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Protecting biodiversity in the Upper Richmond River

Exotic vine weeds such as Madeira vine, Cats claw creeper, moth vine and balloon vine are having a significant adverse effect on biodiversity and catchment water quality in the Richmond River. Supported by North Coast Local Land Services with funding from the National Landcare Programme, Northern Landcare Support Services is targeting these exotic weeds in the upper reaches of the Richmond River.
Tara Patel, from Northern Landcare Support Services said, “This activity is just one part of a larger project focussing on working with landcare networks to improve the biodiversity and sustainability of our headwaters. “These vine plants grow very quickly, smothering and replacing the native vegetation and they can produce a blanket of vegetation preventing anything else from germinating, decreasing biodiversity and posing a huge threat to catchment health.

Read more: Targeting Vine weeds in the Upper Richmond 

If you can't walk through your forest then you can't manage it!

EcoPigs could be the answer.

Noah Neilsen, member of Kyogle Landcare Group, has been using pigs to assist him with landscape restoration for over a decade. He shares his experience within the article below.

"Over ten years ago, I started using pigs to clear weed-infested areas.  It began with clearing small areas of old orchards, overgrown gardens and converting a few acres of lantana-infested gullies into small paddocks.  Over the years, I refined the management techniques so as to use the EcoPigs as a very positive forest regeneration method.
Our property at Barkers Vale has been hit hard by Bell Bird Affected Dieback (BMAD).The BMAD started in one corner of the 230 acre property back in the early 1990s, and has since spread over the entire area of wet sclerophyll forest. We have had this family farm for over 40 years with 70% set aside to naturally regenerate and it did.  But then, BMAD started and has tragically decimated much of the stringy bark, grey gum, ironbark, blue gum and bloodwood overstory.  As the overstory died, the already healthy lantana invaded with gusto.
As a researcher, my response was to delve into as much literature and research that I could find on BMAD. While the exact causes of BMAD are multifaceted, several themes emerge around the bell birds themselves, as well as psyllids, soil microbes and nutrients, fire and lantana/weeds. I could see that the bell birds were nesting in the lantana, crofton weed and other low native shrubs. Moving through the forest was actually one of the major problems: how could I manage this forest if I couldn’t walk through it?

Read more: Innovative Bush Regeneration using Ecopigs 

Resilient people - Resilient landsacpes 

Landcare is about ensuring a healthy and sustainable landscape. However, Landcare is just as much about people as it is about the land. Our capacity to get the balance right in managing the land to meet the needs of our growing population and sustaining all the ecosystem services that we depend all hinges on our social capital and the wellbeing of our Landcarer’s.
The simple act of engaging with Landcare can contribute to a sense of connectedness both to nature and to community. A National Landcare Program report highlighted that “Landcare and NRM not only provide an avenue for a very real connection with the natural environment, but also lead to increased social networking and participation - both which can contribute to physical and mental well-being”. This report, a great exploration of the multiple benefits of Landcare, can be downloaded here.
Sometimes however life may seem too tough or time to tight to stretch out to participate in Landcare activities. The Northern Rivers Social Development Council offers a huge range of services that can support the health and wellbeing of our Landcarer’s and our broader communities. Too much to mention here – take a look at their website www.nrsdc.org.au
One NRSDC training event that may be of interest to Landcare Groups is the upcoming workshop on Measuring Social Impact on the 3rd and 4th of August. Click here for more information

Calling on Schools to support World Environment Day

Landcare Australia is asking every Australia primary and secondary school to take a few simple steps during the first week of June to demonstrate #Action4theLand:

Step 1 – Go Green for a day! Hold a school mufti day and have the students wear something green, dress head to toe in green, or wear a green themed costume for a day. Encourage the students to be as creatively green as they can!

Step 2 – Fundraise. Once your students are decked out in green, ask them to donate a gold coins to raise funds.

Step 3 – Complete an #Action4theLand challenge. Plant some native trees or pull up weeds in school garden beds, have a school recycling drive, or maybe run a colouring in competition or an environmental trivia challenge. 

Step 4 – Share some pictures. Take some pictures of what your school achieves on the day, and share them on social media using the hashtags #Action4theLand and #Kids4theLand.

Step 5 – Celebrate your achievement with a morning or afternoon tea treat. Lamingtons and Scones work a treat – or maybe ask parents to send in some green cupcakes.

Your photos will then be automatically captured and featured on our #Action4theLand Wall - where you can check out all the activities being done by individuals, companies and schools right around the nation.

Step 6 - Don’t stop there! There are hundreds ways your school can take #Action4theLand and demonstrate its commitment to protect the land and water that sustains us.

Every dollar you raise by taking part in the #Action4theLand campaign will make a real difference, by directly supporting Landcare groups and projects across Australia.

Register your school for #Action4theLand and go in the drawto win one of two $500 Junior Landcare grants to build a sustainable veggiegarden. All you need to do is register, fundraise and take a picture using theLandcare hands to have your chance of winning!

Click here
for more information

IPART approves special rate variation for Lismore City Council's Biodiversity Management Strategy

The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has announced that Lismore City Council’s application for a special rate variation to fund the Biodiversity Management Strategy has been successful. The variation will result in a 3.6% rate increase for ratepayers in the 2016/17 year, which includes 1.8% to fund Council’s Biodiversity Management Strategy and the 1.8% rate peg that is available to all NSW councils.

In the first year the rate increase will raise $500,000 to implement the Biodiversity Management Strategy, and subsequent years will be subject to rate pegging. Council's 2016/17 draft budget includes the introduction of the rate increase from 1 July 2016 for ratepayers in three rating categories: Residential, Rural Residential and Farmland.

IPART’s determination report found that Council had met the criteria for a rate rise, including the fact that its purpose reflected community priorities, the community was made aware of the proposed rate rise, the increase is ‘modest and reasonable’ and Council had demonstrated productivity savings. The report said that Council had not always communicated the full extent of the rate increase, but “on balance, the council has met this criterion”. Council undertook a second community consultation during the application process to rectify this and ensure the full extent of the rate rise and the impact of rate pegging over time was communicated to the community.

Read more: Lismore LGA special rate variation approved

Suez Community Grants

SUEZ provide small grants of up to $15,000 to community groups to help create a more sustainable future. The program will partner with organisations that fit with the core philosophy of Suez as supporting local participation in social and environmental projects and build strong thriving communities.

2016 Applications opened until 16 May.  Click here for more information.

May 9th is the deadline for abstracts for the National Landcare Conference

On behalf of the 2016 National Landcare Conference, Landcare Australia is pleased to call for the submission of abstracts for conference presentations. The conference, to be held between 21 and 23 September 2016 at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, will centre around conference theme 'Collaborative Communities - Landcare in Action'.
Presenters should look to showcase the Landcare movement's approach to natural resource management and sustainable agriculture. We seek presentations for the concurrent session streams:
  •          Climate Impacts and Responses
  •          Community Engagement
  •          Landscape Challenges and Responses
  •          Collaboration and Innovation

Anyone involved with the Landcare movement is eligible to submit an abstract. Click here for details

Local Land Services - North Coast

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