Rural living in the
Your local guide to natural resource management
Rural living in the Cradle Coast – Your local guide to natural resource management This booklet has been compiled by Cradle Coast Natural Resource Management (NRM) to support the sustainable management of rural properties and the wider environment of the Cradle Coast region. To develop and maintain a healthy region, the environment, society and economy must all be in good condition and work together. Healthy regions rely on each of us managing and using our natural resources wisely. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this booklet is up to date. If you find that this is not the case, we’d appreciate you letting us know. Call Cradle Coast NRM on 6431 6285 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org This project is supported by Cradle Coast NRM through funding from the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country. CRADLE COAST NRM, NOVEMBER 2010 © Designed by Nova Design and Print • email@example.com • 6423 1117
Welcome to the a very special part of Tasmania
WELCOME TO THE CRADLE COAST REGION
This booklet is a handy guide to living on and managing a rural property in the Cradle Coast. It provides a starting point for finding natural resource management (NRM) information on topics ranging from animal rescue to waste disposal and almost everything in between. If you’d like to know more, you’ll find a list of useful contacts at the end of the booklet, and websites throughout to link you to additional information. We hope you enjoy rural living in the Cradle Coast and thank you for contributing to the sustainability and health of our natural resources.
Our Region The Cradle Coast region spans the North West and Western areas of Tasmania, including King Island, and covers approximately 1/3rd of the total area of Tasmania. It is an incredibly diverse region with highly productive agricultural land, world-heritage wilderness areas, a rich human history and vibrant communities. The Cradle Coast region is one of three NRM Regions in Tasmania. It includes the nine municipalities of West Coast, Circular Head, King Island, Waratah-Wynyard, Burnie City, Central Coast, Devonport City, Kentish and Latrobe.
The region is home to around 112,000 people, making up 22% of the population of Tasmania. Key industries in the region include agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, mining and tourism. Agriculture is focused on the rich red basalt soils of the North coast’s lower catchment reaches, with almost two-thirds of Tasmania’s vegetable production, around 60% of its milk production and over half of its beef cattle produced in the Cradle Coast region. The Cradle Coast region has an incredibly diverse range of landscapes, with rock types representing almost every geological period in earth’s history. The region also has a high level of animal and plant diversity, including relics of ancient gondwanan species, and many species which are found nowhere else in the world. The North West also provides an important migratory passage for a variety of bird species. These natural features, as well as the region’s rich cultural heritage, contribute to the listing of a large portion of the Cradle Coast as a World Heritage Area, and make the Cradle Coast region a unique and special place to live. Information has been sourced from the Cradle Coast Natural Resource Management Strategy, 2005.
Using this guide This guide provides introductory information about living on and managing land in our region. It is designed to provide a starting point, rather than an exhaustive resource for NRM issues. Most sections have suggested links to more information and a list of useful phone numbers and websites can be found at the end of the guide. Information in this guide has been divided into sections based around broad topic areas such as animals, plants and water, with sub-sections to help you quickly find more specific information. Each section is fairly independent of the others so you can go straight to the information required without the need to read from cover to cover.
Animals....................................................... 4-12 • Animal health and biosecurity on farms • Animal rescue • Animal welfare on farms • Domestic pets • Feral animals • Fishing • Hunting • Managing browsing pressure from native wildlife • Native animals • Snakes • Tasmanian devils
Community organisations........... 13-15 • Landcare groups • Service groups and community organisations • Fire brigades & SES
Educational opportunities for NRM and agriculture............16-17
• Fire danger warnings • Fire permits • Maintaining your property to minimise fire risk • Plan to stay and defend, or leave early • Total fire bans
Grant opportunities for NRM work ...............................................21-22 Plants ..........................................................23-28 • • • • • • •
Clearing land Conservation covenants Native plants Phytophthora root rot Shelter belts Threatened plant communities Vegetable gardens • Weeds • Declared weeds • Weeds of National Significance
Property Management Planning .................................................. 29-30 Soil ................................................................ 31-32 Waste......................................................... 33-34 • Chemical disposal • Recycling • Waste disposal
Water ......................................................... 35-38 • • • •
Dams and irrigation Groundwater Riparian land and vegetation The role farms play in maintaining water quality
Where to go for more info ......... 39-41 • Useful phone numbers • Useful websites
WELCOME TO THE CRADLE COAST REGION
Table of Contents
“Grazing on King Island” Photo by Laura Skipworth
Animal health and biosecurity on farms Biosecurity is a serious issue on all farms. Tasmania is currently free from many pests and diseases found elsewhere in the world. Maintaining this status is vital for the health of our natural and productive landscapes, and is also a core component of our “clean green” marketing image. Before purchasing a new animal, it is vital that you familiarise yourself with its health needs and common health problems. Animals should always be bought from reputable suppliers. Generally, new farm animals should be kept under quarantine in separate quarters from other animals for two weeks. If you observe signs of illness or strange behaviour, contact a veterinarian immediately. More information about biosecurity on small farms can be found on the Farmpoint website (www.farmpoint.tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘biosecurity’. Biosecurity is about reducing and managing the risks associated with introducing or spreading pests and diseases.
Animal rescue Almost 300,000 animals are killed in collisions with cars in Tasmania each year. One of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of hitting animals on roads
is to drive slowly at dusk, dawn and night time when animals are most active. If you decide to rescue an animal which has been injured on a road, remember that your own safety should be your first priority – only stop if it is safe to do so. • Where possible, dead animals should be moved off the road to reduce the risk that carrion feeders such as wedge tailed eagles and Tasmanian devils will become road kill themselves while feeding. • Check road kill for pouch young. Baby animals should be kept warm and taken to a trained wildlife carer (see below). • Be aware that injured animals can scratch and bite, so handle them cautiously. • If an animal can be rescued, place it securely in a sack or a crate. Frightened animals let loose in cars can be a danger to themselves and the driver. • Do not feed native animals with cow’s milk. • Contact a wildlife rescue group as soon as possible. North West Wildlife Rescue can be contacted on 6443 4251 or 0428 644 342. More information about sharing roads with wildlife can be found on the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service website (www.parks.tas.gov.au), by searching for ‘road kill’.
Animal welfare on farms Animal health and welfare is extremely important. Just like pets, different types of livestock will need different management, specific types of food and adequate shelter. If you live on a small property it is best to underestimate the stocking rate (the number of animals your property can feed per hectare), and build up animal numbers over time. Keep in mind that appropriate stocking rates on a small property may be quite different to those on larger farms nearby, which may have different types of pasture and different fertilising regimes. The Animal Welfare Act (1993) requires owners of pets and livestock to provide them with appropriate care, food, water, shelter and exercise. Guidelines for animal welfare for livestock can be found on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw. tas.gov.au) by searching for â€˜animal welfareâ€™.
Domestic pets According to the Dog Control Act (2000), all dogs over six months of age must be registered with their local council. Owners need to apply for a kennel license if they wish to keep more than two
dogs over the age of six months, or more than four working dogs over the age of six months.
Responsible pet ownership means that pets are cared for in such a way that they are kept safe and that keeps other people and animals safe. Domestic pets can have a significant impact on native wildlife and pet owners are encouraged to take steps to reduce these impacts â€“ for example, by desexing their pets and keeping cats indoors, especially at night time. Cats currently do not require registration, although some local councils in the Cradle Coast region have voluntary cat registration programs. Consult with your local council for specific details. The Cat Management Act (2009) requires that cats must be at least eight weeks of age, micro chipped and desexed before they are sold, unless they are being used for breeding by registered breeders. Note: Please check with your local council for specific regulations in your area.
Feral animals Feral animals pose one of the biggest threats to biodiversity in Tasmania. These animals threaten native animals and plants through predation, competition for food and habitat, habitat destruction and by spreading weeds and diseases.
Feral animals can also have significant negative impacts on the agricultural industry by damaging crops, competing with livestock for pasture, preying on livestock and more broadly by causing soil erosion and increasing water turbidity. A ‘feral’ animal is an animal which has been introduced to Tasmania and has become established in the wild. Most well known feral animals have been introduced from other countries, but some species which are native to mainland Australia but not Tasmania (such as the rainbow lorikeet), have been introduced here and are considered feral animals in this state. Several species that are known to have established populations in mainland Australia are considered a high priority to keep out of, or remove from Tasmania. They include the rainbow lorikeet, Indian myna, carp, gambusia (also known as mosquito fish), long-necked turtle, red claw crayfish, ferret, European red fox and goat. Please report sightings of any of these animals to the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment on 1300 368 550, Parks and Wildlife Service on 1300 135 513, Inland Fisheries Service on 1300 463 474, or the Fox Out Hotline on 1300 369 688. More information about these and other feral animals in Tasmania can be found on the
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘introduced animals’. If introduced predatory animals such as foxes become established in Tasmania, over 70 native species will be threatened and at least five species could potentially become extinct. Many species such as the Eastern barred bandicoot are found in Tasmania but are on the verge of extinction on the mainland largely due to predation from introduced animals such as foxes.
Fishing You will need a current angling license if you want to fish in inland waters in Tasmania. Bag and size limits apply for some species. More information about fishing in inland waters can be found on the inland fisheries service website (www.ifs.tas.gov.au), which also offers a ‘waters database’, outling which rivers and lakes are open to the public for fishing. Giant fresh water lobsters are a completely protected species and cannot be fished at any time. Permits are not required for general rod or line fishing in marine environments, although fishers must observe size-limits, bag-limits and closed seasons which apply to some species.
Permits are required if fishing for abalone, rock lobster or scallops, or if using a set line, graball net, mullet net or beach siene net. More details about recreational marine fishing can be found in the Recreational Sea Fishing Guide on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au). Several aquatic pests and diseases can be spread on boats, fishing nets and other fishing gear including the highly invasive freshwater algae Didymo, or Rock Snot. These species have the potential to cause significant environmental damage, as well as affecting the viability of our fishing and tourism industries. It is virtually impossible to eradicate aquatic pests once they become established, so preventing their spread to new areas is vital. Tiny eggs and spores can survive on damp fishing gear for months at a time and some species, such as Rock Snot, can be spread with as a little one algae cell in a drop of water. You can help protect Tasmania from aquatic pests and diseases by checking, cleaning, draining and drying all boats and fishing gear (including waders and gumboots) with fresh water after each fishing trip, and especially before taking gear to a different waterway. More information about aquatic pests and diseases can be found on the Department of
Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘marine pests’. ‘Keeping it clean’, a guide to help prevent the spread of freshwater pests and diseases, is available from Cradle Coast NRM’s website (www.cradlecoastnrm.com).
Hunting Hunting some game species such as duck and deer is permitted in Tasmania during declared open seasons. To participate in these seasons you will need to obtain a firearms licence and the appropriate game licence. A variety of laws and regulations apply to hunting in Tasmania which help ensure your safety, the safety of others, the humane treatment of game animals and the sustainability of their populations in the future. Some of these regulations apply to the hunting of all game species – for example, hunting at night (the time between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise) is generally prohibited, as is the use of baits, decoys, traps, snares, spears, bows and arrows, explosives, poisons, bird-lime, chemical compounds and solid jacketed military ammunition. Other regulations (as well as bag limits) apply to specific game species. Details about these regulations can be found on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
website (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘hunting licences’. Firearms safety legislation governs where and when you can use guns. For example, you cannot use a gun within 250m of an occupied dwelling, unless you obtain written permission to do so. It is vital that you familiarise yourself with this legislation before hunting. Rabbits and foxes are classified as vermin in Tasmania so they may be hunted at any time of the year with no bag limits. Hares can also be hunted under the same conditions that apply to rabbits. If you see or shoot a fox while hunting in Tasmania, please inform the Fox Out Hotline on 1300 369 688. More information about foxes in Tasmania can be found in the ‘feral animals’ section of this booklet. If you wish to hunt on private property you will need to seek the owner’s permission. You need to also seek permission from Forestry Tasmania to hunt in State Forests. More information about hunting in Tasmania can be found on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au) and in the Game Track publication, which is produced by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.
Managing browsing pressure from native wildlife If you feel that native browsing animals (such as wallabies) are causing significant damage to crops or pasture on your property, it is worthwhile exercise to develop a control plan. This process starts with an attempt to measure the amount of damage that is being caused and then identifying the most appropriate methods of browsing animal control. The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment have developed a toolkit called ‘Managing production losses due to wildlife on farms’ which can assist landholders in developing a control plan. Copies can be obtained by contacting the Wildlife Management Branch of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment on 6233 6556. Current control methods typically include fencing, trapping, shooting and the use of 1080 poison. If you decide to implement a shooting or trapping program, you will need to obtain a Crop Protection Permit from the Wildlife Management branch of Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Waters and Environment.
1080, or sodium monofluoroacetate, is a naturally-occurring compound produced by around 40 native plant species in mainland Australia which is toxic to some animals. Different species of animal have different levels of susceptibility to 1080 poison. Cats and dogs are highly susceptible to 1080 poison. A dog or cat eating a pademelon that has been poisoned with 1080 can ingest a lethal dose of the poison. For this reason, it is important that all neighbours are notified about baiting and that pets are kept away from 1080 baiting areas. In Tasmania, 1080 poison can only be used as a last resort to control specific browsing animals. The Tasmanian Government is committed to phasing out the use of 1080 poison by 2015. You can apply for a permit to use 1080 from the Wildlife Management Branch of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. More information about managing conflict with wildlife can be found on the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife service website (www.parks.tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘living with wildlife’. The code of practice for using 1080 for native browsing animal management, as well as more general information about 1080 poison, can be found on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and
Environment website (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au ) by searching for ‘1080 poison’. A guide to wallaby-proof fencing (produced by the Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research) is available from Cradle Coast NRM.
Native animals The Cradle Coast region has a diverse range of native animals and acts as a refuge for many species that have become endangered or extinct on mainland Australia. Many Tasmanian species are endemic – they are found nowhere else in the world. Some of the iconic species of the Cradle Coast include the Tasmanian wedge tail eagle, giant freshwater lobster and the Tasmanian devil. Under the Nature Conservation Act (2002), it is illegal to kill, buy, possess or sell native animals in Tasmania unless you have a specific permit to do so. 77 vertebrate animal species are listed in the Threatened Species Protection Act (1995). The Act affords these animals extra protection. A list of threatened animal species in Tasmania can be found on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw. tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘threatened species’.
Snakes Three species of snake are found in Tasmaniatiger snakes, copper head snakes and whitelipped snakes. All are venomous and should be treated with caution. Although they make many people nervous, snakes play an important role in the environment, especially in Tasmania where they are the dominant reptilian predator. It is illegal to kill snakes in Tasmania (Wildlife Regulations (1999), Nature Conservation Act (2002)). The best way to avoid being bitten by a snake is to avoid snakes in general. Most people are bitten by snakes while trying to kill or handle them, or by stepping on them. What to do if a snake is in your house or yard: • If a snake is causing you concern, do not approach it • Keep children and pets away, maintain visual contact with the snake • Call Reptile Rescue on 0407 565 181 to have the snake removed by a licensed professional. Tips for avoiding snakes: • Be on the look-out for snakes, especially early in the morning when snakes like to sun themselves, but
may be slow to react and move out of the way • Step onto rather than over logs – a snake may be basking on the other side • Wear closed-in shoes (preferably boots) and trousers when working outside • Avoid walking through long grass or reeds • Inspect hollow logs and rock crevices before putting your hand into them • Never corner a snake – snakes that feel threatened are more likely to bite You can minimise the attractiveness of your garden to snakes by keeping your grass mown, keeping garden debris to a minimum, keeping wood piles away from the house (and preferably elevated) and keeping standing water to a minimum. If someone is bitten by a snake, first aid is required immediately. Keep the victim calm and apply a compression bandage firmly along the entire length of the bitten limb (for example, from fingers to shoulder). Tourniquets are not recommended. Immobilise the bitten limb Snake identification is not necessary in Tasmania as all native snake bites are treated with the same antivenom (the same may not apply if you are bitten by a snake someone has brought into the state).
and seek medical help as soon as possible. Be prepared to administer CPR if needed. More information about snakes in Tasmania can be found on the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service website (www.parks.tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘snakes‘ or on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘living with snakes’.
Tasmanian devils The Cradle Coast region (particularly the area West of the Murchison highway), is considered the last stronghold for the Tasmanian devil, whose population has declined dramatically elsewhere in the state due to the spread of devil facial tumour disease (DFTD). DFTD is an extremely unusual form of cancer which can be spread from one devil to another like a contagious disease. Please report any sightings of Tasmanian devils with lumps or lesions on the face West of the Murchison Highway to the Tasmanian devil hotline on 6233 2006. More information about DFTD can be found on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘Tasmanian devil’.
“Students conduct revegetation activities at Don Reserve” Photo by Dionna Newton
A wide variety of community organisations are dedicated to addressing rural, agricultural and NRM issues in our region. Joining one or more of these organisations is a great way to meet new people, access local knowledge, gain new skills, learn more about your local environment and support your local community. Rural community organisations in the Cradle Coast region include volunteer fire brigades and SES (state emergency service) groups, Landcare, Coastcare and Waterwatch groups, production and farmer groups and community service groups as well as many others. Look in the yellow pages, on the internet, or contact your local council for more information.
Landcare groups COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS
Landcare is a national, grassroots organisation which supports people to take action to improve the quality of their local environment and implement sustainable farming practices around Australia. Landcare Australian offers an online directory of Landcare groups which can be accessed here at www.landcareonline.com.au. If you would like to contribute to Landcare activities in a more informal way than regularly attending group meetings, you may be interested in the ‘Extra Hands’
program which is run by the Tasmanian Landcare Association. Extra Hands links casual volunteers with one-off Landcare activities, working bees and field days. More information can be found at www. taslandcare.org.au/extrahands. There are a wide variety of ‘care’ groups around Tasmania, including Landcare, Coastcare, Bushcare, ‘Friends of’ groups (which generally look after a specific location) and Wildcare groups (which generally conduct conservation work in National Parks or reserves). More information about Wildcare can be found at www.wildcaretas.org.au. You can also contact Cradle Coast NRM for more information about these groups.
Service groups and community organisations Over 1500 people volunteer with Rotary clubs around Tasmania. More information about joining a Rotary group can be found at www.rotary9830.org.au. Over 1200 people volunteer with Lions Clubs around Tasmania. You can find out more about local groups at www.lionstasmania.org. Apex is a service club for people aged between 18 and 45. More information about joining an Apex group can be found at www.apex.org.au.
Information about the Country Womenâ€™s Association can be found at www.cwaintas.org.au.
Fire Brigades and SES Over 4,800 people volunteer with Volunteer Fire Brigades around Tasmania. They receive nationally recognised training and support. Information about joining a Volunteer Fire Brigade can be found on the Tasmanian Volunteer Fire Brigades Association website (www.tvfba.org.au). SES (State Emergency Service) volunteers make themselves available for call out to emergencies such as search and rescue efforts and flood and storm events. Volunteers receive nationallyrecognised training to carry out these tasks. Information about volunteering with the SES can be found on their website (www.ses.tas.gov.au).
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR NRM AND AGRICULTURE
“Identifying insects at an Integrated Pest Management workshop” Photo by Alice Ryder
The largest agricultural field day in Tasmania is Agfest, which is held in Carrick on the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of May each year. It is one of the largest field days in Australia, and attracts over 75,000 visitors. Joining a community organisation such as a Landcare group is another way to learn more about NRM. See the ‘Community Organisations’ section of this booklet for more information about Landcare and other ‘care’ and community groups. Formal, nationally-recognised courses in a wide variety of agricultural and NRM topics can be undertaken at the Polytechnic or at the University of Tasmania (UTAS).
More information about the UTAS school of Agricultural Science can be found at http://www.set.utas.edu.au/agricultural-science. More information about primary industries courses offered at the Polytechnic can be found at www.polytechnic.tas.edu.au/science-andenvironment.aspx. TIAR (the Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research) is a joint venture between the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries and Parks Water and Environment (DPIPWE) and the University of Tasmania. It supports postgraduate agricultural science students and experienced research scientists to conduct research into cool-climate agriculture to help make the Tasmanian agriculture industry more prosperous and sustainable for the future.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR NRM AND AGRICULTURE
There are a wide variety of opportunities to expand your knowledge of NRM and broader agricultural issues in the Cradle Coast region. Informal learning opportunities are available by becoming a member of a farmer group or attending field days or forums. Upcoming field days and training events are often advertised in newspapers or on the Cradle Coast NRM website (www.cradlecoastnrm.com), or the farmpoint website (www.farmpoint.tas.gov.au).
“Back burning at Mt Farrell” Photo by Kevin Barrett
Fire Danger Warnings The National Bushfire Warnings Taskforce developed a new fire danger rating system after the Victorian bushfires in 2009. Fire danger ratings are divided into six categories- low-moderate, high, very high, severe, extreme and catastrophic. During the bushfire season a fire danger ratings forecast for Tasmania is available on the Bureau of Meteorology website (www.bom. gov.au), the Tasmania Fire Service website (www.fire.tas.gov.au) and on the weather page of Tasmania’s daily newspapers. On days with a catastrophic fire danger rating, you should not plan to stay and defend your home in the event of a bushfire, even if it is well prepared. You should plan to leave your home and move to a safe place at an early stage on these days. Specific information about fire danger ratings can be found on the Tasmanian Fire Service website (www.fire.tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘new fire danger ratings’.
Fire permits The Tasmanian Fire Service will declare a Fire Permit
Period when bushfire danger is high. You must have a fire permit if you wish to burn vegetation or other materials during a Fire Permit Period. Permit periods are usually declared during the summer period from November to March, although this will vary from year to year depending on the dryness of the vegetation and the fire danger. Permits specify conditions for lighting fires which reduce the risk of them burning out of control. For example, you may only be allowed to conduct burning activities if you have certain equipment available or in certain weather conditions. You must notify the Tasmanian Fire Service if you intend to light a fire during a Fire Permit Period. More information about fire permits can be found on the Tasmanian Fire Service website (www.fire. tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘fire permit periods’.
Maintaining your property to minimise fire risk Regardless of whether you choose to stay and defend your home or leave in the event of a bushfire, maintaining your property to minimise fire risk and maintaining a defendable space around your home will reduce the likelihood of your house being destroyed by a bushfire.
A defendable space is an area around your home where you have modified the vegetation (for example, planted small, low-flammability plants) and removed most other flammable material to reduce an approaching fire’s intensity. A defendable space makes it much easier to protect your home from a bushfire. If you choose not to stay, a defendable space will also help fire fighters protect your home, or may even protect your home itself if fire fighters can’t reach it. More information about maintaining your property to minimise fire risk can be found on the Tasmanian Fire Service website (www.fire.tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘prepare your home’.
Plan to stay and defend, or leave early The best defence against bushfire is to have a pre-arranged bushfire plan. You can choose to stay and defend your home, or leave your home and move to a safe place. If you choose to leave, you should leave early. Leaving your home as a fire approaches is extremely dangerous. More details about preparing for a bushfire can be found on the Tasmanian Fire Service website (www.fire.tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘prepare, act, survive’.
Total fire bans The Tasmanian Fire Service can issue total fire bans on days when fire danger is extremely high. Total fire bans are advertised in newspapers, on television, radio and the Tasmanian Fire Service website, and apply regardless of whether you hold a fire permit or not. More information about total fire bans can be found on the Tasmanian Fire Service website (www.fire.tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘fire bans’. During a total fire ban all outdoor fires are banned, except for electric stoves and barbeques if they are used in an area which has been cleared of flammable material for at least 1 metre. Grinding and cutting metal and welding is banned in open areas. The use of some farm machinery (for example, harvesters) may be subject to restrictions on total fire ban days.
GRANT OPPORTUNITIES FOR NRM WORK
“Insect monitoring at Thirlstane” Photo by Alice Ryder
A variety of government and non-government organisations periodically offer funding to assist rural property owners in undertaking rehabilitation and NRM work on their land, including the Cradle Coast NRM, the Tasmanian Landcare Association and Greening Australia. One of the best ways to keep up to date with grant or funding opportunities is to visit the Cradle Coast NRM website (www.cradlecoastnrm.com). You can also contact Cradle Coast NRM and sign up to receive the free Cradle to Coastlines NRM newsletter.
GRANT OPPORTUNITIES FOR NRM WORK
Some examples of grants which have been funded in the past by Cradle Coast NRM are: • Gorse weed control, native revegetation, protective fencing and off-stream water point installation on private land in the Stanley area to assist with biodiversity conservation of wetlands • Fencing of the eastern and western bank of the Leven River downstream from Marshalls Bridge in Gunn’s Plains (grant recipient Greening Australia on behalf of eight private landholders), to assist with biodiversity conservation of the Giant Freshwater Lobster. • Erosion control within Squeaking Point conservation area. Assisting with biodiversity conservation of the Tasmanian Devil, Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Burrowing Crayfish, White Bellied Sea Eagle, and a variety of threatened orchids • Funding for an onion farmer group to hold an Integrated Pest Management workshop • Funding for volunteer training and resources for first response whale rescue on King Island
â€œTemperate rainforest trees with abundant epiphytes and mossesâ€? Photo by Martin Finzel
Clearing land A certified Forest Practices Plan is generally required if you wish to clear or convert native trees or threatened native vegetation on your property. More information can be found from the Forest Practices Authority website (www.fpa.tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘land clearing’.
Conservation covenants One option for providing long term protection to remnant vegetation or threatened plant communities on your property is to establish a conservation covenant through the Protected Areas on Private Land program. A conservation covenant is a voluntary legal agreement between a landholder and a covenant scheme provider to protect an area of land for the future. Landholders continue to own and live on the land, but agree to undertake certain actions to protect it. The covenant (and the responsibilities that go along with it) is generally permanent and remains attached to the land title, even if the land is sold. Property owners who enter a conservation covenant may receive incentives from the government
including exemption from land tax for the area under covenant and support to manage and/or rehabilitate the covenanted land. More information about conservation covenants can be found on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au), by searching for ‘protected areas on private land’.
Native plants Maintaining local native vegetation on your property has many benefits. Established native vegetation can reduce erosion, provide shelter for stock, food and habitat for native wildlife, and make it difficult for weeds to become established. Local native plants are also ideal garden plants because once established they require little watering or fertilizer and will never become weeds. You can propagate native plants from seed, or buy native plants from nurseries. Some nurseries will propagate seed collected from your property for you. For more information about propagating native plants, you can contact the Australian Plants Society of Tasmania, North West Group at www.nwtasaps.org.au, or the Understorey Network at www.understorey-network.org.au.
Tips for establishing a garden with native plants: • Use local native plants • Plant in autumn so that plants can become established during winter rains, reducing the need for watering. Deep watering once a fortnight, rather than frequent surface spray, promotes the establishment of deep plant roots and future drought tolerance • Use mulch to reduce water evaporation and limit weed spread, but leave breathing space around stems and trunks to prevent collar rot • Most native plants are adapted to soils naturally low in nitrogen and phosphorus. Consider this when fertilising your garden • Small, healthy plants usually establish more easily and grow more rapidly than larger plants • A variety of plant types and sizes (including grasses, shrubs and trees) will increase the diversity of animals visiting your garden • Consider fire risk when designing your garden avoid planting large trees next to houses although tall trees can act as wind breaks and reduce the spread of embers if planted some distance from homes. Information about maintaining native vegetation on your property can be found in the Tasmanian
Bushcare Toolkit available from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au).
Phytophthora root rot Phytophthora root rot is a plant disease caused by an introduced water mould called Phytophthora cinnamomi. Phytophthora infestations have been confirmed in many locations around the Cradle Coast region. Phytophthora can cause widespread plant death in some understory plant species and lead to significant loss of biodiversity and vegetation structure in some plant communities including heathlands, morelands and dry eucalypt forests. Phytophthora affects rare and threatened plant species as well as plants that are endemic to Tasmania. Phytophthora can be spread to new areas by walkers and cars transporting soil on boots, tyres, tent pegs etc., especially if the soil is moist or muddy. You can help reduce the spread of phytophthora by limiting the transport of soil and mud to different locations by:
• Using wash-down stations provided on some walking tracks to clean boots and gaiters • Cleaning boots and gaiters with soap and water after each walking trip. Dispose of this washing water down the drain, as pouring it on your garden could spread the disease • Washing down cars with a high-pressure hose between trips, remembering to clean the underside of the car and wheel arches. This will also help limit the spread of weeds • Wiping tent pegs, toilet trowels etc. to remove any attached dirt at the location they have been used. More information about phytophthora can be found on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au), by searching for ‘phytophthora’.
Shelter belts As well as providing environmental benefits, native vegetation can increase productivity on farms through the planting of shelter belts. Shelter belts are long, narrow plantings of trees and shrubs which act primarily as wind-breaks. They are often planted along the edges of paddocks.
Shelter belts reduce wind-speed, water evaporation and soil erosion and provide shelter for stock, crops and pasture. Appropriate shelter belts can increase liveweight gain and fertility and reduce mortality for livestock, as well as increasing crop and pasture growth and survival in extreme weather events. More information can be found in the resource booklet ‘Native Shelterbelts for North-West Tasmania’, which is available from Cradle Coast NRM.
Threatened plant communities Some plant communities are classified as ‘threatened plant communities’. These communities are considered especially important to conserve, and remnants of these plant communities cannot usually be cleared. More information about threatened plant communities, including a species list, can be found on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au), by searching for ‘threatened vegetation communities’. Vegetable gardens Growing your own vegetables, herbs or fruit provides a win-win situation for yourself and the environment. Vegetable gardens give you easy-access to quality produce and reduce the need to transport vegetables over long distances. This reduces the carbon-footprint of your food.
You can also control the amount and types of pesticides and fertilisers used in your own vegetable garden.
A wide variety of vegetables can be grown easily in Tasmania, including capsicums, tomatoes, chillies, corn, herbs and eggplants in summer, and leeks, onions, cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli and potatoes during the cooler times of the year. Planting guides for Tasmanian vegetable gardens can be found at www.abc.net.au by searching for ‘The vegie guide’.
Weeds Weeds are plants that are not native to the local environment and which invade and compete with native plant communities. They often grow quickly and are excellent at surviving and reproducing in disturbed environments. Weeds can have a number of negative impacts on the environment, including: • Reducing native plant diversity • Changing the structure of plant communities • Reducing habitat for native animals • Changing the way fire affects landscapes • Changing the shape and ecology of waterways
• Restricting access • Reducing agricultural productivity • Affecting human and animal health. If weeds are not removed, they are likely to spread and cause continued landscape degradation. By removing weeds and replacing them with appropriate native plants, you can improve the health of the landscape and its ability to provide services to the environment, such as habitat for native animals and minimising soil erosion. Any plant which doesn’t belong in the local area has the potential to become a weed. To reduce the spread of weeds: • Learn to identify common local weed species • Maintain locally native vegetation on your property • Minimise soil disturbance • Use mulch • Do not dump garden waste- this is unlawful and also encourages the spread of weeds • Bear in mind that weed seeds can travel on shoes, clothing, pets and machinery. Use wash down stations where provided to limit weed seed spread • Get in the habit of tackling weed infestations while they are small.
When removing weeds: • Make sure you know the difference between native plants and weeds so that only weeds are removed • Wear protective clothing, including long pants, long-sleeved shirts, closed-in shoes and gloves. Sun protection should also be worn, even on cool days • Ensure you are aware of safety issues involved in removing weeds. For example blackberry bushes have thorns and sea spurge can ooze toxic latex from broken stems. Consult with a professional if you have any safety concerns • If hand-pulling weeds, pull the weed from the base of the plant, not its leaves or taller branches • Some weeds may require other removal techniques, such as poisoning. The ‘cut and paint’ method of herbicide application generally minimises damage to surrounding plants and the wider environment.
Declared weeds Some weeds are classified as declared weeds under the Weed Management Act (1999). Landholders maybe obliged to control declared weeds on their property.
A list of declared weeds can be found on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au). Just because a weed is not listed as a declared weed does not mean it is harmless. Non-listed (also called environmental weeds) can still cause significant problems and should be removed wherever possible.
Weeds of National Significance Some weeds have been identified as ‘Weeds of National Significance’ by the Federal Government and are considered a priority to control. These weeds are considered especially threatening for primary industry, the natural environment and human and animal welfare across significant areas of Australia. Six weeds of national significance are found in Tasmania- boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera), blackberry (Rubus fruticosus species aggregate), bridal creeper (Asparagus asparagoides), gorse (Ulex europaeus), serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma) and willows (Salix spp.). Landholders are legally obliged to control Weeds of National Significance on their property.
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT PLANNING
“Working the rich basalt soils of the North West” Photo by Jason McNeill
One of the most effective ways to support the long-term health and productivity of your property is to develop a whole-of-property management plan. Property management planning will allow you to document the resources and management practices on your property, help plan future changes and allow you to demonstrate good environmental management. Developing an effective property management plan can lead to more efficient production methods, improve farm profitability and provide a better understanding of the environmental values and issues on property. A property management plan may be used to help access government incentives, or as part of an environmentallyresponsible marketing strategy.
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT PLANNING
Property management plans are more than just a map of the property- they provide goals for the health and long-term use of the property, a list of actions that will be taken over time to meet these goals, and clear ways of monitoring the effectiveness of these actions. A property management plan is generally divided up into modules which look at the management of specific features of the property, such as soil, water, financial resources and human capital.
The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers association has a produced a Property Management Planning Framework for Tasmania. More information about the framework can be found on their website at www.tfga.com.au. Assistance with property management planning can be provided by local agricultural consultants. More information about training and assistance in property management planning can be obtained by contacting Cradle Coast NRM.
“Control-traffic farming improves soil condition ” Photo by Jason McNeill
Good soil management is vital for the long-term productivity of farms and the health of the wider environment. Although many areas in the Cradle Coast have very fertile soils, some farm practices can leave them vulnerable to erosion and degradation. Soil is especially vulnerable to erosion and structural damage when vegetation cover has been removed. Rainfall and compaction from machinery use on bare soil reduces the ability of air and water to penetrate the soil, reducing plant health and productivity and potentially leading to erosion. Overgrazing can also severely degrade soil structure. Soil erosion in agricultural areas can be minimised by shortening fallow (bare ground) periods, planting a cover crop during these periods, maintaining surface stubble or providing surface mulch. One effective way of reducing erosion on bare sloping ground is to use a ripper mulcher machine. Ripper mulchers use a combination of rip lines and lines of straw along the contours of hills to help slow water movement and reduce soil erosion. They are most effectively used on land which has just been sown with crops with fine seeds such as onions, carrots, poppies and pyrethrum. Several ripper mulcher machines are freely available for farmers to use across the Cradle Coast region. Contact Cradle Coast NRM for more information about accessing these machines.
Planting cover crops or green manure crops over fallow ground also increases soil organic matter, suppresses weeds and can lock atmospheric nitrogen into the soil. Maximising water infiltration by maintaining good soil structure and slowing the flow of water over the soil surface will also help to minimise erosion. Low-till and control traffic farming practices can aid water infiltration and soil productivity by maintaining soil structure and biological activity in the soil. Soil tests should be conducted on a regular basis (generally once every 1-3 years) to determine locally-appropriate levels of fertiliser application. More fertiliser does not necessarily mean higher productivity- once they have reached certain levels, adding extra nutrients will no longer lead to increased plant growth â€“ in some cases they can even reduce plant growth and the nutritional value of fodder for animals. Over-application of fertiliser is economically wasteful and can lead to ground and water contamination. More information about soil health can be found in the resource â€œSoil management: a guide for Tasmanian farmersâ€?, available on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au)
“Chemical container storage” Photo by Alice Ryder
Chemical disposal Free chemical disposal programs for household chemicals such a household cleaning chemicals, paint thinners, solvents and car brake and transmission fluid are run each year in Devonport, Burnie, Spreyton and Smithton through the ChemSafe Homes Tasmania program. More information about this program can be found on the local government association of Tasmania website (www.lgat.tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘chemsafe homes’. The DrumMUSTER and ChemClear programs are available to rural land managers to enable the responsible disposal of agricultural chemicals. More information about these programs can be found here: www.drummuster.com.au www.chemclear.com.au Regardless of whether they are used for household or agricultural applications, chemicals should always be kept in secure, clearly labelled containers, well out of reach of children. Leftover chemicals should never be mixed together. MSDS’s (material safety data sheets) should be consulted whenever a new chemical is obtained and kept in an accessible place for
future reference. MSDS’s provide safety information about chemicals as well as advice about how to safely store and dispose of them. The MSDS can be obtained from chemical supply companies or on the internet.
Recycling Most councils in the Cradle Coast region are now running fortnightly curb-side recycling programs in urban areas, where bins with yellow lids are designated as recycling bins. If you live outside of these collection areas, you can take recyclable waste materials to your local council waste transfer station. More information about recycling in the region can be found on your local council website.
Waste disposal According to the Litter Act (2007), it is illegal to litter or dump waste on public land or on private land without the express permission of the owner in Tasmania. Waste must be disposed of at an approved landfill. The definition of ‘litter’ under this law includes green waste.
“Guide Falls at West Ridgley” Photo by Raelee Turner
Cradle Mountain Water oversees the supply of drinking water and the operation of sewage systems in the Cradle Coast region. More information about Cradle Mountain Water can be found on their website at (www.cmwater.com.au).
Dams and irrigation If you take water from rivers, creeks or dams on your property for commercial purposes (including irrigation or watering stock for commercial sale), you need a water licence and a water allocation. A water licence specifies where you are allowed to take water from and a water allocation specifies the amount of water you can take over a given period of time. You can take water from rivers or lakes on your property for domestic use without a water licence. More information about obtaining water licences can be found on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw.tas. gov.au) by searching for ‘water licence’. A dam permit is generally required for the construction of new dams and a water licence is generally required to store water in a dam. Guidelines for dam construction can be found by searching for ‘guidelines for the construction of earth-filled dams’ on the Department of Primary
Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw.tas.gov.au). Dams, wells and other water infrastructure should only be constructed by a suitably qualified and experienced professional. Contractors require a welldrillers permit before drilling new wells on any property. Children should always be closely supervised around waterways, including dams. Death by drowning is the biggest cause of fatalities on farms in Australia and children under four years of age make up over 60% of these deaths.
Groundwater Groundwater refers to water held below the surface in tiny spaces (pore spaces) between soil particles and in fractures in the soil and rock. Differences in geology, rainfall and topography mean that groundwater is more readily available in some areas of the Cradle Coast than others. Groundwater is an essential part of the water cycle. Although it may seem like an endless resource, groundwater does have the potential to be depleted in some areas through over extraction because it can take a long time for water to flow through some rock types and recharge groundwater systems. Although the Cradle Coast region generally has
plentiful supplies of groundwater, it is good practice to use this water wisely. If you wish to construct a well to extract groundwater on your property, you will need a Well Works Permit. More information about groundwater and permits in Tasmania can be found on the Farmpoint website (www.farmpoint.tas.gov.au) by searching for ‘groundwater’.
Riparian land and vegetation ‘Riparian land’ refers to the land alongside rivers or creeks. Riparian areas that are in good condition deliver a variety of benefits to farms and the wider environment, but they are especially vulnerable to mismanagement. Healthy riparian vegetation provides habitat for native species, reduces soil erosion, provides shade and wind protection for stock and crops, improves water quality and contributes to attractive farmscapes which increase property values. Healthy riparian areas generally have good vegetation cover with a variety of locally native species. Well vegetated banks can withstand three times the flow rate of unvegetated banks
before eroding, as well as reducing the amount of sediment entering the waterway by around 90% (according to ‘Land degradation and soils conservation in Tasmania handbook’). Using heavy farm equipment adjacent to banks and allowing stock access can increase land slippage and erosion along river banks. If livestock have direct access to creeks and rivers they can also cause waste contamination, increasing the spread of diseases such as leptospirosis and bovine virus. Good riparian land management usually involves installing off-stream watering points and creating a buffer of natural vegetation along river or creek lines which is fenced off to exclude stock and prevent inappropriate heavy machinery use too close to the bank. More information about managing riparian vegetation can be found on the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment website (www.dpiw.tas. gov.au) by searching for ‘riparian vegetation’.
The role farms play in maintaining water quality The management practices used on your rural property can have a significant impact on the quality of your water and also on water quality in the environment and catchment areas around you.
Some farming practices that can impact on water quality include: • Overuse of groundwater and surface water for irrigation. This can change how and where water flows in the landscape • Incorrect rates or scheduling of fertiliser and pesticides application. This can lead to higher nutrient and chemical levels in surrounding waterways • The build up of effluent from livestock. This can lead to high nutrient levels in surrounding waterways • Erosion from cropping activities or land clearing. This can lead to higher sediment loads in surrounding waterways and make water more turbid • Degradation of riparian zones areas by livestock. This can cause erosion and water contamination. Thoughtful land management and planning can minimise the impact of farming on water quality. For example, fertilisers and pesticides should be applied in quantities that are locally appropriate and at times when rainfall-events are unlikely to reduce the risk of them being washed away. Wherever possible, riparian areas should be fenced to exclude livestock and should have an adequate cover of appropriate native plant species.
WHERE TO GO FOR MORE INFORMATION
“Stanley” Photo by Raelee Turner
The information in this guide has been compiled by Cradle Coast NRM as an introduction to rural living in the region – we hope you’ve found it useful. If you’d like to find out more details on any of the topics included in this guide, or to check for recent information changes, the following pages contain lists of useful telephone numbers and websites. Many of these organisation (including Cradle Coast NRM) produce free resource booklets with additional information about weeds, native plants etc., which are available upon request. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact us at Cradle Coast NRM for advice or assistance with additional information; our details are also below.
WHERE TO GO FOR MORE INFORMATION
Useful phone numbers
Cradle Coast Authority ............... 03 6431 6285
Latrobe City Council...................... 03 6421 4650
Cradle Coast NRM........................... 03 6431 6285
Devonport City Council .............. 03 6424 0511
Cradle Mountain Water.............. 136 992
Kentish Council ................................... 03 6491 0511
Tasmanian Devil hotline .............. 03 6233 2006
Central Coast Council ................. 03 6429 8900
Reptile Rescue ..................................... 0407 565 181
Burnie City Council .......................... 03 6430 5700
Fox Out Hotline .................................... 1300 369 688
Waratah-Wynyard Council...... 03 6443 8333
North West Wildlife Rescue ...... 03 6443 4251 or ..................................................................... 0428 644 342
Circular Head Council ................. 03 6452 4800 King Island Council .......................... 03 6462 1177 West Coast Council ........................ 03 6471 4700 Central North Wildlife Care and Rescue ............................. 0409 978 064
Whale or dolphin stranding ..... 0427 942 537 Lifeline .......................................................... 131 113 Emergencies Police, fire and ambulance .... 000 or from mobile phones ................ 112
Who are Cradle Coast Authority and Cradle Coast NRM In 2000, the nine local government municipalities of North West Tasmania established a regional organisation known as the Cradle Coast Authority. The Authority facilitates the sustainable development of the Cradle Coast through the coordination of natural resource management, tourism, health, education, local government services and other regional-level issues and projects. Cradle Coast NRM is the natural resource management unit of the Cradle Coast Authority.
WHERE TO GO FOR MORE INFORMATION
Australian Association of Agricultural Consultants - http://www.aiast.com.au Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service- http://www.daffa.gov.au/aqis/about Bureau of Meteorology- http://www.bom.gov.au/tas/ Cradle Coast NRM- http://www.cradlecoastnrm.com/ Cradle Mountain Water- http://www.cmwater.com.au/ Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment- http://www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of Tasmania- http://www.epa.tas.gov.au Farm Point (Information for Tasmanian Farmers from DPIPWE)- http://www.farmpoint.tas.gov.au/ Landcare Australia- http://www.landcare.net.au/ National Farmers Federation- http://www.nff.org.au/ Tasmanian farmers and Graziers Association- http://www.tfga.com.au/ Tasmanian Fire Service http://www.fire.tas.gov.au/ Tasmanian Landcare Association- http://www.taslandcare.org.au/ Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service- http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/ Tasmanian Women in Agriculture- http://www.twia.org.au/
Rural Living in the Cradle Coast - Your Guide to Natural Resource Management