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Cradle to C oast l i n e s Newsletter of the Cradle Coast Natural Resource Management Group

Edition 3• 2017

Rocky Cape reef life survey confirms biodiversity and healthy populations of marine species In this issue: Rare orchid discovery


Mural inspires habitat protection


Planting project provides stability 7

Rocky Cape Reef Life Survey. Picture: Rick Stuart-Smith.


Project Update

Threatened Species Conservation Helped by Remote Cameras The third season of remote camera monitoring in the Vale of Belvoir has been completed, with images revealing a growing number of feral cats posing a threat to the resident EPBC-listed Tasmanian devils, eastern quolls and spotted tail quolls. Cradle Coast NRM has been supporting Devils@Cradle in the data collection project by providing 10 remote cameras as well as assistance to staff and volunteers who check the camera locations and collate data from the images and videos. This important work over 75ha of tussock grassland within the Conservation Area provides information to the Save the Devil Program on species numbers, distribution and evidence of threats. Chris Copeland from Devils@Cradle is planning to address the rising feral cat threat in a collaborative way with local land managers. “The challenge for us is to try and understand and highlight this threat further with key stakeholders to help facilitate effective management strategies,” he said. In addition to the larger than expected feral cat problem, the latest reporting period also confirmed the first photographed case of Devil Facial Tumour Disease in the monitoring area; a critical piece of information that has also been reported to the Save the Devil Program to enhance their work.

Recognising the importance of data to enable good decision making, the monitoring area was extended 80ha west of the current project following the involvement of the University of Tasmania and addition of five monitoring sites. This extension resulted in an additional 37 Tasmanian devil sightings being recorded in the third season. The high profile of Tasmania’s threatened species conservation work has attracted local student volunteers and researchers as well as participants from interstate and overseas. This blending of knowledge and experience is helping the student participants accelerate their learning while providing practical work experience. Most importantly it is revealing valuable on-ground knowledge that is guiding Tasmania’s protection of its iconic threatened species.

Wade Anthony from Devils @ Cradle

Feral cats in the Vale of Belvoir captured on remote camera.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: To find out more about Cradle Coast NRM’s threatened species conservation work in the Vale of Belvoir, contact Biodiversity Coordinator, Jay Rowley, on jrowley@cradlecoast.com

Rare Orchid Discovery The special standing of the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area has jumped another notch with the discovery of an extremely rare orchid with a doubleflowering head. A new variation of the small helmet orchid featuring pink and green flowers was found and photographed by Craig Broadfield. It’s a beautiful new find and we say a big ‘thanks’ to Craig for his time and care in sharing it with the world!



Rocky Cape Reef Home to Hundreds of Marine Species The extensive reef system and unpolluted waters off Rocky Cape National Park were long thought to contain healthy populations of many marine species and a range of habitats well-suited to encouraging biodiversity.

The divers underwent a four-day training course in species identification and survey methodology before taking to the water in March. The next fully-funded survey dives will be conducted over a summer weekend in 2018 and volunteers will again be needed.

Thanks to the work of 10 volunteer divers, those thoughts have been confirmed in a Reef Life Citizen Science survey conducted in the area.

Data from the first survey has been verified and uploaded to the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) database. Results and project information are available from the Reef Life website at www.reeflifesurvey.com.

An impressive 26000m 2 of reef was covered by the survey between Boat Harbour and Rocky Cape. It’s an area representative of the Flindersian Marine Province which stretches from southern Western Australia to Bass Strait and has now been recommended for annual monitoring. Twenty-eight surveys at eight sites recorded 101 different species of fish, mammals and invertebrates. A total of 45,314 living creatures were counted within the three-day survey period!

Summary data and a presentation of the project is also available to the North West Tasmanian community via USB as an easy way to share the findings, encourage volunteer participation and raise local awareness of the marine reef biodiversity that is on our door-step.

The survey also took note of seaweed cover by capturing photos of the seabed every 2.5 metres throughout the dives.

Annual monitoring of the Rocky Cape reef will enable a better understanding of reef health and trends, including changes in shallow reef fauna diversity and numbers, and the reef’s response to climate change; knowledge which will help in the management of this important marine ecosystem.

Dives were conducted systematically and followed predetermined lines of 50 metres in length. Fish identification, counts and size estimates were recorded within five metres of the line and invertebrates within one metre.

For copies of the survey results or to find out more about joining the project as a volunteer citizen science diver, contact Dionna Newton, Coast Estuarine and Marine Project Officer, on dnewton@cradlecoast.com or by calling 03 6433 8440.

Divers during the Reef Life Survey at Rocky Cape. Picture: Rick Stuart-Smith


Industry Engagement

“The company showed a high level of innovation in designing and building a closed system to minimise effluent output in a highly efficient way.” - Anna Wind, Coastal Coordinator Anna Wind, Cradle Coast NRM, Belinda Yaxley, Petuna Aquaculture and Napelle Crane, NRM South at the Tasmanian Seafoods Industry Awards.

Recognising Environmental Stewardship in Aquaculture As an island state, the health of our waterways is an essential part of Tasmanian natural resource management.

“The company showed a high level of innovation in designing and building a closed system to minimise effluent output in a highly efficient way,” Anna said.

Tasmania’s three NRM bodies – Cradle Coast NRM, NRM North and NRM South – have increased their engagement with the seafood industry as the sector has expanded and community awareness of production systems and expectations for environmental stewardship has also increased.

“Its new system at Cressy uses less water and enables fish waste to be converted to compost off-site. It has reduced nutrient loading, increased production and improved the health of the river system.”

Cradle Coast NRM has been working with the aquaculture industry on marine debris clean-up projects, including the large-scale Macquarie Harbour project completed earlier this year. The 6th Tasmanian Seafood Industry Awards held in Hobart recently were an opportunity to celebrate the environmental achievements of industry operators, with the presentation of an Environmental Stewardship Award to a company that demonstrated leadership, commitment and innovation in this field. Sponsored by the three NRM regions, the Award was won by Petuna Aquaculture for reducing the environmental impacts of its salmon hatchery operations. When presenting the Award, Nepelle Crane of NRM South and Cradle Coast NRM Coastal Coordinator Anna Wind recognised the environmental results achieved by Petuna’s willingness to address priority issues.



The Awards were attended by more than 180 industry associates which provided Petuna Aquaculture with well-deserved recognition for its environmental stewardship work. Dr Belinda Yaxley is the Sustainability and Accreditation Officer at Petuna Aquaculture and attributed the win to the company’s commitment to sustainability in all aspects of the business. “Petuna defines environmental stewardship as an ongoing improvement program which requires commitment to responsible farming practices, responsible sourcing of resources and implementing sustainability efforts across the board,” Belinda said. “The hatchery is an example of this stewardship, demonstrating Petuna’s commitment to protecting the environment within which it operates. We are proud to receive this year’s TSIC Environmental Stewardship Award which recognises our environmental achievements.”

Mural artist Katie Houghton-Ward, with (from left) Chloe Harris, Tate Beamish and Jase Chapman in front of the mural at Somerset Primary School. Picture: The Advocate/ Cordell Richardson

Species Star in Somerset Mural Somerset Primary School students are greeted daily by Larry the Giant Freshwater Lobster, Penny the Little Penguin and Spotty the Spotted Tail Quoll following the unveiling of a colourful mural celebrating the region’s land, sea and water resources. The mural is the result of a nine-month education program to stimulate consideration of the region’s fauna species and the habitats on which they depend. Anna Wind, Coastal Coordinator, was thrilled to take part in launching the mascot mural, knowing that students would see it every day and be thinking about the species’ habitats and futures. “We’re fortunate to still have a relatively stable population of little penguins along our coastline,” Anna said. “Spotted-tailed quolls are an Australian threatened species and our region has these special native animals close to home.” “The Giant Freshwater Lobster is unique to northern Tasmania; it requires a shaded riverbank and clean water to survive. It’s the largest freshwater lobster in the world, growing up to 4kg and can live for 30 years.” “Raising awareness of our special native species will

hopefully help maintain healthy populations and ensure their long-term survival,” Anna said. The mural was designed and created by internationally recognised comic and street artist, Katie Houghton-Ward. Once Katie produced the mascots, a competition was held to give them names with the winners receiving prize packs containing nature books and stationery. The winning students’ class also received a presentation on the three species by Parks and Wildlife Ranger, John Bowden. The mural was a partnership between the Cradle Coast Authority, Cradle Coast NRM, Somerset Primary School, Housing Choices Tasmania and the Tasmania Police Neighbourhood Watch Officer Next Door program and was developed in conjunction with the NRM team’s Inspiring Our Kids Youth Education Program. Grants from Cradle Coast NRM and Housing Choices Tasmania assisted the Somerset Primary School with mural creation, in addition to signage and native plantings to increase biodiversity and complement the environmental artwork. A special thank you must go to Tasmania Police Senior Constable Ian Edwards for making the project happen and the community proud.


Meet the Team

Endangered giant freshwater lobster bred in captivity This event may be a world first, so the Lobster Ponds Haven in Tasmania’s North West were understandably excited when they recently discovered that more than 30 baby lobsters, of various sizes, had hatched within the Ponds. Nature has dispelled the belief that this could not occur within captivity.

Meet the team: Iona Flett In this edition of Cradle to Coastlines we say hello to Iona who became a Project Officer in the Cradle Coast NRM team in June 2017. What does your role as Cradle Coast NRM Project Officer entail? I help to manage projects funded through some of our small grants schemes – Farm Conservation Grants, Natural Connections, and Land Manager grants under the Coastal Program. It’s really varied work that lets me see all sorts of fantastic projects that committed people are working on in the region. You’re new to Tasmania; what has been the most unexpected aspect to your new home? I had visited Tassie a few times before I moved here, and knew what to expect in terms of the National Parks and wild places, but I didn’t expect to see such innovative, interesting agriculture. I love that there is such a vibrant Farmers’ Market network, and people are successfully growing just about every crop imaginable. What do you like most about working in natural resource management (NRM)? My two big passions are protecting natural areas from human impacts (on land and sea), and sustainable local


food production. In this job, I get to help with both! What do you think is the most important natural resource management issue facing the region? A big issue across Australia is feral cat management. I like pet cats, but they are killing machines – I firmly believe they should be kept indoors to protect native wildlife. I’m hopeful that NRM groups and Councils can soon work together to reduce feral cat numbers in our region. What NRM project are you most looking forward to getting involved with in the future? I can’t wait for the next Shoreline Clean-up in Macquarie Harbour. I have a secret habit of picking up plastic from beaches wherever I go. I’ll be very interested to see the difference in the World Heritage Area next year as a result of this year’s clean-up and the effort that people are making to reduce harbour pollution. What is your favourite season? I’m looking forward to long, light evenings and snorkelling in the sea – bring on summer!


The Lobster Ponds Haven was made possible by the legacy of the late Don Bramich who established the premises in 2003, creating a near-as-possible natural habitat for the lobsters. The Haven was officially opened in 2004 for the purpose of education and tourism, allowing visitors to see and learn about these amazing creatures. Visitors last year exceeded 1650. The Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Lobster (Astacopsis gouldi) is listed as “vulnerable” under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. It is the largest freshwater invertebrate on earth and is only found in northern Tasmania, living in rivers and streams that flow into the Bass Strait. Individuals can reach up to one metre in length and can live for more than 40 years. The volunteers work closely with Inland Fisheries Service (IFS) and Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water & Environment (DPIPWE). Since 2012 students from the local Wynyard High School and TAFE’s Pathways Program, assist regularly with ground maintenance. A $5000 grant has been received from the Cradle Coast Authority’s NRM team, under the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme, for constructing interpretive signs, allowing visitors to guide themselves through the viewing room and grounds. The Lobster Ponds Haven have also benefitted from the support of Tassal, which have supplied two water coolers which are required to chill the water within the lobster’s habitat.

Planting Stabilises Landslip Area A farm in Table Cape has completed a major native planting project to stabilise steep terrain that last year experienced significant landslips and erosion. When the exceptionally wet winter of 2016 created landslides and exposed some sections of Brian Reader’s farm to soil erosion, he turned to Cradle Coast NRM and its Farm Conservation Grant program for help in rehabilitating the area. Through the Grant program, Brian engaged local contractors, Natural State and Redbreast Nursery, to plant 2500 mixed native species into the eroded areas. Three areas were sufficiently damaged to require a cover of jute mat and grass seeds prior to planting. Not only have the plants helped stabilise the soil,

they’ve also delivered a major boost to the Cape’s native habitat. It’s a high-profile rehabilitation project, visible from the road connecting Wynyard to Table Cape, and has stimulated much discussion between neighbours interested in replicating the soil conservation project on their own properties. Cradle Coast NRM’s National Landcare Programmefunded grants were used by farmers across the region to increase farm biodiversity and sustainable natural resource management practices. Applications for the grants closed in May, but the benefits will be long seen and experienced across our farming landscapes.

What causes soil erosion? Tasmania experiences three main types of soil erosion caused by the movement of water or wind over the land surface, or by gravity in the form of a landslide or slump.

downward pressure and can slip if they encounter a weak plane. Erosion at the base of a slope can increase the risk of a landslip by undermining the level of support available.

Landslips are most common on steep slopes where there is a high clay content. A slip can be triggered by saturation of the soil following heavy rain. The rain increases the soil weight and moistens soil layers. With the force of gravity, these layers apply

Dense tree planting above potential slip zones helps stabilise the bank and remove excess water from the soil. (Information adapted from Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment)


Your Cradle Coast NRM Team

Upcoming Events

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

Shorebird counts between Stanley and Narawntapu National Park When: Throughout October.

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 Di o nna N e w to n Project Officer: Coastal, Estuarine & Marine M ark Wi s n i e w sk i Pr o j ect Of f i c e r: G IS a nd 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

Contact and follow us: ( 0 3 ) 6433 8400 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

Picnic in the Paddock Where: Guide Falls Farm When: Sunday, October 22, 12pm-4pm. Launch of Rees Campbell’s book, Eat Wild Where: Burnie LINC When: October 25, 6pm.

November Waratah-Wynyard Council Planting days, Flowerdale and Lower Inglis Rivers Where: 153 Preolenna Road When: November 4, 10am. North West Branch of the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association bee-keeping field day Where: Elliott Hall When: November 11 Info: Attendance is free for members. Non-members: $10 pp to cover catering. Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture – Industry Forum: Potato diseases and soil-borne health When: November 14. Tarkine BioBlitz When: Thursday, November 23 to Sunday November 26. Conservation Landholder Tasmania and Mt Roland Rivercare workshop on Managing Riparian Zones When: November 25. Wings on King Spring Surveys When: End of November.

December Unless otherwise acknowledged, this publication and the projects featured are supported by Cradle Coast NRM, through funding from the Australian Government.

Coastcare Week When: December 4-10 Info: If your community group has an event they would like promoted, please send Anna Wind the details by November 24.

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: nrm@cradlecoast.com Cradle Coast NRM is an independent committee hosted by the Cradle Coast Authority

Profile for Cradle Coast Authority

Cradle to Coastlines - Edition 3, 2017  

Cradle Coast NRM's newsletter, Cradle to Coastlines. Edition 3, 2017.

Cradle to Coastlines - Edition 3, 2017  

Cradle Coast NRM's newsletter, Cradle to Coastlines. Edition 3, 2017.