Archive for May, 2010

Natural Environment Recovery Group

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Meeting Notes

Date: 20 May 2010

Time: 10am to 12 noon

Venue: Strathewen Community Centre

1. Present

· Donna Stoddart (NSC)

· Lori Arthur (NSC)

· Corinne Mays (NSC)

· Doug Evans (Christmas Hills Landcare Group)

· Kacie Melfi (Port Phillip and Westernport CMA)

· Julia McKinnon (St Matthews Parish)

· Pat Corr (Arthurs Creek Landcare Group)

· Anna Zsoldos (Melbourne Water)

· Kylee Woods (Strathewen Landcare)

· Barrie Tully (Strathewen Landcare & Renewal Committee)

2. Apologies

· Tim O’Donnell (NSC)

· Kirsten Jenkins (NSC)

· Tony Fitzgerald (PV)

· Sue Aldred (St Andrews Landcare Group/NSC)

· Natalie Brida (Parks Victoria)

· Warwick Leeson (St Andrews Bushfire Recovery Association)

· Bronwyn South (Strathwen Landcare and Recovery Committee)

3. Confirmation and actions from previous minutes

Doug noted that the minutes should state Christmas Hills Landcare received $10,000 for trailer not $20,000.

Action

Who

Action taken/completed

Action commenced

Natalie to distribute information regarding the PV rabbit control program

NB

 

Feb

Lori to liaise with DSE/consultants about appropriate wording and possibility of running these sessions. Information to be circulated to NERWG before going into the bulletin.

Kacie to follow up with Owen.

LA/CM

Draft received from Owen. Dianne and Robyn are refining this information. It is anticipated that a letter will go to all residents in the FAA containing information about regeneration, roadsides and legalities of vegetation removal, as well as a fact sheet on regeneration and info also in next bulletin.

Feb

Lori to re-circulate the brief for the Community Environment Action
Recovery Plan.

LA

Completed. Scope was circulated with April minutes

April

Lori and Tony to liaise regarding dates for a walk for NERWG through Kinglake NP to look at recovery programs

LA/TF

Has not been organized but proposed for one months time and could follow the NERWG meeting.

April

Actions: Lori to circulate draft of the regeneration fact sheet to the NERWG

4.0 Discussion items

4.1 Recycling Recovery – Grocon funding

Doug provided an outline of the opportunity for Landcare groups to obtain funding for land management/environment recovery/capacity building programs from the Grocon Recycling Recovery program. Funding is divided up across Victoria according to the amount of area burnt and the PPW region is to receive approx $322,000. Seven Councils across the Port Phillip Region can apply with funding provided on project merit. Applications maybe from individual landcare groups or as a multi group application but should involve options for volunteering.

The group discussed possible options:

· Christmas Hills Landcare are interested in programs which continue on with what is currently being implemented ie. advice, CVA volunteer working bees, coordinated programs

· Strathewen – keen to implement programs which support landholders to establish sheltherbelts

Works are to be completed and funding spent by December 2011.

The group discussed a request from Maria (VBRRA) for the group to consider a proposal for these funds to be used for requests that the people from the ’Black Belt’ have had. These include the clearing of pine trees and installation of crossovers. The group discussed that these are not Landcare related and do not fit with the criteria which could jeapordise a proposal.

Action: Lori to draft a proposal which links to the implementation of recommendations from the Community Environment Recovery Action Plan and incorporates the Landcare Groups ideas and circulate to the group for comment/suggestions.

4.2 Community Environment Recovery Action Plan

Funding agreement has been received by Council. Proposed process from here:

1. Revisit and agree on timelines (NERWG) Action: Lori to recirculate proposed new timelines to the group.

2. Sign off on agreement (NSC and VBRRA)

3. Develop and circulate draft consultant brief (NSC). Define boundaries ie. separate reports for communities/landcare groups NERWG)

4. Groups/agencies to develop short list of preferred consultants (Landcare Groups/agencies) Action: Groups to email list of preferred consultants.

5. Determine selection panel for selection panel (groups/NSC) and implement selection process.

4.3 VBRRA projects

Landcare groups to determine structure/timelines for implementing the projects. These will need to be signed off with the VBRRA funding agreements.

Need to be clear as to what Council and Landcare Groups will do, eg. More efficient to coordinate chemical use training across the landcare groups and Shire maybe better placed to organize this. Timelines will therefore need to be consistent. Doug has already drafted some timeframes for CH LC which could be rolled out across the groups.

Action: Lori to circulate Christmas Hills proposed timeframes to the group for agreement.

4.4 Fencing

Donna provided an update of the fencing project. See NERWG report for more details.

4.5 Pest Plant and Animal issues

Council programs – refer NERWG report.

Melbourne Water – some weed control works on Arthurs and Chadds Creek have been completed. Works will continue in these waterways in spring. Diamond Creek works to begin in spring.

Corinne outlined the new DSE Urban Weed Initiative for interface Councils. This is a $4M program over 4 years with weed control works to focus on protecting biodiversity assets on public land. Works on private land can be funded where they will protect public land assets.

Kinglake NP currently implementing a fox cull in the park and wanting to notify/work with adjoining landholders.

4.6 Biodiversity

No further update.

4.7 Community Nursery

Several community nurseries are growing plants from the seed collected by Kahn and Julie. Sue is coordinating dates with Julie and Kahn for running pricking out sessions at Edendale for the end of May. Merriang Nursery is also looking for assistance with pricking out seedlings which will help to reduce the price per tube. Dates for this look to be mid to late June.

4.8 Erosion

Erosion projects still being implemented. As per NERWG report

4.9 Field days/info sessions

~ Spotlight Walk held with approximately 25 people but was a bit wet and there wasn’t much out to be seen.

~ session on dams June 5th (flyer to be circulated)

~ Barry Tully offered his property for a session on fencing at the previous meeting as his property has several different types of fencing. David Stewart from DPI has also previously offered to run fencing demonstrations. Sue will liaise with Barry and David about an appropriate date.

4.10 Landowner needs

~ Barrie discussed that he is keen to re-establish wind breaks on his property and is interested in using indigenous plants. Local indigenous nurseries are listed in the Live Local Plant Local publication and the Greening Australia Victoria website also has a list of indigenous plant stockists (www.greeningaustralia.org.au)

Sue has been liaising with local nurseries about growing plants for such purposes and may have some plants for Barry. Lori to follow up with Sue regarding assistance for Barry.

5.0 Updates

5.1 Council update

· As per NERWG report attached

5.2 SACBRA

· Warwick an apology – no report.

5.3 SCRA/Strathewen Landcare

· Seeking a sign for the area around the Poets Tree to stop mulch being dumped

· Friends of Warrandyte State Park have been assisting with working bees

· Looking to organize a talk with Dianne Simmons regarding fire recovery. Donna to forward Diannes contact details to Bronwyn and Kylee.

5.4 Arthurs Creek Landcare

· Planting day held at Peter Jenkins

· Working bee at the Hattans property

· Assisting with pricking out of seedlings

· Pat and Gayle attended the Whittlesea fungi talk and are looking to organize the speaker for a session in Arthurs Creek. The speaker is currently selling a book on fungi which Pat reported was very good.

5.5 Melbourne Water

· Geomorphological study is underway and is anticipated to be completed by Autust. The outcomes of the study should help to identify what is going to happen in the future in the waterways and identify hot spots. The information from this study will be used to develop education materials and hopefully designs for addressing hot spots. The findings for the report will also assist with the Community Environment Recovery Action Plans.

Action: NERWG members to report any hot spots to Anna.

· Stream frontage program is still engaging new landholders. Melbourne Water currently in the planning phase for capital works projects for the next 2 years which takes them to the end of the current Water Plan.

5.6 Christmas Hills Landcare

· Rabbit field day being held in June

· Rabbit control program

o 300ha coverage – 29 properties

o Blackberry spraying nearly complete

o Ferreting with volunteers first and then baiting

· Had an information session with Alan Webster from DSE who spoke about locally relevant native species. Currently liaising with Deakin University about potential studies they could do.

5.7 CMA

· Kacie and apology – no report.

5.8 Parks Victoria

· No report

5.9 St Matthews Church

· Working bees continuing. It is hoped that the program will continue until Dec 2010.

· Julia is currently working with Plenty Valley Christian College as part of a school volunteering project. This will involve a week of volunteering mostly doing general garden weeding.

· Working to support the gardening groups.

5.10 St Andrews Landcare

· Purchasing Landcare trailer.

· Developing newsletter and keen to ‘grow’ numbers and profile

Next meeting: Thursday 17th June

10-12noon

Location: St Andrews Hall

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NERWG Update

20 May 2010

Volunteers

Environmental Planning continues to allocate 77 volunteer days with Conservation Volunteers Australia days donated by Bendigo Bank. The days have been allocated to properties across, Christmas Hills, St Andrews and Strathewen. Volunteers are removing burnt fencing, re-stringing fences, erecting bio-diversity fencing, placing logs/rocks for ongoing erosion control, weed control and other land management tasks as requested by landowners. To date, all of March and April have been allocated to projects.

Approximately 15 re-vegetation projects will commence in May with CVA volunteers supporting landowners to undertake these works. Plants have been ordered from Edendale Farm. Other re-vegetation projects are emerging and volunteers will be allocated for these. Plants in these cases come from a variety of sources. In addition to the Edendale Farm plants, other local Landcare Groups are growing plants for the fire affected areas. Lori Arthur has coordinated some of these activities.

Private Land

Landowners continue to approach Council, often for the first time since the fires, for support with land management issues. Some landowners only just returning to their properties; others are still undecided whether they will return but still requirie land management advice. Landowners that have recently purchased in the burnt area are also requesting assistance.

To date Environmental Planning has meet and supported approximately 125

properties either through property visits/advice; weed control programs and/or volunteer support.

Weeds

Approx 70 properties registered for the blackberry control program and works on these properties has now been completed (some works, particularly on waterways, will be continued in spring).  It is likely that these works will be partly funded through Australian Governments Caring for Our Country – Bushfire Recovery program, Melbourne Water and Council.

Erosion

A tendering process to short list the most appropriate contractors to undertake 40 Erosion control projects on private land will be completed this week. This will establish a pool of contractors from which suited firms will be ask to quote and schedule works for the individual projects. The complexity of design, cost sharing arrangements and the contractor selection process has meant that these works have not been completed as early as some would have liked. However this measured approach will have real benefits in terms of ensuring the most effective design, maximum value for money and long-term stability of works. Patience will still be required to ensure that these projects reach their full potential.

Biodiversity

Landowners continue to participate in the biodiversity monitoring program. To date 18 landowners have registered and some have received reports. Botanical data can be shared with Council.

Council is working with PPWCMA and DSE to develop some consistent and clear messages regarding concerns about the amount of regeneration and potential future fire risk.

Landcare

St Andrews and Strathewen Landcare Groups were both successful in their applications for VBRRA funding. St Andrews Landcare has been successful in obtaining $7500 to run land management education programs and promote Landcare to the wider community in order to offer support for the longer-term recovery. Strathewen Landcare will receive $25,000 to update their spray equipment and run chemical user training sessions. The application for Christmas Hills Landcare is will be assessed by VBRRA in April.

The VBRRA application to establish the Community Nursery has been partially successful (more details to be provided when available). Some seeds collected for the nursery have been sown by local community nurseries for planting in Spring. Landcare Groups will assist with propagation days to prick out the seeds over the next couple of months.

Boundary Fencing project

· 45 properties have indicated that they still require boundary fencing (some of the people on the list have already done their fencing).

· 24 properties have been inspected by Council to gauge the level of work required.

· Inspections are being done as contact is made and as property owners are ready

· 38 landowners have been contacted by Council.

· Council is still chasing accurate contact details for 8 landowners.

· Council is looking a using a variety of methods to get the work completed including contractors, volunteers and CVA crews.

· Some landowners are not returning our calls and many still have complicated issues to resolve with neighbours.

· CVA crews have removed old fencing on a couple of properties

· CVA crews are booked in to do 8 days work in July/August

· Council has employed Julie & Alex Sutherland as Fencing Supervisors to help with the program

· 8 properties have been referred to Julie & Alex for them to organise volunteers crews and undertake works

· Information sheets have been prepared and processes set in place to actively seek volunteers (at the moment we have no volunteers available to do the work)

· More work will be allocated to volunteer crews, CVA and contractors as funding becomes available

· Council is currently sourcing additional funds to support the program. We have $18,000 which was part of the original DPI allocation and are seeking an additional $180,000 (approx).

Property Recovery Plans

Property Recovery Plans are being developed in consultation with 39 landholders and associated funding (via CFOC) is being sought for activities such as stock exclusion/biodiversity protection, erosion control, weed control and soil testing.

New projects

New Erosion Control and Biodiversity Fencing Projects- Assistance with funding ‘new’ erosion control works and biodiversity fencing can not be guaranteed unless the projects are registered by 30 June 2010. As such Council is urging owners of properties with bushfire exacerbated erosion to contact Tim O’Donnell ASAP to arrange an inspection.

Emerging issues include dam de-silting is (estimate 20+ properties), boundary fencing.

Council Land

Roadside erosion control remains a significant issue. Council Officers are compiling a list of priority areas requiring erosion control works and recording these sites using GPS. In addition to identifying the areas requiring works, the appropriate erosion control treatments and estimated costs are being evaluated.

A contractor has been appointed to undertake a 12-month weed control program along fire affected roadsides. Additional funding is currently being sought from DPI and DSE to continue this program.

A second assessment of hazardous roadside trees is about to commence. In addition a program of removing regeneration along roadsides which affect sight lines and/or is growing into the road space has commenced. Roadsides which have been treated include:

St Andrews

· Ninks Rd

· Olives Lne

· Black Calf Creek Rd

· Mullers Rd

· Wild Dog Creek Rd

· Mittons Bridge Rd

Christmas Hills

· Wallace Rd

A fourth round of surveying has been undertaken of the roadside monitoring plots (refer to the attached photos).

Land Management Initiatives

Department of Primary Industries are coordinating a Serrated Tussock control program for within the fire area and 5km below the fire line offering grants for control.

Council has submitted a grant application to the Department of Planning and Community Development requesting $20,000 to support sustainable gardening initiatives in the bushfire affected areas.

Upcoming Events:

Two pasture management information sessions for landholders were held on 17 and 20 March in St Andrews and Strathewen.

Wildlife Recovery and Spotlight Walk – Parks Victoria Ranger, Tony Fitzgerald, led a local spotlight walk up the gully to look at the local nightlife. Special thanks to Celeste and Dom for hosting the walk.

Property Management Planning Course

Sunday 23 May and Sunday 20 June, 9am to 4.30pm (plus a farm walk 18th July)

NMIT, Yan Yean Training Centre, 2005 Plenty Road, Yan Yean

A two day course (plus a half day farm walk) to help you to make the most out of your rural property. So far 6 landholders from bushfire affected area have enrolled. We area able to take more but would need to know by mid-day Friday 21 May..

The course will be especially useful for properties that have lost internal fencing and other infrastructure, where an opportunity for a new layout and management system now exists. Topics covered will include:

· Creating a plan for your property 

· Repairing damaged or fire affected land

· Planning for a bushfire     

· Pest plant and animal control

· Trees on farms

· Land and soil improvements

· Pasture management, and more (see flyer for details)

Cost:  $258 per participant, however for bushfire-affected properties within the Shire of Nillumbik, Council will fully subsidise the cost for one participant per property.

Property Management Planning Farm Walk- Sunday 18th July.

This half day farm walk is part of the above course but is also open to other participants. We will visit properties that have completed Property Management Plans (or ‘Whole Farm Plans’) and see the great benefits that can be achieved. The location & exact timing is still to be confirmed- but please contact Tim O’Donnell to express interest in attending.

A session on Maintaining your dam will be held at Allwood House on Saturday 5th June with Melbourne Water’s diversion staff. Flyer to be distributed asap.

Planning is underway for field days and events for Semester 2 of Council’s 6mthly Environmental Events Program. Ideas for programs in relation to land mgt include:

· Blackberry control field day (in conjunction with DPI) – Oct

· ACUP course (in conjunction with landcare and NMIT) – Nov

· Property Management Planning course (in conjunction with DPI) – Sept/Oct

· Rabbit control field day (in conjunction with Banyule City Council) – Nov

· Managing Native Pastures session (with DPI) – Nov

Other council contact

Ele’s Jenkins role

Ele Jenkins, Youth Participation and Development Officer (Bushfire Recovery)

– Working with current Youth Service projects in a supportive role.

– Working with Nillumbik Social Health and Community Recovery Group

– Role coordination with Assertive Outreach worker (Nillumbik Community Health Service).

– Engagement with young people (10 – 19), to ascertain project interests.

– In a nut shell: working with young people to help develop projects, events, seminars, forums, activities etc…..

Ele is Interested in Landcare developments and options for youth to get involved. She is not sure how this will look but open to brainstorming some ideas.

Nillumbik Shire Council

Ph: (03) 9433 3329

Mobile: 0438 009 185

Email: eleanor.jenkins@nillumbik.vic.gov.au

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