Complete a Gorse Survey and WIN

GorseControlled

The Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT) uses government investment to establish and support community-led projects, which aim to eradicate gorse where possible across Victoria.

The purpose of this project is to gain an understanding of the types of support that communities need from VGT to manage gorse in their local areas. RM Consulting Group have been engaged by VGT to run the survey, which seeks information about work done on your property to control gorse

The results from this survey will help us identify opportunities where we can provide better support to you or your networks.

The survey should not take any more than 5 to 10 minutes to complete and you can go in the draw to win 1 of 3 Woolworths vouchers. The survey can be accessed via this link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VGTsurvey

Thank you for participating.

 

You’re Invited: Presentation on the Ecology of the Southern Toadlet

Nillumbik Landcare Network invites you to attend a presentation on the Southern Toadlet presented by frog expert Craig Cleeland where you will learn about the ecology and habitat requirements of this rare species. This will be followed by an engaging workshop presented by James Frazer of Melbourne Water where you will learn some great tips and tricks for monitoring frogs using the Frog Census app.

Date: Saturday 24th February 2018

Time: Arrive 5:30pm for a cuppa and a bite to eat. Presentations start at 6pm, followed by a visit to Hurstbridge wetland about 7pm.

Venue: Hurstbridge Community Hub (50 Graysharps Rd, Hurstbridge)

Cost: Free

Food: A light supper will be provided

Please RSVP: colin.broughton@nillumbik.vic.gov.au or phone 9433 3372 by Tuesday 20th Feb

 

All welcome!

See flyer HERE for full details.

UPDATE: Pest Plant Education & Compliance Program

Council’s annual Blackberry Education and Compliance program is now in full swing. Earlier this summer, properties were sent a courtesy letter advising the commencement of the program and the requirement to control this noxious weed. For most land managers, this notice simply serves as a timely reminder to monitor and follow-up areas previously treated. Notices to comply will shortly be sent out to those properties yet to commence control.

This year, many land managers have chosen to sign-up to a voluntary 3-year property management plan offered by our local Whittlesea & Surrounds Blackberry Action Group (W&SBAG) and their project officer on the ground, Chris. You’ll be seeing the farmgate signs going up all over the place no doubt (see photos below). If you haven’t signed up yet and you’re within the target areas of Kinglake West, Humevale and Whittlesea, you can contact Chris by email to schedule a site visit: ugln.projects@ugln.net

 

 

The annual Gorse program finished up recently and was a huge success. Only 35 properties were sent advisory notices, down from 66 properties in 2016. Of these, just 13 were issued notices to comply. The figures show that more and more property owners are recognising the benefits of integrated Gorse control, particularly from both a farm productivity and asset protection perspective. The image below shows very effective Gorse control on Commercial land in Wollert. While this land owner still has a way to go, it’s an impressive start and shows that the program seeks to engage commercial operators (as well as public land managers) to support the work private landowners are undertaking.

For further information, contact Councils Environment Protection Officer on 9217-2147.

Gorse Control

 

 

 

Mistletoe – Good or Bad?

 

Blog Post by Suzi Duncan

Many people think that Mistletoes are a pest killing the host tree and that they therefore should be removed.

Scarlet Honeyeater
Male Scarlet Honeyeater. (Notice the size of the little bird compared to the size of the flowers.)
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Yellow-faced Honeyeater about to land on a flower

 

However, in a healthy bush environment Mistletoes are not a problem, due to the number of host trees available. On cleared land where there are few trees Mistletoe may cause a problem to the health of the plant due to heavy infestation on individual trees, or when trees are in a weakened state due to drought or disease.

Mistletoes are not a true parasite but rather a semi or hemi parasite. They do have chlorophyll in their leaves and can therefore manufacture their own food. The only reason they need a host is to provide water and support; they use the host as a root system.

The fruit of Mistletoes are generally brightly coloured and the flesh sweet. Birds enjoy the fruit but have to wipe the sticky coated seed off either their beaks or bottoms onto a branch where it rapidly germinates.

Some of the favourite host trees include Eucalypts, Banksias, Acacias, Allocasuarina and Melaleucas.

Despite what many people think about Mistletoes, they are actually very important for our wildlife biodiversity. Their flowers, fruit, nectar and leaves are all highly nutritious and a wide range of wildlife depend on the Mistletoe; koalas, sugar gliders, possums, birds and insects. The dense foliage also provides excellent roosting and nesting opportunities for birds, Ringtail possums and Sugar gliders.

Honeyeaters love the nectar of the Mistletoe.

The Mistletoe bird

The Mistletoebird is native to Australia and our only flowerpecker. Although not solely dependent on Mistletoe, the Mistletoe bird’s diet is heavily concentrated on its fruits. It has evolved so that it does not have the grinding gizzard of many other birds and so the seed can pass through without being destroyed.

MistoeBird
Male Mistletoe bird with the flesh of the fruit. The first fruit the Mistletoe bird ate it squeezed the fruit until the skin split so the flesh could be removed. The second fruit the little bird actually peeled bits of skin off, spitting them out, until the flesh was exposed.

 

I am certain that many people will not be convinced, however, partly due to the number of Mistletoe plants I have on the property, I have a wide diversity of wildlife and three new honeyeaters just this year. That makes 11 honeyeaters in total plus the Mistletoe bird. I also have trees that are many 100’s of years old that are heavily infested with Mistletoe and yet are exceptionally healthy.

Owl deaths linked to household rat poisons

Chemicals used to control pests and diseases in plants and animals can have a variety of unintended non-target impacts on desirable species and the environment. One recent study has highlighted the devastating impacts that rodenticides are having on our native owls. This study has indicated that household rat poison is implicated in the demise of the Common Boobook Owl (Ninox novaeseelandiae) through consumption of poisoned rats and mice. The poison accumulates within the owls and only small amounts are required to lead to lowered survivorship and death.

Owls are natural predators of rats and mice and provide a natural service for controlling pest rodents. If other control measures are still required the old fashioned methods of trapping (and disposal), sealing all holes in the walls / roof and reducing the amount of food waste available to rodents is an effective way to minimise their numbers.

Photo Courtesy M. Traynor

Read the full ABC article HERE

Final Call for Applications- Environmental Works Grant Program

Council’s Environmental Works Grant Program will close for applications at 5pm this Thursday 30th November.

Properties must be at least 2ha in size and zoned for rural land use (GWZ, GWAZ, RCZ)

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Funding is available for up to:

  • 330 indigenous plants for revegetation, or
  • $1500 for fencing of remnant vegetation including paddock trees, and around farm dams to exclude livestock, or
  • $1000 for a combination of revegetation, fencing of revegetation and nestboxes, or
  • $500 for environmental weed control within good quality remnant vegetation

Contact Mark Williams, Council’s Sustainable Land Management Officer, on 9217 2471 or mark.williams@whittlesea.vic.gov.au for further information.

Click here to view the Environmental Works Grant Program on this site and the link to apply online.

 

Your Invited: Beef & Sheep Networks Phone Seminar

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BetterBeef and BestWool/BestLamb

You’re invited to an evening Phone Seminar on Changes to the Livestock Production Assurance program (LPA) – keeping it simple

Listen to the experts and ask questions from the comfort of your home

 What the phone seminar is about:

  • What is the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program?
  • what the current requirements are
  • why the changes were introduced, and
  • what you need to know when your LPA accreditation is up for renewal.

Speakers will present in a simple and practical manner the background to the program and some examples of what some farmers are doing to address biosecurity risks for their farms. Join us, from the comfort of your home or wherever you are, to hear from and question  industry experts and farmers so that you are well prepared.

Speakers:

  • Integrity Systems, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)
  • Catherine James, Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF)
  • Tim Leeming, Victorian producer
  • Alison Gunn – Victorian producer and vet

When: Tuesday, 28th November

Where: On your phone Time: 8.00pm-9.00pm AEDT Cost: Free (call costs may apply)

Registration is free.  To participate you will need to register to receive the phone-in details and any notes.  Register online at: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/phone-seminar-on-changes-to-the-livestock-production-assurance-lpa-program-tickets-39820823154

Registrations close Sunday 26 November   If you are unable to register online or have further questions please call Jane Court, Agriculture Victoria, on: (03) 54304597 or 0427 200451