivery and scenario training such as this are an excellent way to hone skills and raise awareness.
- In collaboration with WaterNSW South East LLS secured funding to continue the Rural Landscape Program for an additional 3 years. This will help land managers in the Sydney catchment area improve their practices, natural environments and ultimately water quality into the catchments.
- The soil moisture program covering the Southern Tablelands and Monaro is fully installed and active. The project website is now live so land managers can access real-time data to help them make more informed decisions to assist their businesses.
- The team, in collaboration with a group of key stakeholders, developed and implemented the South East Regional Weed Management Plan.
- The team supported the local community with emergency animal welfare responses, the provision of emergency fodder and ongoing recovery advice in the wake of the Tarago fire early in the year.
- The team, working in conjunction with the Snowy Monaro Regional Council and National Parks and Wildlife has been educating land managers about the risk posed by the invasive orange hawkweed, how to identify it and what to do if they discover it on their property.
- The team has also been conducting an ongoing investigation into Fluproponate resistant tussock that has been found on the Monaro.
- David Eddy has been added to the Monaro team to assist land managers transition to the new sustainable land management framework that took effect on August 25 2017.
- It's been a busy year for the Save Our Scarlet Robin project managed by Palerang staff member Rebecca Bradley, with many woodland bird community events delivered with our project partners. Community interest in the project across the three landscapes targeted for habitat improvement has been substantial with 60 expressions of interest received in 2017. The project received a boost in staff resourcing with project officer Felicity Sturgiss commencing in 2017 in a part-time capacity.
- Sustainable agriculture services will have more of a focus in the Palerang area now with the commencement of Agricultural Advisor Helen Smith with the Braidwood LLS team in late 2017. Since commencing Helen organised a workshop on managing stock during dry times which was well received by local land managers.
- Animal health updates are now a regular feature in our South East Circular, coordinated by Palerang district vet Kate Sawford.
- The team supported land managers throughout the Tarago and Carwoola fires, assessing injured stock, providing emergency fodder and follow up advice on issues such as erosion and weed control.
- Biosecurity staff continue to provide advice and support to land managers in controlling rabbits, foxes and feral pigs, delivering training in the safe handling of baits and how to implement effective feral animal control.
- The team has assisted with the improvement of water quality in the Shoalhaven and Crockwell rivers by working with land managers to control cattle activity near riparian areas.
- The team has also provided comprehensive data to local land managers to help them to forecast pasture growth rates to help them plan for their businesses and make more informed decisions.
- The biosecurity team has been able to further promote and support the Office of Environment and Heritage’s Quollidor program, increasing participation in group control measures targeting foxes and wild dogs in the Kangaroo Valley area.
- South East LLS continued to support the Illawarra Wild Deer Management Program by leading the steering committee and monitoring contractors. 736 deer were removed during the year which aids environmental outcomes, agricultural output, road and train safety and lessens residential disturbance.
- The biosecurity team continued to expand the Feral Fighters program locally, and assisted in the expansion of the program across the region, there are now over 2000 Feral Fighters in the South East region. Successful baiting programs for foxes, rabbits and wild dogs were run in Autumn and Spring.
- Soil test workshops were run to increase customer skills, abilities and decision making when using fertilisers.
- Natural Resource Management programs have assisted land managers and community groups to protect threatened species, including the superb parrot, yellow spotted bell frog and the southern pygmy perch, and riparian areas.
If you would like to know more about any of the above please just contact your nearest Local Land Services office.