CHRL Executive Communique March 2018

The meeting of the 14th March 2018 was attended by six members of the Executive and chaired by the President, Barry Powells.

New members

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.

Presidents report

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.

Policies

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.

Sustaining Landcare

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.

Finance

The Executive reviewed the February finance report, and the Quarterly Budget review confirming that the organisations current commitments can be met.

Barry Powells
President and Chair
Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare Incorporated

Targeted Landcare 2017/18

The Targeted Landcare Grants 2017/18 is in its final year, supported by North Coast Local Land Services (NCLLS) through funding from the National Landcare Programme. The program enables the Landcare Networks to provide some incentive funds for restoration works  on private or public lands. Projects selected for Targeted Landcare funding need 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. There is an obligation for the land owner to match the project funds in cash or in kind and ensure that works are maintained for 5 years, eg control weeds around revegetation.

This year, there are six projects in the Coffs Harbour region, five on private land and one on Crown Land:
–  At what is known as “The Jungle” a remnant rainforest on the Orara River at Coramba,  weed control will be undertaken  to promote natural regeneration.
–  At Mt Browne Road, weed control for forest regeneration continues from last year.
–  At Bonville, weed work on the bank of Bonville Creek is consolidated after three years of work and tree planting.
–  Also at Bonville and upstream along the same creek 120 trees will be planted.
–  On Bruxner Park Road and at Korora Basin, old banana plantations are revegetated with native trees for biodiversity values and Koala habitat.

CHRL Executive Communique February 2018

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.

Sub-committee reports

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.

Finance

The Executive reviewed the January finance report, confirming that the organisations current commitments can be met.

Barry Powells

President and Chair Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare Incorporated

CHRL Executive Communique General Meeting Feb 2017

General Meeting

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.

 

Barry Powells

President and Chair Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare Incorporated

CHRL Executive Communique December 2017

The meeting of the 13 December 2017 was attended by all members of the Executive and was chaired by the President, Barry Powells.

New Members

The Executive received and approved four new membership applications.

Events for 2018

Outreach activities are one of the major ways that Landcare volunteers can demonstrate their activities and purpose to the local community. At the meeting the Executive identified at least 8 community events to attend as a stallholder/participant over the coming 12 months. The focus of each display will depend on the location, and the theme of the event. Local members will be invited to volunteer and assist with these events. (Details of upcoming events will be published in the CHRL Newsletter)

Constitution

The constitution review is continuing and it is anticipated that a revised draft will be ready for consideration by the Executive in February, prior to being put to a vote at the General Meeting in May 2018.

Policies

As part of good governance practice, CHRL operates under a range of policies that are reviewed and updated from time to time. At this meeting the Vice President presented a draft financial management policy, based on a template policy from Landcare Australia. The Executive resolved to adopt the policy and will be reviewing other policies in the new year, including its risk management policy.

First-Aid Kits

CHRL provides first-aid kits to site coordinators for all volunteer work sites. It is an ongoing necessity to make sure that all first-aid kits are kept up-to-date, well stocked and in good condition. After consideration of several options, the Executive resolved to replace all first-aid kits every two-years, and in between times continue to restock items at the request of site coordinators. This will help to ensure all sites have adequate first-aid supplies. The new kits will be rolled out to all sites in February 2018. Site coordinators should return their old kits and pick up their new one when requested by the office.

Funding

The Executive noted that it is still waiting the outcome of a number of funding applications.

Staffing

CHRL employs three part-time staff to manage and administer the projects and work of the organisation. At the December meeting the Executive resolved to pay staff a 2.5% salary increase to align with a recent 2.5% salary increase under the Local Land Services Award 2013. The Executive has also tasked a sub-committee with reviewing other matters relating to conditions of employment.

Finance

The Executive reviewed the November finance report, and a quarterly budget review report, confirming that the organisations current program of works is fully funded.

Barry Powells President and Chair Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare Incorporated

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: