Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare is again engaging with blueberry farmers to help improve their farming practices. This year the project title is ‘Soil erosion mitigation & riparian works for horticulture (blueberry) farms in the Hearnes Lake Catchment’. The project is targeting soil loss on horticulture farms in the Hearnes Lake catchment. This is in response to recent research by Southern Cross University that has shown that there are significant inputs of sediment and dissolved nitrates entering the lake as a result of the establishment and operation of intensive horticulture in the Houps Gully and Double Crossing Creek sub catchments at Sandy Beach.
CHRL have received $60K in funding from NCLLS to carry out this project. The funding source is Catchment Action NSW. Seven blueberry farms in the Sandy Beach area have been engaged in this project with funded on ground works including erosion gully remediation, creek bank protection and on farm road and drainage improvement. Weed control to protect remnant vegetation and allow revegetation has also taken place on three farms. Revegetation of riparian areas and erosion remediation sites is also a component of this project.
A field day was held in April 2019 at one of the participating farmer’s property. Guest speakers presented on the topic ‘Soil loss – causes, impact and prevention’ as well as nutrient management and waste removal. The Oz Group Co op provided two of the speakers. A tour of the on ground works completed on the farm were also part of the program.
Place: Moonee Beach Picnic area
Date: 24th March 2019
Time: 9 to 11 am
Contact: Lindy on 6654 5313 or 0448 651 239
This is a short presentation with clear and simple descriptions of a number of plants (native and weed) occurring in the Coffs Harbour region, which can be easily mistaken for eachother. John Ross, nurseryman, native plant expert and livelong member of CHRL provided the text and most of the photos.Click here or go to our youtube channel.
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Coffs Harbour City Council approved our application to support a part-time coordinator of our Community Nursery for the second time this year. The first year of a funded Nursery Coordinator (Growing Our Future E.L. project 17/18) was very successful for our Community Nursery.
Our nursery is open on Mondays and Thursday mornings, 9 to 12 and Anastasia Guise has been appointed to the position.
The volunteers and the nursery benefited greatly from the knowledge and experience of the Coordinator in the first year. Propagation processes were streamlined and propagation rates increased to almost 10,000 plants during the year.
With a dedicated Nursery Coordinator, good quality, correctly identified native plants will be distributed to projects restoring local ecological communities. These plants will improve the resilience and integrity of those communities and ensure our natural environment is sustained for the future.
The Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) are pleased to present Compost Benefits for Soils on the Mid-North Coast on Friday October 12th at the Coffs Harbour National Marine Science Centre. The forum brings together key players, and spot-lights best practice in both the production and application of compost on the Mid-North Coast region of NSW.
? Productivity and Sustainability Benefits – Hear from soil experts on successful strategies for applying compost and mulch. Visit farms to see the numerous benefits of compost, mulch and other recycled organic products.
? Circular Economy – Meet our Processing Members, learn about their products, visit a facility. Hear how organic waste streams are processed to make standardised quality products in high demand and meeting specific needs in agriculture.
? Innovation – We’ll explore the challenges faced by local growers such as safe and efficient compost application on sloping blocks and the role our products can play in managing erosion control and sediment run-off.
AORA are keen to attract primary producers to this event and have a limited number of pre-paid tickets available to primary producers through sponsorship by the NSW EPA/NSW DPI. To register interest in one of these tickets please contact Uma Preston of AORA via the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your business name, agricultural sector and phone number.
Click Program Compost Benefits for Soils 12th October 2018 for the full program.
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An extra General Meeting was held on 4 July 2018 to seek members approval to pass a new constitution under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009.
10 members attended the meeting which was held in the Offices of CHRL.
The new constitution was unanimously passed by special resolution and will now be lodged with the Office of Fair Trading (NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation) for registration.
The Constitution was last reviewed and updated in 2012 in response to revisions made to the Associations Incorporation Act 2009.
Since that time a new Regulation (Associations Incorporation Regulation 2016) has been introduced. The 2016 Regulation prescribes a new model constitution with this taking precedent over any matters an Associations constitution may be silent on.
The Executive Committee agreed at the end of 2017 that a review of the constitution was required in light of the new model constitution and regulation, and also to resolve any areas of ambiguity.
A subcommittee of the Executive comprising the President, Vice President Treasurer, and Secretary were formed in 2017 to work on reviewing the constitution and reporting back to the executive.
A review of the 2012 CHRL constitution against the new model constitution showed a number of significant gaps. While the 2012 CHRL constitution covered many of the same requirements, there were parts of the constitution where it no longer aligned with the requirements of the Act or the new Regulation.
As a result of the initial review, the Subcommittee used the model constitution as the foundation of the redraft, and then customised it to capture the objectives and operations of Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare.
The revised constitution is now compliant with the Act and Regulations. While the new Constitution is fundamentally the same as the 2012 Constitution, it is clearer and provides a number of new elements that will help the Association. key changes include:
- Allowing the association to use modern technology (ie: reference to paying bills by cheque is removed; and emails; on-line registers; tele/video conferencing are permitted)
- Aligning the nomination process at AGMs with the model constitution and removing previous ambiguity
- Formalising the operation of sub-committees in accordance with model constitution
- Reducing the Executive from 8 to 7 members, while noting that members can be co-opted to help the Executive through sub-committees.
- Affiliated groups (formally group members) now do not have to supply a list of their members when they apply but do need to show that the purpose of their incorporated entity is aligned with CHRL.
- Affiliated Groups (being an incorporated entity) are clarified to have one vote, removing the conflicting clauses in the previous constitution.
- Addition of new Part that formalises the nomination and approval of sites as CHRL Landcare sites – this formalises the current practice and ensures that the Association has visibility over sites where members carry out Landcare activities. This is necessary to improve governance.
- Dispute resolution clause—revised so that it now applies to staff as well as members, and references the CHRL Grievance Policy
- General meeting quorum—now requires any 7 members, not 7 members from 7 separate sites. This is because there are members now who are not affiliated with a site, or who work across several sites, and also reflects ongoing changes to types of activities Landcare conducts (ie: blitzes, short-term projects) rather than being associated with only one location.
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This training day was hosted by Red Rock Landcare Group who generously shared their knowledge and experience. The hand-out with the assessment tool and monitoring protocol can be found here: Site Assessment & Monitoring
The meeting of the 14th March 2018 was attended by six members of the Executive and chaired by the President, Barry Powells.
This month the Executive approved seventeen (17) applications for membership of Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare. Most of these new members will be joining Sandy Beach Dunecare, or the newly formed Fuller Street Dunecare.
The President reported on a number of interesting events he had attended in the last month on behalf of CHRL. Of note was a very well attended forum at the Marine Science Centre featuring PhD candidate Shane White which provided a forum to hear about and discuss the impact of intensive plant agriculture on water quality, which he said had been extremely informative. The President also informed the Executive that he would be meeting with the newly formed NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust.
Blueberry engagement project
CHRL Landcare Coordinator reported on progress on the Blueberry Engagement Project, and the 4th Annual Blueberry Field Day ‘Getting the best out of your soil” to be held on Thursday 15th March 2016.
The Executive approved a new Risk Management Policy for CHRL and will be looking at implementation of the policy over the coming months.
Site and project news
The Executive were advised that:
- A site plan for the Corindi Beach Landcare site has been finalised
- Crown Lands has granted a short-term licence to cover work at the ‘The Jungle’ at Coramba
- Work has started on the Jaliigirr Terrestrial Ecosystems project
- funding applications have been submitted through the Environmental Trust for revegetation of old banana lands, targeting six sites over three years.
Environmental levy policy
The Executive discussed Coffs Harbour City Council’s new Environmental Levy Policy currently out for public comment, and the potential impact on Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare’s funding. The Executive resolved to meet with representatives from Council to discuss the policy and understand better any impacts on funding.
The Executive reviewed an update from Landcare NSW regarding future funding for Landcare support (i.e. local coordinators and state-wide services). Landcare NSW is seeking to ensure that the 2018 NSW State Budget provides adequate funding to maintain the current level of support. The Executive resolved to discuss this matter with the local member.
The Executive reviewed the February finance report, and the Quarterly Budget review confirming that the organisations current commitments can be met.
President and Chair
Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare Incorporated
The meeting of the 14 February 2018 was attended by seven members of the Executive and was chaired by the President, Barry Powells.
New members and sites
The Executive approved four new membership applications and an application to establish the Fuller Street Dunecare site.
Nursery sub-committee established
The CHRL currently operates a nursery at Woolgoolga, located in the grounds of the Woolgoolga High School, and employs a part-time coordinator to manage the nursery. The nursery also has a team of volunteers that help with the planting and care of the plants. A number of operational and strategic issues with the nursery were raised with the Executive including how to match propagation with long term site planning, ongoing funding for the nursery, species selection, distribution of seedlings to Landcare sites and managing planting out with site owners. The Executive has formed a sub-committee to investigate these matters and report back to the Executive later in the year.
The meeting heard from the Constitution Sub-committee and HR Sub-committee.
The Constitution Sub-committee reported delays to finishing the new draft of the constitution and proposed that it be considered by the Executive at the March 2018 meeting. This was agreed by the Executive.
The HR Sub-committee presented an update of a revision to a position description to better reflect changes in staff workload.
Myna bird trapping program
The Executive discussed ways to extend the Myna bird trapping program. It was reported that currently there are 10 active traps in operation, with remaining funding for the program due to be spent by June 2018. Continuation of the program over the last few years has resulted in the Myna bird population in the region being kept in check. The program is currently limited by the number of volunteer coordinators to distribute and manage the traps. The Executive discussed ways to recruit new volunteer coordinators, particularly around Emerald Beach and Corindi. Approaching these communities for volunteer coordinators through local community Facebook pages will be trialled by the Executive over the next month.
“Return and Earn Scheme” Audit
The Executive endorsed CHRL staff being involved in auditing the NSW State Government’s Return and Earn Scheme in the Coffs Harbour Region. This is being coordinated by Landcare Australia, with funding being provided to CHRL for undertaking the work.
Workshops, field days and training
The Executive received reports of two up-coming members’ workshops/field days, including a wind-fencing workshop at Sandy Beach, and a Field day focusing on soils at Woolgoolga in March. The Executive felt that the wind-fencing workshop should be filmed as a resource, with the Chair agreeing to investigate this further.
The Executive also approved a governance workshop for the Executive to ensure that members of the Executive are fully aware of their legal roles and responsibilities.
CHRL twenty-year anniversary
The Executive was reminded that 2018 marked the 20th Anniversary of the formation of the Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare. The Executive agreed to hold an event in May 2018 to mark the occasion, and tasked the Vice President with overseeing the planning for this event.
The Executive reviewed the January finance report, confirming that the organisations current commitments can be met.
President and Chair Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare Incorporated
Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare held its first General Meeting of the year on Wednesday evening at the Coffs Harbour Community Village.
The meeting was well attended, with over 20 members turning out to hear the guest speaker and share ideas for the coming year. The aim of CHRL will be to grow these meetings and make them interesting to members.
The highlight of the evening was a presentation by one of our new members, Maddy Black from the Corindi Landcare Group. Maddy is currently undertaking a PhD looking at identifying barriers to farmers undertaking conservation programs on their farms. The barriers ranged from costs, to education. While Maddy’s research was undertaken in the New England region, the results have applicability across Australia and provided the Executive and members with a lot of insights and ideas to apply in their work.
Members reported on their Landcare sites and plans for the coming 12 months. One of the focus points for discussion at this meeting was around membership and how we keep volunteers engaged, and specifically how we can interest young people in our work. Lots of good ideas came out of the discussion that the Executive will work with to ensure that CHRL remains vibrant and relevant now and in the future.
The meeting heard from CHRL staff about a number of new projects. In particular Mel Craig provided an interesting presentation on Blueberries and bioreactors. She is working on a project that aims to reduce the amount of nutrient rich runoff entering our local waterways. The project is trialling a bioreactor which is a trench dug between the bottom of the blueberry rows and the riparian zone. It is then filled with wood chips. Nutrient rich run off runs into the trench where bacteria breaks down the nutrients into harmless gas. This technique has been already trialled on pineapple farms in Queensland. In tandem with other nutrient run-off mitigation measures this may be an appropriate technology to improve water quality below blueberry farms. This project is being supported by North Coast Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme. It is due to be completed by May 2018 and CHRL is now looking at ways to involve a university in longer-term monitoring of the results.
Jude Turner provided an update on finances and reminded members to pick up their new first-aid kits from the office.
The meeting also heard that the Executive is concerned about future funding for CHRL given recent changes in the funding arrangements and focus under National Landcare Program 2 as well as changes to the administration of the Coffs Harbour City Council’s Environmental Levy. The Executive is watching this closely and working with Northern Region Landcare to ensure that CHRL continues to be able to deliver projects across the region.
The next General Meeting will be held on Wednesday 2 May 2018. All members are invited to attend.
President and Chair Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare Incorporated