This time last year we had an excellent article from Wendy on how we as a committee have to work out which issues we should lobby on, and which we do as private citizens. It is still so relevant today. (You can find it on our website). Our priority is always the issues which affect our Grampians National Park. These may be issues also affecting other Parks or may be ones unique to the Grampians.
Our committee is particularly worried about the attitude of both our federal and State governments towards the environment . Both seem intent on watering down most of the legislation which currently protects our environment. There are so many examples from all over the country- it is really depressing. Too many national parks already, “abolishing red tape” on vegetation protection etc, re-introducing cattle into the Alpine National Park …. the list goes on and on. The main issues I believe we have to keep vigilant about for our Park are commercial developments, burn regimes and staffing cuts. Rob and Bonnie wrote to their member about Tourism in National Parks and received a bland reply stating “…… As a government we are committed to encouraging more people to enjoy our world-class natural assets in our national parks, more often. Sensitive and sensible tourism investment in our national parks will provide experiences which enhance visitor satisfaction and accessibility. It will also provide benefits for regional Victorian communities and make positive contributions towards the conservation of the environmental, Indigenous and historic cultural values of national parks…..”
I also wrote and have had an identical letter. Mine was also passed on to the Parliamentary Committee as a submission to their enquiry. It would be interesting to hear from any more of our members who wrote individual letters.
Elsewhere in the newsletter you can read more on the recent large fire, This means almost 90 % of the Grampians National Park has been burnt in the last eight years. This means that great care will need to be taken in deciding where and what to control burn in the next few years. We plan to have a meeting in winter to discuss this with DEPI. Wendy is continuing to work with other groups to remind the government of this.
Those of us who took the opportunity to give our thoughts on what we thought were significant areas of public land have received a thank you letter:
Dear Study Participant,
You are receiving this email because you requested to be notified when results were available from the Victoria Public Lands Study. First, we thank you again for your participation. We are now beginning to analyse the large volume of data collected in the study. Over 1,900 individuals participated in the study, mapping more than 35,000 locations in Victoria. Over the next few months, we will be analysing the data and preparing a summary report of the findings. However, we thought you might be interested in viewing some of the preliminary mapped data that can be viewed as map layers on Google Maps. If interested, click on the web link below and browse the results: http://www.landscapemap2.org/pvictoria/mapviewer.php On behalf of myself and my colleagues, thanks again for your participation.
I recently represented FOGGS at a South African Weed Orchid (SAWO) workshop in Stawell which was hosted by the Invasive Plant and Animal Subcommittee of Project Platypus in late February. (You may remember that we had several working bees at a property at Pomonal when the weed was first noticed some years ago, but we couldn’t halt its spread.)
The purpose of the meeting was to gather all landholders and agency staff relevant to SAWO control in the upper Wimmera and hear people’s experiences and set a collective way forward for control efforts in our area. Representatives were present from DEPI, Parks Victoria, various landcare groups and local government to share their collective experience. The main results to come out of the meeting were that SAWO is now a wide spread and established weed in our area and that control efforts into the future will need to be targeted to protect areas of high value remnant vegetation with significant threatened species present. This approach is otherwise known as ‘asset protection’ and aims to control invasive species in and around high value areas to protect the ‘asset’ (a threatened native orchid species for example). This is also the best hope for gaining funding for control work for SAWO as it is not a prescribed noxious species which makes it difficult to gain funding from government . Funding can however be tied to protecting a particular threatened species or vegetation type with grassy woodlands being high on the list of vegetation communities that attract grant funding. This vegetation community is one of the more vulnerable and widespread communities in our area in regard to SAWO infestation.
Those attending also agreed that Project Platypus should try and gain funding for a more in-depth review of SAWO control experience from Western Australia and South Australia where SAWO is well established. A project proposal will be submitted when a suitable grant opportunity presents that will enable key assets (reserves and threatened species) under threat in the upper catchment to be accurately identified. Depending on what information is gathered from experience in other areas, a trial of the most effective herbicide and control method may be required to see what proves to be the most effective for controlling SAWO in our area.
I believe that this sort of meeting, where Park staff, Landcare folk, DEPI staff and groups like ours tackle problems across public and private land is an excellent way of working.