Cradle to C oast l i n e s Edition 4â€˘ 2017
Newsletter of the Cradle Coast Natural Resource Management Group
West Coast land management underpinned by rich Aboriginal history
In this issue: The little island that could
NRM in schools
Spotlight on Spanish Heath
Jarrod at truwala. Picture: Jay Rowley.
Cultural Heritage Castle Rock at King’s Run. Picture: Jay Rowley.
“…an incredible experience with dramatic and wild scenery coupled with learning about the history of the traditional owners of the land.” - Theresa Lord, Regional Tourism Manager
West Coast Aboriginal land management Preminghana and King’s Run on the West Coast are steeped in Aboriginal cultural heritage. As you gaze over the spectacular view from truwala (Mount Cameron) out to Cape Grim you can see where petroglyphs are buried under the sand. Walking through the area reveals hut depressions, remnants of stone tools, middens and seal hides. The Cradle Coast Authority and NRM team were recently treated to a guided visit of the area, led by Jarrod Edwards of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and Brenton Brown. The experience commenced with a smoking ceremony welcome and included historical insights and visits to more recent weed control and land management work that Jarrod has been involved with for 16 years and coordinating for the past four years. There are few places in Australia where evidence of Aboriginal semisedentary lifestyles exists, as with the family-group hut depressions and hundreds of stone tools and flakes from an extended period of tool-making on the west coast of Tasmania. Some tools were crafted from spongelite stone which was known to have been traded along the coast by Aboriginal people.
“It’s a truly inspiring landscape and to get a sense of the history and way of life, for thousands of years, was fascinating,” said Cradle Coast NRM Operations Manager, Spencer Gibbs, reflecting the entire group’s sentiment. “We’re very thankful to Jarrod, Brenton and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for the experience.” Cradle Coast NRM is continuing its support of Aboriginal land management in the region and this support has been bolstered by Jarrod joining the organisation as a project officer. Jarrod will be working from the Burnie office two days per week and can be contacted at: email@example.com King’s Run is a property south of Preminghana, formerly owned by the late Geoff King. In accordance with Geoff’s wishes, it was returned to Aboriginal ownership in October this year. Geoff was one of the original members of the Cradle Coast NRM Committee and dedicated more than 10 years of continuous service to regional natural resource management.
Hut depression at King’s Run.
View up the coast from Preminghana.
View from one of the hut depressions.
Project Updates Currie Wharf Area. Picture: Jay Rowley.
The little island with a big environmental heart
King Island is famous for the quality of its agricultural products – from beef to cheese and everything in between – and islanders have long understood the importance of landscape health to this renowned productivity. It’s a concept that extends to the island’s natural environment too, thanks to local Natural Resource Management staff, and the passion and commitment shown by King Island’s communities. One long-term environmental project is the control of Boxthorn at Currie Wharf. The prominent site attracts a lot of attention and is benefitting from rehabilitation work led by Ondrea Richards and a team of volunteers and contractors. The group removed the invasive weed that was dominating, revegetated the area with native species, while also encouraging natural regeneration. It’s a great example of the Island’s team spirit, with involvement from the King Island Council, Ports, NRM group and community over a number of years.
so as to enhance native flora. The project is well on the way to eradicating the weed from the Tufa Terraces coastline and removing much of the surrounding area’s seed source – a significant achievement! King Island’s NRM activities are not restricted to terrestrial habitats; they also look to the sky. Wings on King is a bird monitoring project that encourages bird experts, novice twitchers, landowners and the general community to get involved and contribute to species surveys. The island is designated as an Important Bird Area so the data collected is essential to long term habitat planning and bird protection projects. In mid-November, 50 survey sites were monitored over two-and-a-half days by 27 volunteers in five teams. “All teams had a mix of King Islanders and visitors from as far away as Port Macquarie and Sydney as well as Melbourne and other areas in Victoria,” said Kate Ravich who coordinated the logistically challenging event.
Elsewhere, Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service’s Shelley Graham, recently managed a stairway construction project to improve beach access at Disappointment Bay within a State Reserve. This not only made the area more accessible to tourists and residents, but is also helping to protect the dune ecosystem.
The project is a partnership between the King Island NRM Group and BirdLife Australia. Andrew Silcocks, BirdLife Australia’s Birdata database manager, provided expert guidance to the spring survey participants and introduced volunteers to the new Birdata App to simplify transfer information into the national organisation’s database.
The construction work was coupled with Sea Spurge weed control and a revegetation field day attended by community members and local students.
The free Birdata App can be downloaded from birdata.birdlife.org.au
In a more remote but equally scenic and environmentally significant part of the island, there’s a project to protect the coastal habitat of the Tufa Terraces. This site at Boggy Creek is recognised nationally and is listed in the Tasmanian Geoheritage Database for its rimpool formations and associated rare and endangered plant community. On-ground works, coordinated by Eve Woolmore with Ondrea’s support, have focused on Sea Spurge removal
The Wings on King 2018 autumn surveys will be held in late April. Surveys can also be undertaken at any time during the year. Interested in getting involved? Simply register at www.birdsofkingisland.com/wings-on-king and keep an eye on BirdLife Australia’s Newsletter or the Birds of King Island Facebook page and website for announcement of the April dates.
Home improvements for Little Penguins “RedBreast Plants supplied us with a prostrate version, so hopefully that goes better for the penguins.”
Home renovations and make-overs are not just confined to reality television shows – even Little Penguins are now benefitting from the action!
“Then I started the Certificate IV in Conservation and Land Management this year and it involved projects, so I asked if I could do projects here.”
In the lead up to this summer’s Little Penguin breeding season, the Friends of Burnie Penguins removed weeds, trimmed vegetation and planted bushy groundcovers at Parsonage Point to improve the Little Penguin habitat and encourage growth of the colony.
“It worked out well, as volunteers are busy and often have full-time jobs and lives of their own.”
The group received $2000 in funding for their landscape renovations as one of the many projects supported by Cradle Coast NRM through the National Landcare Programme.
“Laura is learning valuable project management skills first hand while completing her TasTAFE CLM Certificate,” Anna said.
Laura Bland joined the Friends of Burnie Penguins in September last year. “I started Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management last year, and part way through that I joined the Friends of Burnie Penguins as a volunteer guide,” Laura said.
“Parsonage Point is frequented by plenty of people, but luckily it hasn’t stopped the penguins from nesting.”
Cradle Coast NRM Coastal Coordinator, Anna Wind, has been impressed by the group’s commitment to quality work.
“The volunteers’ work has been backed by the necessary approvals and complies with penguin management guidelines.” In addition to weeding and planting, the group also pruned some of the Coastal Wattle that was planted last year to allow more planting of Penguin-friendly species.
The group also planted true Boobialla (Myoporum insulare prostrate), as well as Native banksia (Banksia marginata), Correa alba, Ficinia nodosa, and Rhagodia candolleana. The project has also helped to increase habitat for the threatened Eastern Barred Bandicoot and the 29 native bird species identified in the area. New volunteer guides for the Little Penguin viewing site are regularly recruited with more guide training sessions planned for 2018. Please contact Evelyn DeVito on 0437 149 747 to register your interest.
“It grew so tall the penguins didn’t feel safe,” Laura said.
Did you know? • In the past six months, 25 enthusiastic volunteers have been helping with revegetation at Parsonage Point. • About 350 penguins flock to the area in the peak of the season between October and February.
Anna Wind and Laura Bland at Parsonage Point before revegetation. Picture: Iona Flett
Top marks for NRM in schools It’s been a busy few months for natural resource management education in the region’s schools with students investigating topics from the smallest soil microbes up to big environmental issues such as ocean pollution and sustainability. In many of the activities the students took on the role of teacher, researching a subject of interest and inspiring their peers with their findings. This was order of the day at the 2017 Cradle Coast NRM Kids Teaching Kids Conference where 220 primary school students from six schools around northwest Tasmania met to share their findings and recommendations on recycling and waste re-use, water bugs, the vulnerable Giant Freshwater Lobster, platypus habitat protection, the problem of ocean plastics and ways to create sustainable schools. The Conference was the culmination of months of investigation and hours of practice in developing presentations and according to the teachers involved, the results were beyond just environmental knowledge. Teachers reported an increase in student confidence, leadership, patience and resilience and the event’s atmosphere buoyed the students’ shared interest in their region’s natural environment and its inhabitants. You can watch a video about the day here https://youtu.be/nLfDbWiFYo8 or by going to our webpage, www.cradlecoastnrm.com Cradle Coast NRM’s Hannah Sadler, summed it up perfectly with her comment that “the greatest outcome from the day was seeing so many students obviously engaged in, and being passionate advocates for local environmental issues.”
Equally inspiring was the Don’t Mess With Burnie day organised by Kim Beasy from the University of Tasmania with support from Cradle Coast NRM’s Iona Flett. Held in Burnie to reinforce the values of National Recycling Week, the event harnessed the enthusiasm of four school classes to conduct a beach clean-up. The most commonly found items of cigarette butts, plastic food packaging, straws and water bottles sparked good discussions on ways to prevent litter from ending up on the shoreline and the dangers of marine pollution. One class was rewarded for their efforts by the appearance of some passing whales who no doubt also appreciated the students’ concern for their shared environment. The beach clean-up was a component of the ‘Don’t Mess With Burnie’ program initiated by UTAS, Burnie City Council, Department of Education, Environmental Protection Authority and the Cradle Coast Authority. Over on the West Coast, Mountain Heights High School students in Queenstown played host to Hannah Sadler and Tom O’Malley from Cradle Coast NRM in October. More than 70 students joined in activities to examine soil bacteria, fungi and nematodes and used microscopes to identify and understand the role these species play in soil health. Groups also explored the school grounds, searching for environmental weeds and learning about the impact of unwanted plant species on native flora and fauna.
A+ to everyone involved!
Top – Kids Teaching Kids. Picture: Hannah Sadler. Middle – Hannah at Mountain Heights Picture: Mountain Heights Facebook page. Bottom – Rubbish collected from Burnie Beach. Picture: Iona Flett.
Meet the Team
Meet the team: Jay Rowley In this edition of Cradle to Coastlines we get to know Biodiversity Coordinator, Jay and learn about his passion for making positive change. What does your role as Cradle Coast NRM Biodiversity Coordinator involve? Coordinating projects that benefit threatened species and contribute in a positive way to our precious and unique natural environment. What is your favourite thing about living in the north-west? Our spectacular environment with such a diversity of landscapes, and that it’s all so easily accessible. I also love the artistic talent and gourmet food produced here, which are world class, and it’s a nice laid-back feel, devoid of big city pressures. What do you like most about working in NRM? Having the opportunity to make a difference, not only on a regional scale, but as a part of the global picture. I also love that I am able to put my knowledge and passions to use and that
I’m working in a team of like-minded professionals. What is the most important NRM issue facing the region? Finding a balance between economic growth and the protection of our environment. What NRM project are you most looking forward to getting involved with in the future? Continuing work at the Vale of Belvoir and Cradle Mountain. This area is home to special flora, flora and plant communities where the landscape is uniquely still in good condition. That means we have the ability to make a big contribution in keeping it that way for generations to come. What fun things will you do in the Christmas break? This Christmas I’m planning to go camping and surfing and will enjoy the beach while creating memories with my family.
Bees and the benefits of social sharing The plight of European honey bees has never been more in focus and it’s a momentum that North West Beekeepers Association members and 2W Farm managers, Matt Woolridge and Jess Webster, are keen to maintain. “Social media, combined with the younger generation’s growing curiosity in sustainability and self-sufficiency, has created a groundswell of interest in beekeeping for food production and crop pollination services,” said Matt. This interest was evident at two Cradle Coast workshops that provided practical training on all aspects of beekeeping. The 23 landholders who took part developed skills in hive construction and servicing, honey harvesting, waxing and wiring of frames, and protecting bee colonies from diseases and threats. The workshops were a collaboration between Cradle Coast NRM, 2W Farm, North West Beekeepers Association, Somerset Community Shed and the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE). The 2W Farm was also involved in the North West Beekeepers Association’s recent field day at Elliot Hall. “The field day was a great opportunity to share knowledge, broaden networks through the beekeeping community and gain valuable insight from long-term beekeepers,” said Jess.
Spanish heath. Picture: NRM South.
Spotlight on Spanish Heath When reading the description of Spanish Heath provided by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE, below), it’s easy to see how this plant has become such an invasive weed and worthy of its Declared Weed status. The battle against Spanish Heath is one of the many fronts that John Thompson fights to protect and improve our region’s natural environment. John, with great support from his partner Annette, has been a member of Friends of the Leven for around four years and is also a Steering Committee member of Conservation Landholders Tasmania. He’s put in hundreds of volunteer hours controlling the weed, and this persistence is paying off along the Leven River at Gunns Plains where the risk of the weed spreading on the river current is now significantly reduced. One of the main control sites John is working on with support from Cradle Coast NRM is located on the property owned by the Highland Conservation Pty Ltd, approximately 30 kilometres from the Leven River mouth. “Highland Conservation Pty Ltd is glad to support the initiative the John has taken along the Leven valley to contain Spanish Heath,” said a Company representative.
“It has the potential to affect everyone along the riverfront and if left uncontrolled we could end up like New Zealand with the huge problems they’ve experienced.” Owing to its dense nature, Spanish Heath crowds out native vegetation and creates a monoculture which reduces biodiversity and ecosystem health. Seeds stay viable in the soil for at least five years which also escalates the costs of controlling weed colonies once they are established. “The highest priority is to stop Spanish Heath from flowering so no new seed is produced,” says John. “It usually starts flowering in April and May and goes on to produce lots of small, speck-like seeds which are easily dispersed by wind, water, machines and people.” Chemical control prior to flowering is recommended by John, as well as prioritising control along roads, tracks, waterways and drains where the risk of spread is the greatest. “Annual follow-up is essential too given how long the seed survives in the environment.” The project includes strategic revegetation so as to encourage a canopy over any persistent seeds and reduce the weed’s chance of germination.
How to identify Spanish Heath (courtesy of DPIPWE at www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au) Spanish heath is a woody evergreen perennial (long-lived) shrub growing to a height of 1.5 to 2 metres and occasionally reaching 3.5 metres. Spanish heath stems are woody and brittle, and the leaves are tiny (3 to 7mm long), pointed, and clustered densely on the stem. The leaves have a groove along the lower surface. Spanish heath flowers appear from late autumn to early spring. The white or pinkish flowers are 4 to 5 mm long and occur in loose groups towards the end of the stems. Each flower can produce hundreds of tiny, dust-like seeds which are released when flowering finishes and the flowers have browned off. The roots are fibrous, and the plant readily breaks off near the base, often regrowing quickly from the broken stump.
Your Cradle Coast NRM Team S pencer G i bbs Opera ti on s M an age r G ra nt P e arc e M anage r, S t rat e gy Anna Win d C oordi nato r: Co asta l J ay Ro w l e y C oordi nato r: B i o di ve r s it y J arrod Edw ards Project Officer M ark Wi s n i e w sk i I n formati o n M an ager , N R M Tom O’M al l e y R egi ona l L an dc are Fa c ilit a t or Ha nnah S adl e r Pr o j ect Of f i c e r I o na Fl ett Pr o j ect Of f i c e r
FREE, fun and engaging activities for all ages learn
explore connect play laugh be active 27 December 2017 to 31 January 2018 ● All About Reptiles’s live snake & lizard show
● Aboriginal cultural stories and interactive workshop
Contact and follow us: ( 0 3 ) 6433 8400
● Discovery Ranger children’s activities, BBQ lunch and more! For details visit www.parks.tas.gov.au or call the Discovery Ranger on 0429 659 768
nrm@c radl e c o ast . c om w w w . c radl e c o ast nr m . c om facebo o k . c o m /C r a d le C oa s t N R M
Narawntapu & North Coast DEVONPORT DISCOVERY DAY Tuesday 9 January, 11am–2pm, Devonport Community House
North-West Tasmania SMITHTON DISCOVERY DAY Tuesday 16 January, 11am–2pm, Smithton LINC
Western Tasmania Zeehan, Rosebery, Tullah, Queenstown, Strahan, Granville Harbour and Trial Harbour
ROSEBERY DISCOVERY DAY Unless otherwise acknowledged, this publication and the projects featured are supported by Cradle Coast NRM, through funding from the Australian Government.
Thursday 25 January, 11am–2pm, Rosebery Community House
This project is supported by Cradle Coast NRM, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.
Postage Paid Australia
Cradle Coast NRM 1-3 Spring Street PO Box 338 Burnie TAS 7320
ph: 03 6433 8400 fax: 03 6431 7014 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cradle Coast NRM is an independent committee hosted by the Cradle Coast Authority
Cradle Coast NRM's newsletter, Cradle to Coastlines. Edition 4, 2017.