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2011-12 summary of RCL activities

posted 16 Aug 2012, 12:58 by Narelle Sutton   [ updated 17 Aug 2012, 19:30 by Russell Best ]

President's Report from 2012 AGM

Welcome and Thank You

Welcome everyone to the 2012 AGM of Riddells Creek Landcare.

Firstly I want to thank all of our members, for without their support Riddells Creek Landcare would not exist.

Most importantly, I want to thank the 2011-2012 committee for their passion and commitment to ensuring the protection, monitoring and management of our local environment. Without them we would achieve nothing! Gill Best, our secretary, Jacquey Booth our treasurer, our immediate past president Russell Best and general committee members David Francis, Ian McLean and Ross Colliver.

Communication

The ways we are now communicating with our members and the community are via the RCL email broadcast lists, our website and Facebook page. Our ‘rclmembers’ email broadcast is used within our membership to inform everyone of upcoming events, or for those without email they receive it via conventional post. We also encourage our members to use this email address to share their sightings or interesting facts they come across about our local environment. This has often generated discussions with a number of members sharing their curiosity, experience and knowledge. At this stage, these shared experiences have taken over from the traditional newsletter RCL published, which at the end of last year we decided to stop producing.

 We also communicate our activities and upcoming events via our website (www.riddellscreeklandcare.org.au) and continue to archive committee documentation on our committee website.

Our Facebook page now has 20 Likes and we mostly use this to inform people of our upcoming events. We have had people post on our site, including uploading photos of moths they had seen. We have been able to reach out to the wider community not targeted by our traditional local advertising, with people attending some of our talks after seeing the advertising only on Facebook.

We also produced a new brochure this year and have mailed this out to all of Riddells Creek. With an increasing and changing community we felt it was an effective way to introduce ourselves, this has been successful in recruiting three new memberships to date.

We also communicate our events to the wider community in Riddell Roundup and by placing flyers on community noticeboards around Riddells Creek and Gisborne.

Another way we promote the group and our interest in flora has been the production of RCL’s book “Macedon Range Flora: A photographic guide to Barrm Birrm”. It is still selling copies today, I’ll leave the details of that to Jacquey in her report later. Since production of the book in 2008 which saw 208 native plants photographed, RCL members have increased this number to 239 and these can be viewed via NatureShare under the ‘Native Plants of Barrm Birrm, Riddells Creek’ Collections page.

Projects

Riddells Creek Landcare has many projects on the go, including NatureShare, endangered species management, Barrm Birrm protection, community education and information including our walks and talks, flora and fauna surveys, weed eradication and WaterWatch.

NatureShare

As you would be aware, NatureShare was launched in August last year after a huge amount of effort and inspiration from Russell Best and Reily Beacom. Since its launch, there has been a lot of input from the wider community and in the last year nearly 400 new species, 2800 observation and 60 collections have been added. This data contributes to our knowledge and appreciation of our Victorian flora and fauna.

 Barrm Birrm protection

Barrm Birrm protection was the instigation for the formation of Riddells Creek Landcare. In 2005 ‘A Statement of Significance’ was prepared by Lachlan Milne and Russell Best to characterise and clarify the importance of this parcel of land. In 2009 Stylidium armeria subsp. pilosifolium (Hairy-leaf Triggerplant) was discovered and formally named by RCL members Russell Best and David Francis along with botanist Neville Walsh, adding weight to the significance of this area. In 2009 RCL made a submission to Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s (MRSC) discussion on the inappropriate subdivision of the Riddells Ranges Estate at their council meeting. Council made 5 recommendations, two of which are of particular interest and which still require follow up from RCL. Firstly, that Council requests the State Government to explore the possibility of the acquisition of the land in the estate, to add to the other flora and fauna reserves in the area and secondly that Council refer to the next budget, consideration of a funding allocation for the purposes of an expert study of the subject land. Both of these motions still require further action and RCL will be following these up more rigorously over the next year. RCL will continue to remove rubbish and weeds, and we will continue to monitor to the flora and fauna, weeds, erosion, traffic and rubbish throughout Barrm Birrm.

Endangered Species Management

Our endangered plant management project focuses mainly on the rail reserves. The threatened and endangered plant species we are trying to protect include Diuris punctata var. punctata,  Dianella amoena,  Geranium sp.1, Senecio cunninghamii var. Cunninghamii and the fauna species include  Trapezites luteus luteus and Jalmenus icilius. To date we have been unsuccessful in our funding applications to implement this management plan, but will be applying for funding again as opportunities arise. We have also found it difficult to obtain quotes for this work and VicRail puts restrictions on access to the sites, further complicating action. We also need to negotiate the work we do at these sites with the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

David and Russell conducted the yearly Diuris punctata survey in November 2011. During this survey only 8 plants were recorded, down from 90 last year. 

A huge thank you to New Gisborne Primary School for their support of our endangered plant program. Grade 3 students, Tyra, Emily, Molly, Jessica-Rose, Eliza, and Jessica wanted to help out their local endangered flora and so organised a fundraiser "Green and Yellow Day".  On Thursday 29th March 2012 students and staff were able to wear green and yellow free dress for a gold coin donation and raised over $465.

New species sightings over the past year include flora in Barrm Birrm, Senecio picridioids, Senecio microbasis, Viola hederacea ssp. Seppeltiana, Acacia implexa and Hakea laurina and on the rail reserve Geranium species nulimbik. Butterflies (Pseudalmenus chlorinda zephyrus (Silky Hairstreak), Signetta flammeata (Shield Skipper) and Heteronympha penelope penelope (Shouldered Brown)), the dargonfly (Adversaeschna brevistyla (Blue-spotted Hawker)), moths (Maxates centrophylla, Spilosoma curvata, Chrysodeixis argentifera and Circopetes obtusata) and birds (Sittella (Mt Tenerife), Australian Grebe and Buff-banded Rail). I was also fortunate enough to be involved in a platypus survey along Riddells Creek and observe the capture, monitoring and release of a young fit male. A second male was found later in the evening.

Community Education and Information

Talks

We have hosted 4 talks over the past year. In September 2011 James Booth educated us on the snakes and reptiles around Riddells Creek and gave us advice on what to do if we come across one of these beauties. Also in September we co-hosted a workshop at the Riddells Creek Farmers Market with our Jacksons Creek EcoNetwork (JCEN) partners titled “Friend or Foe: Can you tell the difference?” It was an informative morning trying tell the difference between native grasses and serrated tussock and chiliean needle grass. Those who worked it out were able to take a plant or two home.

 In November 2011 Peter Marriott educated us on moths and topped the night off with a practical experience of how to observe moths.  Also in November we held another practical workshop looking at the “Life in Our Creeks”. Sam Harrison from Melbourne Water guided us through collecting and sorting macro-invertebrates in both Riddells and Sandy Creeks. We had a great time and this was topped off by the results of our assessment of the different species of macro-invertebrates in our creeks indicating that our creeks are in pretty good health, with many ‘very sensitive bugs’ thriving in our waters.

 Walks

Russell has led two very successful and well attended community walks over the last year. In October 2011 we looked at the bushfood of Barrm Birrm. We got to taste a little and discover their uses as food and medicine. Each walker received a laminated sheet with all the information.  In March 2012 we enjoyed a new area of Riddells Creek, and took a walk through Mt Charlie, a pleasant way to spend the afternoon!

Clean Up Australia Day

In March 2012 we participated once again in the Clean Up Australia Day in Barrm Birrm. Thanks to 11 volunteers who spent the morning picking up rubbish to keep our bush clean and safe for both ourselves and our wildlife. We are happy to report that each year the volume of rubbish decreases but of course there are always those who use it as a dump for household furniture and appliances. We are grateful to MRSC for collecting these dump sites and the rubbish we collect.

Landholder Schemes

Information about schemes landholders can apply for are advertised on our website and include the Melbourne Water Stream Frontage Program, Trust for Nature and Land for Wildlife. Many of our members participate and benefit from these programs.

Rid Riddell of Weeds

We are continuing our weeding efforts on public land in Riddells Creek. Through funding provided by MRSC we have be able to continue our partnership with Greening of Riddell to eradicate outbreaks of Carpet weed/Blanket Weed (Galenia pubescens) as they are observed by the community.  We are also tackling other weed areas.

WaterWatch

Over the past year I have been analysing the chemical characteristics of Riddells Creek to monitor the health of the waterway. I would like to thank Greening of Riddell for allowing me to share their equipment until RCL was able to get their own at the start of this year. Overall the health of Riddells Creek is looking good and correlates with the macro-invertebrate study we did and the observation of platypus. More detailed results can be viewed on our website along with those collected by our JCEN partners.

 Grants

We have been successful in receiving funds for weed control, $700 from MRSC and $500 from Port Phillip and Westernport CMA (PPWCMA) to help with administrative costs, which we use to help cover the cost of insurance for our members. Over the next year we will continue our efforts to receive funding to implement our Rail Reserve Management Plan and hopefully again receive the same level of support from both MRSC and PPWCMA.

 Political Activity

RCL is a member of the JCEN, a network of 11 Landcare and Friends groups. This network allows us to keep in touch with other natural resource management groups more effectively. With the other Landcare and Friends groups in the area we can coordinate events, projects, political activism and funding opportunities with greater effect. It also gives us a greater voice with organisations such as Melbourne Water, PPWCMA and MRSC. We also have representation in Riddells Creek Sustainability and Transition Town Riddell. RCL also has a presence at the Riddells Creek Farmers Market and at the CFA expos.

 RCL has also been active in preparing submissions for the Urban Growth Boundary, and we will be preparing a submission for the Riddells Creek Town Structure Plan Issue Paper.

 What can we look forward to over the next twelve months?

·      Barrm Birrm protection: continuing to lobby MRSC to fulfil their commitment to request the State Government to explore the possibility of the acquisition of the land in the estate, to add to the other flora and fauna reserves in the area and to carry out an experty study of the land.

·      NatureShare: continue to encourage community involvment and watch NatureShare evolve.

·      Community education and information: more walks and talks, Clean up Australia Day and WaterWatch, more involvment with local schools.

·      Species monitoring and protection: continue monitoring our local enviornment for new species and changes to species populations. Source funds to implement the Rail Reserve Manangement Plan.

·      Rid Riddell of Weeds: continued efforts on weed control.

·      Wildlife Corridor: continue lobbying for the establishment of a wildlife corridor from Macedon Park to Conglomerate Gully.

·      Grant applications: source funds to support our projects.

 

What’s coming up over the next few months?

·      Landcare Facilitator: JCEN and Upper Deep Creek Landcare Network have been successful in securing funds to employ a Landcare Facilitator. This person will assist all groups within these two networks to increase their capacity to apply for funds, plan for and implement on-ground works, events and workshops, engage primary schools and more.

·      We are negotiating the purchase of still cameras, video and audio equipment to increase our efforts in monitoring our local inhabitants. RCL members will have the opportunity to set these up on their own properties to see what treasures they have in their own backyards.

·      Community Wattle Walk in Barrm Birrm on Sunday 2nd September at 2pm.

·      Spring walk in Barrm Birrm for RCL and APS Mitchell members only. Saturday 27th October.

·      End of year get together for RCL members. November

 

Once again I want to thank the RCL committee, Gill, Jacquey, Russell, David, Ian and Ross, for all their hard work over the past year in continuing the effort to preserve and protect our local environment.

                                      

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