CHRL Executive Communique November 2017

The meeting of the 8 November 2017 was attended by all members of the Executive and Landcare staff, and was chaired by the President, Barry Powells.

New Members and Sites

The Executive approved ten new membership applications and 1 new Landcare site. The new Landcare site is at Corindi Beach, and has a very keen group of volunteers ready to get started.

Blueberry Program

Landcare Coordinator, Mel Craig, gave a report to the Executive on the recent NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference. At the conference Ms Craig gave a very well received presentation on “Engaging with Local Blueberry Farmers for Increased Sustainability”. The Executive considers engagement with the blueberry farmers as one of the most significant project areas it is currently undertaking. Funding opportunities to continue this work were discussed, and the lack of funding this year from Coffs Harbour Councils Environmental Levy program was also discussed.

Constitution

The Executive has tasked a subcommittee with reviewing and refreshing the CHRL’s constitution to ensure that the constitution reflects current legislative requirements. The review will make a number of recommendations to the Executive, with any revisions being taken to a General Meeting in the New Year for approval.

Meeting dates for 2018

Dates for the AGM, General Meetings, and Executive Meetings for 2018 were confirmed and will be published on the website, with an event calendar for 2018 still to be finalised.

National Landcare Program 2

The Executive continued to discuss the changes under the new NLP2 program the focus of which is sustainable agriculture. It will take some time before the implications and impacts on CHRL are fully understood.

Funding

The Executive considered potential projects to submit for funding under the latest round of National Landcare Smart Farming Program; and Environment Trust Restoration and Regeneration.

 

Barry Powells President and Chair Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare Incorporated

Erosion control, irrigation and fertiliser management and blueberry production: Grower interviews report by Dr Geoff Kaine

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Geoff Kaine undertook interviews with 25 local Bluebery Growers and Industry experts in March 2017. The questions related to soil erosion and irrigation issues as well as hydroponic production. Geoff’s report identified which types of industry further training growers would be interested in and how growers intend to change their production system in the future. This project was funded by the National Landcare Program and facilitated by Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare. Click here to read the full report.  Blueberry grower report final

Native plant species suitable for planting on Blueberry farms

Native plants suitable for Blueberry Farms

This plant species list was a handout given out at the ‘Considerations for new blueberry farm set up’ field day held on the  2nd June 2017 at the Bennings Farm, Bucca. It provides a list of native plant species that are suitable for planting in riparian areas on farms or as buffers along farm edges.

Targeted Landcare 2016/2017

The Targeted Landcare Grants 2016/17 is supported by North Coast Local Land Services (NCLLS) through funding from the National Landcare Programme. The objective of Targeted Landcare is to enable the Landcare Networks to provide some incentive funds for restoration works on both private or public lands. Projects selected for Targeted Landcare funding are required to increase the extent of natural habitat – this can be done through planting, weed control or the promotion of natural regeneration by fencing off areas of remnant bush. Projects that increase the habitat of EPBC Act listed Threatened Ecological Communities (EEC) or protect threatened species are preferred by NCLLS. There is an obligation by the land owner to match the project funds and ensure that works are maintained for 5 years eg control weeds around revegetation. Project funds can be matched by the land holder through in-kind contributions of their work time such as hours spent planting or carrying out weed control.

There are currently 7 projects being funded in 2016/2017 in the Coffs Harbour area – 3 are on private land and 4 are on local Landcare sites:

Arrawarra – revegetation of coastal strip impacted on by east coast lows to protect Headland Brush Box Littoral Rainforest an (EEC).

Tree Fern Creek – weed control and revegetation along one of the significant creeks in Coffs Harbour.

Macauleys Headland – lantana control in a small gully to protect remnant littoral rainforest (EEC).

Sawtell – weed control and planting to protect remnant littoral rainforest (EEC).

Camphor laurel control along Bonville Creek – 2015/16 Targeted Landcare Round

Bonville property – camphor and other weed control and planting along Bonville Creek.

Mt Browne property – vegetation management plant and initial weed control.

Upper Coffs Creek property – fencing of creek to exclude stock, removal of camphors and revegetation.

 

This program is supported by:

ET – Environmental Education Grants 2017

The Environmental Education grants program is now open for Expressions of Interest. The closing date is 3pm Monday 10th April 2017.
The aim of the Environmental Education Grants Program is to support educational projects or programs that develop or widen the community’s knowledge of skills in, and commitment to, protecting the environment and promoting sustainable behaviour.
The Environmental Education application process has two stages: expression of interest, and then application by invitation only.
Click here to link to the Trust page for guidelines and application form.

Blueberry Industry Engagement Projects 2016/2017

Irrigation workshop on a local blueberry farm

Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare has been working with local blueberry farmers on small projects since 2010. This year, there are three different funding sources contributing to the program. These are as follows:

  • Ecological Sustainable Development- Blueberry Engagement Project

Value $ 30,000

Supported by North Coast Local Land Services, through funding from the National Landcare Program.

  • Incentives and training for environmental sustainability in horticulture

Value $25,000

Funded by Coffs Harbour City Council Environmental Levy

  • Local Blueberry Industry Market Segmentation Research to improve the targeting of Behaviour Change tools for Best Practice

Value $ 48,000

Funded by National Landcare Program – Sustainable Agriculture Small Grants

Simon Proust (right) consulting with blueberry grower

With the first two projects Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare is working together with Soil Conservation Consultant Simon Proust and local blueberry growers to develop and implement soil and water management plans for local blueberry farms as well as projects for the recycling of greenhouse irrigation water.

 

 

The third project, which is a research project, is led by Geoff Kane. Through interviews with key industry people and growers, he will group grower’s needs and requirements for training in such a way that future extension programs will:

  1.  better reach their targets and
  2.  address those issues that growers are concerned about in such a way that growers find it easier to participate.

This project is a partnership with the NSW Department of Primary Industry.

Project supporters and funding bodies:

Working on Country Together – Project Case Study

Project Period: January 2016 – May 2016

Funding body: North Coast Local Land Services

The issue

Our Local Aboriginal Land Council owns a number of bushland properties and the ‘Repair to Country’ team is the only mechanism by which they can manage those lands. Most of these lands have not been looked after for a very long time and the Land Council doesn’t have the funding or expertise to develop management plans or implement identified management actions.

The solution

We supported the development of management plans through a project with the Northern Rivers CMA and then gained funding from North Coast LLS to implement the management actions within the budget of the program. The team identified two properties owned by the Land Council at Mylestom in the Bellingen Shire as their preferred sites under this Program and a workplan was developed for these as well as a public reserve at Mylestom where the newly formed  Landcare Group  required some professional  support.

‘Repair to Country’ Team

The team carried out bush regeneration over 15 ha of coastal bushland including three Endangered Ecological Communities (Littoral Rainforest, Lowland Subtropical Rainforest and Swamp Sclerophyll Forest). They used canoes to access Tuckers Island in the Bellinger River with their tools and equipment and they established excellent relationships with the local landcarers.

The team now has boundary markers in place for the first time which show the four corners of their land which is adjacent to Bongil Bongil National Park at Mylestom. A training exercise in fox and dog control with NPWS pest manager Brad Nesbitt also encouraged them to closely engage with their land.

Interpretative sign

An interpretive sign about local aboriginal history was developed in consultation with local aboriginal people and the sign was installed at the public reserve at Mylestom. Local stories were told during a gathering at the reserve.

The impact

The greatest achievement in this project was the cross-fertilisation between local government areas, black and white communities, land tenures and Landcare networks.

This is just the beginning of hands-on ‘Engagement with Country’ for many local aboriginal people and the team of young bush regenerators is a small group. Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare is well placed to continue that engagement in the future as we have built good relationships over the past years.

Key facts

  • 1 cultural event, 25 attendants
  • 15 ha bush regeneration
  • 3 EEC’s
  • 1 media release
  • 120 trees planted
  • 4 aboriginal people emplo

Project Partners

Coffs Harbour District Local Land Council

Indian Myna Control Program

Indian Myna

 

Indian myna nesting in tree hollow

Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare is on the hunt for a very aggressive invader who is having a detrimental impact on some of our treasured locals. The Indian myna is a pest bird that was originally introduced to Australia from – you guessed it – India to control insects in crops. However Indian myna’s are able to adapt to a range of conditions and food sources and have become a huge problem across much of Australia including here on the Mid North Coast. They are posing a threat to our native birds and animals through their competition for nesting hollows in trees and their aggressive territorial behaviour. They displace native animals from their nests in tree hollows and can kill the chicks and eggs of native birds such as our beautiful Rosellas. They also leave an unsightly mess in areas where they roost such as under trees and in stables.

Eastern rosella – the trapping program is to protect these beautiful birds

Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare’s Indian Myna trapping program is aimed at reducing the population of these pesky birds in Coffs Harbour and to prevent them from spreading into other areas. Funding for the program is supported by from North Coast Local Land Services, through funding from the National Landcare Program and also from Coffs Harbour City Council.

Our Indian myna trapping program is supported by some very dedicated volunteer coordinators who take traps out to resident’s properties, show them how to set them up and provide tips on how to successfully capture mynas. They then return to pick up the traps and dispose of the birds humanely. In the last 6 months over 700 myna’s have been captured!

Coffs Harbour Landcare would like your help in stopping this invasion in your own backyard.

How you can help…….

  • If you have mynas frequenting your yard please contact Coffs Regional Landcare on 66511308 to take part in our trapping program.
  • Do not put out food for other birds if you see Mynas in your garden
  • Put pet food inside during the day
  • Block holes in roofs and eaves to prevent them nesting
  • Keep palms well trimmed as they also nest in dead fronds still on the tree.
  • Plant a wide range of local native plant species in your yard to attract a variety of birdlife without providing suitable habitat for Mynas
  • Let us know if you already have a trap – a couple of hundred have been distributed around the Coffs area in the last few years but we only know the whereabouts of a handful.

A cage full of trapped Indian myna birds

This program is supported by: