From the Editor

Welcome to our summer newsletter, again a little late. First the Christmas rush, then the January hibernation. Please note that our first activity for the year is on Friday 19th February 5.30 pm in the Mural room Brambuk, where we will hear some really interesting results from research in the park, followed by the opportunity to have a meal together.

The report on our AGM is well buried in this newsletter, so I will break the news here: we have a new president! Welcome to Rodney, who has been on our committee for the past year. FOGGS, like quite a few similar groups, needs to look at its role into the future and it is good to have the next generation leading us.… Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Summer Newsletter, From the Editor

Prez Sez

So we come to my first president’s report. It seems like only yesterday that as a youngster I attended the declaration of the Grampians National Park. After the official event, a dedicated group of people moved off to one side and formed a friends group, under the auspices of the VNPA, to support the new park and help to get the community involved. I was only a young fella, but I am  proud  I was there. So began the next chapter of my life in the Grampians.

The group has been supported by some truly great advocates of conservation and education within the region, Val Hastings, Sue McInnes, Sam and Jettie Spyer, Ben Gunn, Stan Parfett, Kees and Margo Sietsma,  Dave Munro and my father, David Thompson, among them. I am honoured that the group that has been a part of my life for nearly 30 years has now seen … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Summer Newsletter, President Report

From the Park Desk

Rainfal DeficienciesUndoubtedly the main talking point around the National Park Office has been how dry the Landscape is, and the implications for us all. Immediately our minds and energies focus on the fire risks to our park and communities which we have had such vivid experiences of over the past 10 years. The dryness is isn’t just a here and now phenomena. We have experienced incredibly dry conditions for the past 3 years which is well illustrated by the diagram.

These conditions not only heighten the Fire risk but also place significant stress on the entire ecological system. Over the past few years, our partners at Deakin University have seen a decline in small mammals across the Grampians landscape as part of their ongoing monitoring into the effects of Fire and now climate has on small mammal populations. It is becoming more and more apparent that rainfall is a key driver … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Summer Newsletter, Park Desk

FOGG’s Annual General Meeting – 17 Oct 2015

Thirteen of us met at Mirranatwa carpark where we had a hunt for wildflowers. Unfortunately the hot dry conditions of September and early October meant most things had finished flowering. We did manage to find a Musky Caladenia orchid and a skink sunning himself.

Our next stop was Henham track there we found Bearded orchids and some Grevilleas flowering. We headed off to Freshwater Lake on the Victoria Valley road, but it too was dry and the water had receded to a puddle in the middle. Next we stopped at the Dunkeld rifle range where there was a sprinkling of flowers but in a better year it would be a spot well worth a visit.

Next we went to Dunkeld to the Arboretum, we couldn’t find the picnic tables so set up under a huge old beautiful Red Gum where we ate our lunch and had our AGM meeting. After … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Summer Newsletter, Articles, Meeting reports

Picnic at Mt William

Rodney

On Saturday 21st of November, the FOGGs started gathering at the Mt William car park at 6.00 pm. Over the next half an hour we transferred picnic chairs and tables, Eskys and picnic baskets into the back of the ute (it was well filled). Those who felt unable to walk the last 2km to the summit climbed into a couple of cars. The young and enthusiastic, the active and the determined set off up the hill on the balls of their feet. The cars waited for stragglers, and then after finding out Margo was on her way, Ranger Tammy Schoo opened the gate and the vehicles (enjoying a very rare privilege) set off up the hill. The walkers were strung out depending on their physical abilities. It might be a sealed road, but it is steep. It has to be to reach the highest peak in the park. The … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Summer Newsletter, Activity Report

Advisory Group Report (s)

 

Margo

The AG has met twice since our last newsletter.

In October we looked in some detail at some of the challenges to  the environmental values of the Park.

The Brushtail Rock Wallaby Recovery Team gave us a depressing summary of the programme since it started in 2008. Although 39 animals have been released at the site, there are currently only 4 adults. Of the 9 births on site, none have survived to reproductive age. The causes of the deaths are not clearly understood; some probably predation, genetic weaknesses in the animals have been identified and new genetics introduced in more recent releases, and it is suspected that introducing new individuals to the group each time may have resulted in stress. The upshot is that no new releases will be made at the Moora site. For the next 10 years the team will concentrate on the wild population in … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Summer Newsletter, Meeting Report

Grampians Peak Trail

Margo

Those of you who read the VNPA’s magazine “Park Watch” will have seen that the trail’s first campground features on the front cover and will have read a lukewarm review of it. The criticisms of the campground are similar to those FOGG had (except that we liked the concept of a shared communal area, but thought it should incorporate a table) and are being taken on board for future campsites. People registering for the walk are being invited to give  their feedback. So far the main improvement people would like to see is drinking water, which is quite a challenge with almost no roof area to catch water. The PW article talks about the campsites on the higher areas, maybe having more permanent structures. So far I haven’t heard anything, but at the next AG meeting we will be having a detailed update and I’ll report on it next … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Summer Newsletter, Meeting Report

Round Table Report – 8 Dec 2015

Wendy Bedggood

At the final Roundtable meeting for the year we were presented with the government’s response to the Inspector General for Emergency Management (IGEM) recommendations on the report into the ‘Performance Targets for the Bushfire Fuel Management Program on Public Land’ which was carried out early in 2015.

It is difficult to summarise all that was presented at the meeting but for those who want more information documents are at the website delwp.vic.gov.au/safer-together Several of our local identities star in this document.

The Main points are:

  • The focus is changing from hectare based targets to fire risk reduction targets these are more subjective and a lot harder to measure.
  • As part of the new approach, fire and land managers will work with communities to involve them in decision making about bushfire management all year round.
  • Bushfire risk levels will be different across Victoria, and will be looked at at
Read the rest
Posted in 2016 Summer Newsletter, Meeting Report

Parks Victoria Staffing

Margo

Did you see the article in the Age on January 5? “State’s parks suffer after budget cuts”. The numbers are most distressing. “ direct funding from the state government has collapsed by37% over the past 3 years, from $122 million in 2011-12to $76.8 million in 2014-15. “ The Age report then discusses the effects of this, not only on the services and infrastructure, but on the morale of staff. It is so depressing for them.

Locally, although the money the new Peaks Trail brings in is helping with improving some of the existing tracks, the lack of funding for other important tasks, such as monitoring, rubbish collection and more is a real problem. It is something groups like ours must speak up about.… Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Summer Newsletter, Activity Report

Sallow Wattle

Wendy

At one of our meetings with parks staff last year Ryan suggested a possible project for FOGGs would be to photo monitor some areas of Sallow wattle. In the northern Grampians there has been an explotion of Sallow wattle since the January 2014 bushfires. There had been a survey for Sallow wattle in this area back in 2013 before the fires. From this survey we had photos and GPS points that had had been taken during the survey. It was hoped we could use some of these spots to continue monitoring. However the knowledge and technology to find these spots again proved beyond my capabilities so we decided to find new points in the same areas, Rodney and Wendy went out in early December and hammered in star pickets and took photos to get the project started. People who indicated last year they wanted to be part of this … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Summer Newsletter, Activity Report, Natural Values