Landmate | Phascogale | National Action Plan for Salinity Grants | Evergraze | Landscape Protection Programs
Landmate provides a helping hand
In the 2007/08 financial year, HM Prison Langi Kal Kal is again offering the services of a 6-8 man team to help out on environmental projects within a 50-70 km radius of Langi Kal Kal. The team is accessed free of charge and is supervised by a prison officer.
Some of the activities that the team was involved in for 2006/07 were: planting over 12,000 trees and shrubs, clearing over 9 km of fences burned in the recent fires, erecting 27.5 km of new fencing and controlling weeds (mainly gorse) on 31 ha of land. The team is to be congratulated on such a terrific effort helping the community.
The team is operated by a roster system where a landholder requests a number of days, specifies the type of job required and specifies a place to meet. It is expected that the landholder will be on site to assist and that all materials are organised and ready for use on the day. The prison officer will contact the landholder prior to arriving, to confirm the job details.
For fencing jobs, the expectation is that all stays will have been erected prior to the crew arriving. The crew can drive steel posts, attach wire to posts and attach droppers. Fence clearing has been limited to those landholders who have lost fencing because of bushfires.
Landholders who access DPI Salinity Incentive grants or CMA Partnership Project grants are also able to access assistance from Landmate if they are within range of Langi Kal Kal. For more information and to book a date for the Landmate crew, phone Ruth Raleigh on (03) 55 730 713.
Search for the elusive Phascogale
|In the 2007/08 financial year, extension services to the Ararat Hills - Beaufort region will include biodiversity management, specifically monitoring for Brush-tailed Phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa), also known as Tuan.|
This feisty little mammal is a threatened species (external site) and is listed as “vulnerable” by the (former) Department of Sustainability and Environment. Much of the Tuan’s life is spent foraging at night on the trunks and amongst the branches of rough-barked trees for large insects, spiders and centipedes. Female Brush-tailed Phascogales have home ranges of 30–60 ha and the males use areas greater than 100 ha. Males all die after mating, while females die shortly after weaning their young. This breeding strategy makes the species vulnerable to local extinctions.
The characteristic black “bottlebrush” tail makes up half the length of the Phascogale with adults growing to just over 40 cm. The male is heavier at 230 g while the smaller females weigh 156 g. The animal has grey fur with large, naked ears and pale cream fur underneath. More information on the Brush-tailed Phascogale (external site) can be found about on the Australian Museum website.
Central to the Brush-tailed Phascogale’s vulnerability is loss of habitat and tree hollows, and predation by foxes and roaming cats. A central objective of this monitoring program is to determine the distribution and abundance of the Brush-tailed Phascogale in the Ararat-Beaufort region on privately owned land. Monitoring will take the form of hair-tubes where a sample of hair is left on a sticky surface of the “trap” when the animal tries to steal a prepared treat. These hairs can be examined in the laboratory to determine what species they belong to.
DSE staff and students place hair-tubes for monitoring Brush-tailed Phascogales (Photo: Ruth Raleigh)
Photo caption: Typical hill pasture with a
proportion of native species in central Victoria.
|DPI is funding a new research project to utilise native grasses in harsh environments such as steep hills for improved profitability, sustainability and biodiversity. ‘EverGraze Low Input on native vegetation’, is part of the national EverGraze program, which aims to increase farm profitability by 50% and considerably reduce recharge. |
The project has been developed based on research findings from the ‘Sustainable farming systems for steep hills’ undertaken by DPI researcher in central Victoria over the past five years. A series of deferred grazing strategies were identified by the steep hills project, which can significantly increase groundcover by perennial species and pasture composition and production, and reduce water and nutrient runoff. Deferred grazing involves no defoliation (e.g. grazing) of pasture for some months to encourage seed set of desirable perennial grasses.
The objectives of the new project are to maintain a high level of perennial (mostly native) pastures through a combination of grazing and other management techniques (e.g. deferred grazing, rotational grazing, set stocking and use of fertiliser etc.) and to maximise pasture utilisation by grazing animals. Maintaining high levels of perennial native vegetation is also critical to sustain the ecological balance in these marginal land classes.
The project team has assessed potential research and demonstration sites in collaboration with landholders around Ararat. Selected sites will be fenced off and initial deferred grazing management applied in spring 2007. Further treatments will be imposed in subsequent years.
For further information about this new project contact Dr Zhongnan Nie or Reto Zollinger at DPI Hamilton Centre Phone 03 55730900.
|The Woody Weeds War on Waterways project led to a significant amount of Gorse removed or treated in riparian areas of the Upper Hopkins over the last few years. This project has been responsible for opening up large areas of waterways, to allow activities such as revegetation and protective fencing funded through GHCMA “Partnerships Projects”. |
A compliance audit consisted of Landscape Protection staff inspecting properties previously infested with Woody Weeds. Notices under the Catchment and Land Protection Act were issued where works had not been maintained.
Follow-up control of Gorse was required on only 16 properties bordering the Hopkins River, Fiery, Denicull, Jackson’s, Middle and Good Morning Bill Creeks. Over 70 properties and 24,000 hectares were involved in the program. This auditing project provides useful information regarding the number of landowners in the area who have continued to manage their riparian weeds after (former) DPI staff have moved on to other areas.