The AG has met twice since our last newsletter. I missed the meeting at Mckenzie Falls and Zumsteins, but was able to attend the December meeting. (Quick summary: the green (middle) Zumsteins cottage will be well restored, with the western (blue) cottage partially demolished and managed as a ruin. The eastern (orange) cottage has had a protective, replica roof installed. The next state election may have some focus on McKenzie Falls options, particularly the carparking area.)
In December Mike caught us up to date with the dilemmas surrounding what to do with the Brush Tail rock wallabies, particularly in view of the fact that the male is about to begin breeding with his own daughters. DELWP have commissioned a review by Dr Graeme Coulson to be completed in April. The AG preferred option was rather than intervening by removing the older male and disrupting the existing colony, investigate introducing another small family group as a satellite population, with a different male, a reasonable distance away from the current group, and then over time individuals will meet. The AG was concerned that the future of the Moora Moora release site remains uncertain until the review is completed.
Mike also updated us on testing six different sallow wattle treatments, from handpulling, whippersnipping, machine mulching, and chemical spraying. The research results indicate hand pulling as the most environmentally sensitive but the highest cost as it requires repeated treatments in subsequent years, whereas chemical spraying was the lowest cost but highest environmental impact to non-target flora species. The best outcome appears to be mechanical mulching. Although it has a higher up-front costs, it appears to have lasting effects at reducing sallow wattle with minimal off-target impacts to desirable native vegetation
We also had updates on the Peaks trail. So far the onground work is still focused on upgrading existing tracks while cultural heritage and vegetation removal issues and permits for new construction are very slow. But what has been built is of very high quality.
Feral cats was another topic we discussed. However the same afternoon we learnt that there was the good news Mike has already written about, so we took no action after all.