What the Prez Sez

August 2019

This is an exciting time of year in Grampians National Park.  The wildflowers are stunning with the golden and other wattles flowering, hakea in bloom along the Halls Gap Road and the grevilleas starting to come out.  This is one of my favourite times of year.  Both greenhoods and helmet orchids are showing their flowers.

While we have had below average rain, at least we have had some rain and now we can hear at least 6 different frogs calling in our wetlands.   The ducks are happy and for the first time we have grey teal.  We have been noticing the ducks up trees and on looking them up we see that mountain duck, grey teal and black duck all nest in tree hollows!

This is certainly the season for cockatoos and we have been seeing large flocks of long billed corellas grazing on onion weed in our paddocks.  The blue wrens are in breeding plumage and scarlet robins and Jacky winters are regularly spotted.  Weebills and pardalottes are calling.

FOGG have been active over recent months with a trip to Hollow Mountain in June to look at the rock climbing areas and the Aboriginal rock art site.  In July the trip to Hidden Lake was postponed but some members managed to get there and find clam shrimps.  More about this from Bill.

In July, on Planet Ark National Tree Day, we had a successful planting on our property of over 1000 tea-trees, melaleuca and slaty sheoak into deer and kangaroo proof enclosures we had built.  Thank you to all members involved.

In August, Clive Carlyle gave a presentation of the wildlife we see on trail cameras on our property – southern brown bandicoots, feathertail gliders, brushtail possums, echidnas and sugar gliders, plus many birds, yellow footed antechinus, wallabies and kangaroos.  Not to mention 3 sorts of feral deer (fallow, red and Samba) foxes, rabbits, hares and cats!

Parks Victoria have started a 3-year deer and goat control program and we hope that this reduces the numbers of these destructive, introduced and unwanted animals.

We are investigating a sallow wattle project and have been contacted by a landowner near Wartook who has noticed new sallow wattle in the park.  We understand that a new ranger has started who is leading the Sallow wattle program and we hope to meet her.

The Grampians Landscape Management plan is up for review and the first meeting of the Strategic Reference Group is on August 21st at Halls Gap.  There will be 5 meetings over the coming 12 months to put the plan in place.  I will be representing FOGG on this group – so please let me know if you have any issues that you would like discussed.

Parks Victoria are having community meetings throughout September so hopefully everyone will be able to attend. The first meeting in Halls Gap is 5th September from 6.30-8.30pm please register online at engage victoria.

FOGG have been contacted by Annie Hobby of DELWP to be involved with Gardens 4 wildlife program – the idea being to make all our home gardens more wildlife friendly by plantings and encouraging wild areas and ponds etc.  They have next meeting on 12th September 10am at Pomonal Hall.  If anyone is able to attend or would like to be involved, please let me know.

Park Connect.  So far FOGG have been unsuccessful in getting our activities up on this forum.  There are at least 4 different levels of approval before events make it to Park Connect and we are finding this frustrating.

In May, we met with our Chief Ranger Rhonda McNeil to work through Park Connect issues and we plan a General Meeting with Rhonda on 20th September at 4.30pm at Brambuk. All welcome.

Climate change;  FOGG members attended the screening of The Movie 2040, about Climate Change and Hope in Ararat in July – an excellent and inspiring feature film.

The Victorian Government has put out a Roadmap to Zero for the Grampians Region for comment (survey now closed) and following on from this a forum ‘Decarbonising Victoria: Grampians Roadmap to Zero Emissions’ will be held in Ballarat on Friday 23rd August.  The forum will be opened by The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Solar Homes. Featured guests include Professor Ross Garnaut, Alan Pears, Beyond Zero Emissions as well as industry and community practitioners.  Attendees will include representatives from local and state government, community organisations, industry, agriculture, transport, renewable energy developers, not-for-profits and many others.  Plus participation in a zero-carbon round-table workshop. We hope to be able to have a report on this in the next newsletter.

Catherine Pye