Advisory Group – Oct 2016 and Nov 2016

The AG has met twice since our last newsletter.

20 October

Well, not really an AG meeting, but we were part of the annual fire conference. The main theme of the presentations was the ten years since the Mt Lubra fire: what had been learnt, what was different now, new challenges. Then we went out to look at some of the challenges surrounding the current fire plan. Some of the same material was presented at the Roundtable meeting that Wendy reports on in this newsletter, so I’ll try to be brief.

Police Superintendent Paul Margetts, who was stationed in Halls Gap in 2006 but has since been promoted to a senior position in Horsham, gave us a most appropriate quote from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also unique for their apparent Read the rest

Posted in 2017 Summer Newsletter, Meeting Report

Round Table Report – Nov 2016

The last Roundtable meeting for the year was held on 30th November and its focus was the upcoming planned burns.

There are several strategic burns planned to manage fuel loads and reduce bushfire risk for the Halls Gap community. In order to carry out these burns there will be a significant impact on the tourist industry and residents of Halls Gap.

There are a number of fires planned to be carried out over a couple of years and done in a way to give a patchwork effect on the bush and at the same time reduce the overall fuel loads. There was a lot of discussion on the lack of real time information on planned burns and how the lack of warning can impact on tourist operators. There needs to be a better way of getting information out to those in the tourist industry as well as the public. … Read the rest

Posted in 2017 Summer Newsletter, Meeting Report

Round Table Report

Nothing to report this time. Wendy was away for the last roundtable meeting and we did not have a representative. If there is any member who would be interested in attending these meetings as the FOGGs rep could they please let Rodney or Wendy know as we feel it would be good to keep our presence at these meetings, there are only 2 to 3 a year as well as the annual fire conference.

This years ‘Fire conference’ is being held at the Pomonal Hall on Thursday 20th October, the themes are ‘Ten years on from the Mt Lubra Bushfire’, ‘Safer together – A new approach’ and ‘Cross tenure Fuel management’. The day usually runs from around 9.30 am to 3 pm with a catered lunch. For further information and to RSVP contact Danielle Leehane at   Any FOGG member interested in … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Spring Newsletter, Meeting Report

Advisory Group

The group met on 29th August with once again a full agenda.

Fire Operations Plan – 2016 – 2019 and Safer Together introduction

 Glenn Rudolph of DELWP explained to us the philosophy of Risk Landscapes: using the best science and knowledge to think about fire risks in a changing environment due to climate change and other factors. The need to balance so many variables eg the minimum fire intervals different species need. The vital need to have and keep some really old unburnt areas, but to protect them you need to prevent fire occurring there or spreading in from elsewhere. Glenn demonstrated the way the computer modelling works by showing us various different ways a burn at Cassidy’s Gap would behave in conditions similar to Black Saturday if there were no preparatory control burns, and then with the recent burn having taken place. Then a similar exercise for a … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Spring Newsletter, Meeting Report

Meeting at Parks Office with Parks Representatives – 24/06/16

Rod Thompson

On the last Friday in June 2016, FOGG’s members had their annual catch up with Park Management. It was attended by 8 members and 3 rangers, Dave Roberts, Tammy and Ryan.

We were given a basic rundown of the structure of the management of the park, consisting of 2 teams. A park management team which includes Tammy, Ryan, Mark who have all been involved with FOGGs and our activities over the course of the last year. The park team has a total of 14 people under Dave himself. This is complemented by a Fire Management team of 13 staff. The two teams try to work together to manage various impacts, but have to diverge in some areas too. Caity will most likely be continuing in her position as the volunteer coordinator. This is 97% sure but Conservation Volunteers Australia need funding to match Parks Vic. who have funding … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Winter Newsletter, Activity Report, From Parks Victoria, Meeting Report

Committee Meeting February 2016

Membership fees At the AGM it was tabled that we discuss an increase in subscription fees at a committee meeting in time for the new membership year on 1 July 2016. The membership has been $10 since 2006 with various costs increasing markedly since then it was agreed we needed to increase membership fees. We also discussed whether to offer associate membership for those who just want to get the newsletter and don’t necessarily wish to be active members. However, we decided to just have 2 levels of ordinary membership being $20 for a single and $25 for a family (those living under the same roof). This level of membership will allow us to pay increasing insurance, postal and other running costs.

Activities for rest of year

A  proposed activity calendar was drawn up in order to be well organised and able to advertise our activities more widely in the … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Autumn Newsletter, Activity Report, Meeting Report

Student Presentation at February Meeting

Susannah Hale, a PhD student from Deakin University, spoke to us about the findings of a study on ‘The Effect of Fire and Climate on Small Mammals’. The study started after the 2006 Bushfires and has been running nine years. There were 36 study sites established and each are of 150 square metres. When surveying the sites, baited Elliot traps are used and are checked twice daily, captured animals being tagged, weighed and measured before release. Populations go through a boom and bust phase which are affected by the previous 18 months rainfall and the ‘time since fire’. In the years straight after fire, exotic species predominate. In the first year of the study, 85% of captures were exotics. The house mouse occupies areas quickly after fires and then declines. Four years after fire, 91% of captures were native species.

Small mammals respond strongly to ‘time since fire’; native species … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Autumn Newsletter, Activity Report, Meeting Report

Advisory Group Report

As usual, the March meeting of the AG had a very full agenda, which we struggled to complete. The main discussion was an update on the Grampians Peak trail.  Dave has mentioned in his piece just what a huge task this is, and now here is the somewhat more detailed presentation the AG were given. The money for the trail ( $30.2 million)  has to be spent by September 2019 so there is a real urgency now. The finished track will be 144km long (61km existing track, 83km new), with 10 hiker camps, 1 new school camp, several trail heads and carparks, with waymarking, interpretative signage, link and maintenance tracks. In addition an online booking system and phone apps need to be developed. A massive task. At this stage no funding has been set aside for maintenance equipment and facilities (such as quad bikes to service the camp sites) and … Read the rest

Posted in 2016 Autumn Newsletter, Activity Report, Meeting 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