It is with great sadness that last week saw the passing of Graeme “Shonky” Sherger. Shonky was a long standing member of the Halls Gap team as was his father before him. He was involved in many aspects of park management but in particular he was involved in machinery use in the park, whether building campgrounds, grading roads or incredible work on the fireline. Our thoughts are with Danielle and family at this time.
Work on the Grampians Peaks Trail is continuing as we get closer to a Spring opening and it was great to have the Grampians Advisory Group out on site at one of the new day walks and to a campground to share what really was part of their vision for this park.
The management plan is in finally stages of reviewing all the feedback and providing a final version for the Project Control Group which includes our traditional owner partners before it is presented to the Parks Victoria Board. We do not have a launch date as yet due to so many other things happening in the government and parks worlds but hopefully by the end of this year we will have a new plan to guide us for the next 15 years. Thank you to everyone who has provided comments and discussions and I am hopefully we have developed a plan for the future that will protect this amazing place for generations to enjoy well into the future.
More bits from Rhonda:
Some great news to share with you all during these challenging times. We had an amazing capture on site 28 . A southern brown bandicoo.t. This is the first one we have caught since 2013 on any of our sites. So over 56,000 trap nights since the last one we have caught. Also, due to fires etc, this is the first time we have ever caught one on site 28. The resilience of our small mammal population never ceases to amaze me. This highlights once again the importance of these long term research programs which are coordinated and support at the local level.
More good news Marlenne Rodriguez Malagon has accepted the Team Leader Environment position until end of August 2021 which is great as she brings a large amount of environmental work experience from across the world and a great personality as well. Hopefully during this time we can advertise the position ongoing as we absolutely need it as the success of the research below is due to having this position in the park.
Grampians Ark position: we hope to advertise this shortly as an ongoing position after so many years of short term contracts so very exciting, Dylan Sortino will continue to act in the position until we have this position filled.
Biodiversity Response Program Coordinator we hope to advertise shortly to back fill for Marlenne, Kailee Savoia is currently acting in this role.
Feral cat program: unfortunately we were unable to get a permit to undertake this years aerial baiting program so we are working on our permit application for next year based on the feedback from DELWP. We were hoping to have two of our staff down on French Island this week to offside their aerial baiting program ( first in the state) but unfortunately due to covid they will be monitoring remotely. This will also help us deliver our own program next year.
Sallow Wattle program: we are lucky enough to have three staff with us Dianna, Kristina and Tom who will be with us until September this year which is a great help to truly determine a program for ongoing sallow wattle removal.
We have been told we will get further funding for the Biodiversity Response Programs and the Grampians Ark so Marlenne and I will be busy just making sure we have all the paperwork in order so we can focus on getting the great work on the ground undertaken.
As always the whole team are doing an incredible job across the park , grading roads, cleaning facilities, signage , maps and onground works to be ready for the Grampians Peaks Trail opening later this year and working with our amazing volunteers. We couldn’t believe it but in we had the Golton Gorge opening all planned for the fourth time and had to postpone once again. We hope we will soon get to recognise and thank the amazing volunteers for this work.