Victorian biodiversity plan released

VicBiodiversityPlan

The Victorian Government has recently released its 20-year biodiversity plan `Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037’. This plan aims to stop the decline of our native plants and animals, and improve our natural environment so it is healthy, valued and actively cared for.

The plan establishes a long-term vision and goals, including that by 2037:

  • All Victorians are connecting with nature;
  • Five million Victorians are acting to protect the natural environment;
  • All Victorian Government organisations that manage environmental assets contribute to environmental-economic accounting;
  • No vulnerable or near-threatened species will have become endangered;
  • All critically endangered and endangered species will have at least one option available for being conserved ex situ or re-established in the wild (where feasible under climate change) should they need it; and
  • We have achieved a net gain of the overall extent and condition of habitats across terrestrial, waterway and marine environments.

An implementation plan to accompany Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037 is in development and due for release later this year.

Link to the plan: https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/biodiversity/biodiversity-plan

Roadside Woody Weed Control

Cameron Rise Cootamundra1

Council is currently undertaking roadside woody weed control along environmentally significant roadsides this month. Target roads are:

  • Cameron Rise, Beveridge
  • Holts Rd, Whittlesea
  • Bruces Creek Rd, Whittlesea
  • Wildwood Rd, Whittlesea
  • Glenburnie Rd, Whittlesea
  • Humevale Rd, Humevale
  • Gingles Rd, Humevale
  • Scrubby Creek Rd, Humevale
  • Jacks Creek Rd, Humevale
  • Coombs Rd, Kinglake West

Target weeds include Pine (small trees), Sweet Pittosporum, Non-indigenous Wattles (see image above of Cootamundra Wattle on Cameron Rise), Cotoneaster, Hawthorn, Broom, Prunus.

If you know of any additional roadsides that have woody weed issues, feel free to contact Mark Williams on 9217-2471 or mark.williams@whittlesea.vic.gov.au.

Upcoming Event: FUNGI FORAY

You are invited to join Geoff Lay from the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria for a guided walk and talk on the fascinating world of fungi.

Fungi are one of the most diverse biological groups on earth. They are critical for the growth of most Australian plants by forming relationships with plants and making nutrients more readily available to the plants. They also play a crucial ecosystem role in breaking down organic matter and returning nutrients to the soil.

We’ll learn about the vast range of fungi that exists in Whittlesea, from the large and easy to observe, to the tiny and delicate, and maybe ones you’ve never noticed before.

This will be an outdoor event so dress appropriately. Light morning tea will be provided.

Date:  Sunday 7 May 2017

Time:  9:30am – 12pm

LocationWhittlesea Community Activity Centre (57 Laurel St, Whittlesea)

RSVP  Fungi Foray – Eventbrite

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

An event flyer is available here

Life In a Box

RonLit

Sunday 26th March 2017 starting at 4pm

Strath Creek Hall, Pioneer Reserve, Strath Creek

Strath Creek Landcare’s Ron Litjens is well known in the Flowerdale/Strath Creek/Yea area for his entertaining, quirky, but informative presentations on a range of nature topics, including Powerful Owls, Rakali and, his pet subject, insects. Alias ronlit, he is a regular contributor to the Focus on Fauna blog which has a large following.

So, with limited detail divulged, but an assurance that you won’t be disappointed, come along and prepare to be surprised, delighted and educated by a passionate speaker.

Light refreshments provided afterwards.

$2 donation appreciated.

If you plan to come please contact Laurie on 5780 1225 or email: focusonfauna@gmail.com

Whittlesea’s Australasian Bat Night

The City of Whittlesea invites you to their 2017 Bat Night. Bat expert Robert Bender will present on the fascinating world of bats, guiding the group on a short walk amongst the surrounding River Red Gums and using bat detectors to try to locate some!

A door prize of a bat box will be available to take home for one lucky person. All children will be given bat masks and a bat colouring page to take home.

On the night, please wear appropriate clothing for the weather and bring a torch for the short walk. Book in advance to secure your place and for catering purposes (light supper provided).

Date:                Friday 21 April 2017

Time:                7 pm – 9 pm

Location:         Tuttle Recreation Reserve, 525 Epping Road, Wollert (next to Wollert CFA)

RSVP:                Whittlesea Bat Night—Eventbrite

For further information contact Council’s Biodiversity Planner, on 9217 2025 or email ruth.marr@whittlesea.vic.gov.au

Photo taken by John Harris of Wildlife Experiences

Meet Local Farming Businesses

Open Farm Day is your chance to visit, meet and support local and regional farming businesses.

This year Open Farm Day is bigger than ever with farms from Nillumbik, Whittlesea and the Kinglake Ranges opening their gates to showcase farming on the fringe.

A diverse mix of farms is found in the area including fruit and veggie farms, livestock and animal farms, orchards and vineyards. Choose the farms you want to visit to make your own Open Farm Day trail and experience farm tours, demonstrations, farm animals, product tastings and more.

Date:  Sunday 2 April Time:  10am-4pm Venues: Details to come, call Annemaree Docking on 0407 564 318.

SERRATED TUSSOCK TRAVELLING IN FODDER ACROSS THE STATE

The Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party (VSTWP) is advising landowners to ensure fodder and hay purchased this summer and autumn is free of noxious weeds and in particular, Serrated Tussock (Nassella trichotoma).

THE VSTWP advises landowners to:

  • purchase stockfeed from reputable outlets and from areas outside of the serrated tussock core infestations around the fringes of northern and western Melbourne
  • feed out hay in designated feed-out areas, where any weed seed germination can be easily monitored
  • undertake machinery / vehicle hygiene practises

See below link to the Media Release from the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party (VSTWP).

VSTWP Media Release March 2017

Wedge-Tailed Eagle

Audrey from Eden Park has shared these pictures of Wedge-Tailed Eagles she observed recently. Audrey says she has observed adult and juvenile birds in the same location on previous years eating rabbits. Great observation.

The Wedge-Tailed Eagle is Australia’s largest and most common bird of prey with a wingspan up to 2.3m. Rabbits usually comprise 30%-70% of their diet but they will also prey on other birds, reptiles and dead animals.

For more information have a look at the birds in backyards website http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Aquila-audax

Please get in touch if you have a photo, story or information to share on this blog.

Rabbit Virus Release: What you should know

This week, the release of the new RHDV1 K5 virus will be rolled out at 700 sites across the country. You can find all you need to know about the history, release and monitoring of the virus here, but these are some key summary points:

  • The release of this virus has been a decade in the making and studies have shown no off-target impacts to other fauna species.
  • Both European Rabbits and European Brown Hares are susceptible.
  • The virus is delivered by baiting with individuals displaying flu-like symptoms (temperature and lethargy) within 2-3 days of consumption. Death occurs quickly, between 6 and 12 hours after symptoms are first displayed.
  • While domestic and farmed rabbits are susceptible to this strain, a vaccine is available and owners should make contact with their local vet for more information.
  • Previous studies have shown that a reduction in rabbit numbers can result in a simultaneous reduction in fox and feral cat numbers. Good news for our local native wildlife!

Introducing The Whittlesea Blackberry Action Group

Did you know that we now have our very own local Blackberry Action Group? With the support of the Victorian Blackberry Taskforce, this group will help our community achieve similar successes in Blackberry control to those being had by multiple community Blackberry Action Groups across the state.

Our new Blackberry Action Group will soon be busy putting together an action plan for the target areas in Humevale, Kinglake West and around Toorourrong Reservoir. The project facilitator will then engage property owners in those target areas, working to enlist as many volunteers as possible for the program. At the same time, Council will continue to support Blackberry control on private land through the pest plant education and compliance program. The formation of a Blackberry Action Group has also importantly created opportunities for greater advocacy for Blackberry control on public landholdings in those areas.

If you’d like further information or are interested in joining this exciting new community group, contact Councils Environment Protection Officer on 9217-2147.