March 19 - 25, 2017: Issue 305

Bird Walks and Talks 2017: PNHA

Come and see and hear some of our fantastic native birds, many of which you'll never see in your garden. Join in a Sunday guided bird walk with Pittwater Natural Heritage Association. All walks  start at 8am and end about 10am.

March 26, Irrawong reserve. Meet at corner Irrawong Rd and  Epworth Rd.
May 28, Warriewood Wetlands, meet at End of Katoa Close, north Narrabeen.
August 27 Chiltern Track. Meet at gate, off northern of Chiltern Rd Ingleside.
September 17 Irrawong reserve. Meet at corner Irrawong Rd and Epworth Rd.
November 26 Warriewood Wetlands. Meet end of Katoa Close, north Narrabeen. 

Bring binoculars if possible. Drink, hat and comfortable shoes.
More information contact pnhabirdwatching@gmail.com or 
Ph Kerry on 0402605 721.

You don't need to book but if we know you're coming we'll watch out for you. Call if in doubt about weather as we won't go out if it's raining.


Call to local councils as floodplain management grants open for applications

Media release: 16 March 2017
Grant funding to assist councils in carrying out floodplain management projects to help manage flood risk open for applications today, announced the NSW Government.

The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Executive Director Ian Hunter said grant funding is available to assist local government with flood studies, flood risk management studies and plans and major projects such as flood levees, gates, warning systems and house raising and purchase in high risk areas, under the 2017-18 Floodplain Management Program.

“This grant program funds important projects that assess risk and help reduce flood impacts across NSW,” Mr Hunter said.

“I encourage local councils to apply for this funding round. Applications close on 27 April 2017.

“The last funding round supported forty-four projects which shared $6.72 million.

“This grant program supports the implementation of the NSW Flood Prone Land Policy which aims to reduce the impacts of flooding and flood liability on communities,” Mr Hunter said.

Local councils, county councils and other government bodies with floodplain risk management responsibilities (refer to program guidelines) equivalent to those of local councils are eligible to apply.

Further information and application forms are available here: 

More large-scale solar farms coming to NSW

March 16, 2017: Media Release - The Hon. Anthony Roberts, Minister for Planning and Housing
Twelve new renewable solar power projects, including what could be the largest in the southern hemisphere, are in NSW's planning pipeline. 
If approved, the proposed solar farms will generate:
  • more than 1000 megawatts of solar capacity, which is enough clean energy supply to power 365,000 homes across NSW
  • jobs in regional NSW at Gilgandra, Hillston, Narrabri, Armidale, Coleambally, Gulgong, Walgett, Jemalong, Balranald, Nyngan and Hay.
Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts said NSW was continuing to lead with solar research and innovation, in order to reach the national renewable energy target of 23.5 per cent by 2020.

“The 1000 megawatts is on top of the 660 megawatts that will be generated by 11 other solar farms that the NSW Government has already given the green light since 2011,” Mr Roberts said.

Three large-scale solar plants in regional NSW are currently operating, at Nyngan, Moree and Broken Hill.

The Nyngan solar farm is currently the biggest operating plant in the southern hemisphere, generating 106 megawatts for 32,000 homes. It has also created 250 construction jobs and provided $330 million in investment.

The proposed Sunraysia solar farm at Balranald, in the Riverina, is expected to produce double the solar energy of Nyngan.

Solar projects across NSW

Operational
Solar farms that are up and running:
Nyngan Solar Farm
Moree Solar Farm
Broken Hill Solar Farm

Approved
Solar farms approved by the NSW Government since 2011:

Bogan River Solar Farm in Nyngan
Capital Solar Farm in Bungendore
Manildra Solar Farm
Riverina Solar Farm in Yoogali
Griffith Solar Farm in Yoogali
White Rock Solar Farm in Matheson
Parkes Solar Farm
Goonumbla Solar Farm in Parkes

Proposed
Solar farms proposed by the NSW Government in 2017:

Sunraysia Solar Farm (Balranald Council)
Gilgandra Solar Farm (Gilgandra Council)
Narrabri Solar Farm (Narrabri Council)
Metz Solar Farm (Armidale Dumaresq Council)
Hillston Solar Farm (Carrathool Council)
Limondale Solar Farm (Balranald Council)
Nevertire Solar Farm (Warren Council)
Walgett Solar Farm (Walgett Council)
Hay Solar Farm (Hay Council)
Coleambally Solar Farm (Murrumbidgee Council)
Jemalong Solar Farm (Forbes Shire Council)
Beryl Solar Farm (Mid-Western Regional Council)
More information

Public comment open: dolphin mitigation strategies for the SPF and SESSF

15 March 2017: AFMA
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is seeking comments on two draft strategies with the objective of minimising interactions between commercial fishing and dolphins.

AFMA is required to minimise interactions with protected species, while the Commonwealth commercial fishing industry is required to take all reasonable steps to avoid interactions with protected species. The SPF and Gillnet Dolphin Mitigation Strategies are aimed at pursuing these objectives.

The new strategies have a broad scope and incorporate all SPF trawl methods and the entire Gillnet Fishery. They also apply a consistent set of principles for managing dolphin interactions that are consistent with bycatch principles approved by the AFMA Commission in pursuit of AFMA’s objectives.

Public comment on both draft strategies will close on 12 April 2017.


Call for public comment on draft seabird Threat Abatement Plan

15th March 2017
Public comment is now being sought on the draft Threat abatement plan for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations (Threat abatement plan for incidental catch of seabirds). The public consultation period is open until 30 June 2017.

The draft Threat abatement plan for incidental catch of seabirds provides a national strategy to guide the activities of government, industry and research organisations in abating the impact of oceanic longline fishing operations on seabirds in Commonwealth fisheries.

The consultation paper and related documents are available on the Department of the Environment and Energy website. Your comments on this consultation paper are welcome.

Further information about the existing Threat abatement plan 2014 for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations is available at the Threat Abatement Plan – seabirds page


A black-browed albatross with chick, on Macquarie Island. (Photo: Kim Kliska)

Corroboree frog habitat trial is a hop in the right direction

Media release: 17 March 2017- NPWS
More than 300 Southern Corroboree Frogs were released into remote enclosures in Kosciuszko National Park yesterday as part of a massive effort to save this critically endangered species.

Gabriel Wilks from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) said the frogs were successfully placed into specially-constructed frog enclosures within the park as part of efforts to return healthy populations of this species back into the wild.

“The newly built enclosures are in very remote locations in the national park where these frogs were once found,” Ms Wilks said.

“The eight specially constructed enclosures are 7 meters in diameter and essentially look like a bottomless swimming pool with native vegetation, logs and small ponds placed inside.

“Designing the enclosures to ensure the frogs and their mini-ecosystems remain healthy and survive the extreme weather conditions has been a challenge.

“Similar enclosures have been installed throughout Kosciusko National Park as part of a long term recovery plan to save this iconic species, but we’ve never before attempted to place them in such a remote area.

“The specialist skills and local knowledge of the NPWS Landforms and Rehabilitation Team was vital to work out how habitat and irrigation requirements could actually be achieved in the field.

NPWS Field officer Joel Fordham is part of the crew that constructed the enclosures and described these new frog homes as ‘move-in-ready’ for the tiny black and yellow striped frog.

“The enclosures are like frog resorts - ponds will have water in summer for breeding, the right vegetation for habitat shelter, plenty of ants for food and timber slabs for winter retreats,” Mr Fordham said.

The construction of these enclosures was funded by the Australian Government through the Threatened Species Strategy and is part of a long term recovery plan to save this iconic species.

The frogs that were released yesterday were bred in captivity by the Taronga Zoo and Zoo Victoria. 

Earlier trials with frog enclosures have already shown promising results with breeding observed at other locations.

For more information on efforts to save the iconic Southern Corroboree Frog in NSW, visit the Saving our Species.



Top: One of the specially constructed enclosures, Above: corroboree frogs are 2.5-3cms in length!. Photos courtesy NPWS and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

Thirsty mangroves cause unprecedented dieback

March 14, 2017: James Cook University
A James Cook University scientist has discovered why there was an unprecedented dieback of mangroves in the Gulf of Carpentaria in early 2016 -- the plants died of thirst.

Dr Norman Duke, leader of JCU's Mangrove Research hub, headed an investigation into the massive mangrove dieback. The findings were published in the Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research.

The scientists used aerial observations and satellite mapping data of the area dating back to 1972, combined with weather and climate records.

Dr Duke said they found three factors came together to produce the unprecedented dieback of 7400 hectares of mangroves, which stretched for 1000 kilometres along the Gulf coast.

"From 2011 the coastline had experienced below-average rainfalls, and the 2015/16 drought was particularly severe. Secondly the temperatures in the area were at record levels and thirdly some mangroves were left high and dry as the sea level dropped about 20cm during a particularly strong El Nino."

Dr Duke says this was enough to produce what scientists regard as the largest recorded incident of its kind, and the worst instance of likely climate-related dieback of mangroves ever reported.

"Essentially, they died of thirst," he said.

Dr Duke said scientists now know that mangroves, like coral reefs, are vulnerable to changes in climate and extreme weather events.

He said the mangroves of Australia's Gulf region have experienced relatively little anthropogenic impact and are considered the least altered mangrove ecosystems in the world.

"So the relative dominance of climate influences in this region is of critical interest to world observers of environmental responses to climate change."

Dr Duke said the area is sparsely populated, with passing fisherman and scientists conducting unrelated work the first to notice the dieback.

"It took 4-5 months to come to the attention of mangrove tidal wetland specialists and managers. Our response to this event further involves training and equipping Indigenous rangers and local community volunteers to build local partnerships for rigorous and repeated shoreline assessments."

"We cannot afford to be caught out like this again!" said Dr Duke. "The Gulf dieback has been a wakeup call for action on shoreline monitoring. We urgently need a national shoreline monitoring program commensurate with our global standing. We have the specialists, we have the resources, and we know there is interest and concern amongst the Australian public."

To progress this further, Australia's top specialists and managers will review the situation at a dedicated workshop during next week's Australian Mangrove and Saltmarsh Network annual conference in Hobart, hosted by the University of Tasmania and CSIRO.

"The aim of Australia's specialist network is to apply intelligent, innovative and considered responses, as fully expected by the public, to improve and disseminate informed understandings of the changes taking place in high value natural resources such as Australia's coastal tidal wetland habitats," Dr Duke said.

Norman C. Duke, John M. Kovacs, Anthony D. Griffiths, Luke Preece, Duncan J. E. Hill, Penny van Oosterzee, Jock Mackenzie, Hailey S. Morning, Damien Burrows. Large-scale dieback of mangroves in Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research, 2017; DOI: 10.1071/MF16322

Hydrogen on demand

March 13, 2017
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new approach to the production of hydrogen from water using solar energy. In findings published in Nature Materials, the researchers explain that this approach will make it possible to produce hydrogen in a centralized manner at the point of sale (for example, at a gas station for electric cars fueled by hydrogen) located far from the solar farm. The new technology is expected to significantly reduce the cost of producing the hydrogen and shipping it to the customer.

(from left) Professor Gideon Grader, Ms. Avigail Landman, Prof. Avner Rothschild
The study was led by Avigail Landman, a doctoral student in the Nancy & Stephen Grand Technion Energy Program (GTEP), and Dr. Hen Dotan from the Electrochemical Materials & Devices Lab. Ms. Landman is working on her doctorate under the guidance of Prof. Avner Rothschild from the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering, and Prof. Gideon Grader, Dean of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering.

Hydrogen is considered one of the most promising energy carriers for vehicles and various other uses because of its salient advantages:

1. Hydrogen can be produced from water, and therefore production does not depend on access to non-renewable natural resources.

2. Using hydrogen fuel would reduce the dependence on fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas, whose availability depends on geographical, political and other factors, and would increase the energy available to Earth's population.

3. Unlike diesel and gasoline engines that emit considerable pollution into the air, the only byproduct of hydrogen fuel utilization is water.

Because of the advantages of hydrogen fuel, many countries -- led by Japan, Germany and the United States -- are investing vast sums of money in programs for the development of environmentally friendly ("green") technologies for the production of hydrogen. Most hydrogen is currently produced from natural gas in a process that emits carbon dioxide into the air, but it is also possible to produce hydrogen from water by splitting the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen in a process called electrolysis. However, since electricity production itself is an expensive and polluting process, researchers at the Technion and around the world are developing a photoelectrochemical (PEC) cell that utilizes solar energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen directly, without the need for external power source.

The main challenges in the development of PEC solar farms for the production of hydrogen are 1.) keeping the hydrogen and the oxygen separate from each other, 2.) collecting the hydrogen from millions of PEC cells, and 3.) transporting the hydrogen to the point of sale. The Technion team solved these challenges by developing a new method for PEC water splitting. With this method, the hydrogen and oxygen are formed in two separate cells -- one that produces hydrogen, and another that produces oxygen. This is in contrast to the conventional method, in which the hydrogen and oxygen are produced within the same cell, and separated by a thin membrane that prevents them from intermixing and forming a flammable and explosive mixture.

The new process allows geographic separation between the solar farm consisting of millions of PEC cells that produce oxygen exclusively, and the site where the hydrogen is produced in a centralized, cost-effective and efficient manner. They accomplished this with a pair of auxiliary electrodes made of nickel hydroxide, an inexpensive material used in rechargeable batteries, and a metal wire connecting them.

"In the present article, we describe a new method for producing hydrogen through the physical separation of hydrogen production and oxygen production," says Ms. Landman. "According to our cost estimate, our method could successfully compete with existing water splitting methods and serve as a cheap and safe platform for the production of hydrogen."

But that's not all. As stated, the vision of the Technion researchers is geographic separation between the sites where the oxygen and hydrogen are produced: at one site, there will be a solar farm that will collect the sun's energy and produce oxygen, while hydrogen is produced in a centralized manner at another site, miles away. Thus, instead of transporting compressed hydrogen from the production site to the sales point, it will only be necessary to swap the auxiliary electrodes between the two sites. Economic calculations performed in collaboration with research fellows from Evonik Creavis GmbH and the Institute of Solar Research at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), indicate the potential for significant savings in the setup and operating costs of hydrogen production.

In October, Ms. Landman won first place in the energy category in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition held in Australia. At the competition, held on the initiative of the University of Queensland, participants are required to present groundbreaking research in just three minutes. To watch Ms. Landman's presentation, click here.

The method developed at the Technion for separating hydrogen production and oxygen production was the basis for the development of new two-stage electrolysis technology. This technology, which was developed by Dr. Hen Dotan, enables hydrogen production at high pressure and with unprecedented efficiency, thus significantly reducing hydrogen production costs. The new technology is now in its pre-industrial development stage.

Avigail Landman, Hen Dotan, Gennady E. Shter, Michael Wullenkord, Anis Houaijia, Artjom Maljusch, Gideon S. Grader, Avner Rothschild. Photoelectrochemical water splitting in separate oxygen and hydrogen cells. Nature Materials, 2017; DOI: 10.1038/nmat4876

Boaty McBoatface submersible prepares to dive into the abyss on first Antarctic mission

March 13, 2017

Autosub long range "Boaty McBoatface". Credit: National Oceanography Centre

Boaty McBoatface is joining ocean scientists from the University of Southampton and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on an expedition to study some of the deepest and coldest abyssal ocean waters on earth -- known as Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) -- and how they affect climate change.

The team of researchers, alongside engineers from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), will assess water flow and underwater turbulence in the Orkney Passage, a region of the Southern Ocean around 3,500m deep and roughly 500 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula.

They will use one of the Autosub Long Range class of unmanned submersibles, the latest type of autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) developed by the NOC, now known as Boaty McBoatface, following last year's campaign by the Natural Environment Research Council to name the UK's new polar research ship. While the ship will be named after famous naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, the popular winner of the contest -- Boaty McBoatface -- lives on in the form of a unmanned submersible that is now embarking on its first Antarctic research mission.

The DynOPO (Dynamics of the Orkney Passage Outflow) expedition will travel to the Southern Ocean aboard the BAS research ship RRS James Clark Ross, departing Punta Arenas in Chile on Friday 17 March. The researchers will use a combination of specialised instruments deployed from a ship, instruments moored to the seafloor, as well as measurements made by Boaty, to measure ocean turbulence.

The submersible will travel back and forth through an abyssal current of Antarctic Bottom Water along the Orkney Passage while measuring the intensity of the turbulence. This current forms off the coast of Antarctica as cold winds off the ice sheet cool the sea surface. The resulting cold, dense water sinks and moves northwards, forming an important part of the global circulation of ocean water. The Orkney Passage is a key chokepoint that AABW has to navigate on its way from Antarctica's Weddell Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.

Current evidence suggests that changing winds over the Southern Ocean affect the speed of seafloor currents carrying AABW. The speed of these currents determines how turbulent their flow around underwater mountain ranges (submarine topography) is. Faster flow is more turbulent, and in this turbulence more heat is mixed into AABW from shallower, warmer ocean layers -- thus warming the abyssal waters on their way to the Equator, affecting global climate change.

Professor Alberto Naveira Garabato from the University of Southampton, the lead scientist of the research cruise, commented: "We know that a major driver of the abyssal ocean warming, at least in the Atlantic Ocean, is changes in winds over the Southern Ocean.

"The abyssal waters of the World Ocean sink in the Southern Ocean, and flow northward along the seafloor in submarine streams. When these streams encounter submarine topography or key chokepoints, they navigate it by squeezing through valleys and around mountains, occasionally forming submarine waterfalls -- much as a river flowing toward the sea does on the Earth's surface..

"The Orkney Passage is a key chokepoint to the flow of abyssal waters in which we expect the mechanism linking changing winds to abyssal water warming to operate. We will measure how fast the streams flow, how turbulent they are, and how they respond to changes in winds over the Southern Ocean.

"Our goal is to learn enough about these convoluted processes to represent them (for the first time) in the models that scientists use to predict how our climate will evolve over the 21st century and beyond."

BAS oceanographer Dr Povl Abrahamsen, a co-investigator of the study, said, "We have been monitoring the flow of AABW through the Orkney Passage for years. The DynOPO project will provide us with a unique, high-resolution dataset combining moored and moving instruments, which will help us get to the bottom of the complex physical processes occurring in this important region."

Professor Alberto Naveira Garabato added: "One of the most surprising features of the climate change that we are currently experiencing is that the abyssal waters of the world ocean have been warming steadily over the last few decades. Establishing the causes of this warming is important because the warming plays an important role in moderating the ongoing (and likely future) increases in atmospheric temperature and sea level around the globe."

Materials provided by University of Southampton.

NSW Water Resource Plan Consultation 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017: Media Release - NSW Dept. of DPI
Minister for Regional Water, Niall Blair said the NSW Government is delivering on a key Basin Plan commitment with the release of eight Water Resource Plan Status and Issues papers to take place on Friday.

“These papers set out issues related to water availability, reliability of access and longterm sustainable use, particularly through times of drought,” Mr Blair said.

“I urge all members of the community, particularly water users, to comment on the relevant Status and Issues paper in their region, and submit any additional issues that should be considered in developing a Water Resource Plan.

“It is an opportunity to look at existing planning mechanisms and water sharing rules, to identify and resolve any shortcomings, and find ways to be more efficient and productive in the NSW Murray Darling Basin.

“The plans need to work for regional communities and economies, so it is important to balance cultural and environmental needs without constraining the productive use of water that underpins the world-class irrigated agriculture sector in NSW.”

Status and Issues papers will be released on Friday for consultation in the Barwon- Darling (surface water), Murray-Lower Darling (surface water), Murrumbidgee (surface water), Namoi (surface water), Border Rivers (groundwater), Gwydir (groundwater), Lachlan (groundwater) and Macquarie-Castlereagh (groundwater).

Stakeholder Advisory Panels have been established for each surface water plan area – a vital aspect for widespread and meaningful stakeholder and community engagement.

Copies of the Status and Issues Papers, together with other supporting information will be available at www.water.nsw.gov.au

The exhibition period will be open from this Friday until Friday 31 March 2017. All written submissions, from brief emails to full technical papers, are welcome. 

Bushcare in Pittwater 

For further information or to confirm the meeting details for below groups, please contact Council's Bushcare Officer on 9970 1367

BUSHCARE SCHEDULES 
Where we work                      Which day                              What time 

Avalon     
Angophora Reserve             3rd Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Dunes                        1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Golf Course              2nd Wednesday                 3 - 5:30pm 
Careel Creek                         4th Saturday                      8:30 - 11:30am 
Toongari Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon (8 - 11am in summer) 
Bangalley Headland            2nd Sunday                         9 to 12noon 

Bayview     
Winnererremy Bay                 4th Sunday                        9 to 12noon 

Bilgola     
North Bilgola Beach              3rd Monday                        9 - 12noon 
Algona Reserve                     1st Saturday                       9 - 12noon 
Plateau Park                          1st Friday                            8:30 - 11:30am 

Church Point     
Browns Bay Reserve             1st Tuesday                        9 - 12noon 
McCarrs Creek Reserve       Contact Bushcare Officer     To be confirmed 

Clareville     
Old Wharf Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      8 - 11am 

Elanora     
Kundibah Reserve                   4th Sunday                       8:30 - 11:30am 

Mona Vale     
Mona Vale Beach Basin          1st Saturday                    8 - 11am 
Mona Vale Dunes                     2nd Saturday+3rd Thursday     8:30 - 11:30am 

Newport     
Bungan Beach                          4th Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
Crescent Reserve                    3rd Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
North Newport Beach              4th Saturday                    8:30 - 11:30am 
Porter Reserve                          2nd Saturday                  8 - 11am 

North Narrabeen     
Irrawong Reserve                     3rd Saturday                   2 - 5pm 

Palm Beach     
North Palm Beach Dunes      3rd Saturday                    9 - 12noon 

Scotland Island     
Catherine Park                          2nd Sunday                     10 - 12:30pm 
Elizabeth Park                           1st Saturday                      9 - 12noon 
Pathilda Reserve                      3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon 

Warriewood     
Warriewood Wetlands             1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 

Whale Beach     
Norma Park                               1st Friday                            9 - 12noon 

Western Foreshores     
Coopers Point, Elvina Bay      2nd Sunday                        10 - 1pm 
Rocky Point, Elvina Bay           1st Monday                          9 - 12noon

Long Reef Guided Walks 

Below is the Fishcare Volunteers’ upcoming Walks and Talks which might be of interest to readers.  We have been offering this free service now for about 15 years.  Most days see somewhere round 30 people, young and old, and we even get people from places like Auburn and further afield.  I add my bit as a former Australian Museum person and we also have a geologist to talk about the landward side of Long Reef.  We’re dictated by tides, hence the irregular times, but always on a Sunday.
Phil Colman

Free guided walks 
with Fishcare Volunteers 

Sunday 26 Mar 2017 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm 
Sunday 9 Apr 2017 12.30 pm – 2.30 pm 
• Subject to weather conditions 
• Bookings and enquiries by email: longreefwalks@gmail.com

Long Reef Fishcare Educational Walks 
Long Reef Aquatic Reserve, on Sydney’s northern beaches is a unique environment due to its geology and exposure to all four points of the compass. Protecting a huge variety of marine animals, birds and plants, it’s a great place to enjoy learning about our natural environment. 

Department of Primary Industries NSW Fishcare Volunteers offer free, guided, educational walks onto the rock platform where in just two hours you’ll observe some of the vast variety of marine life. 

You’ll also gain an understanding of the geographical features of the area, look at trace fossils and learn why some migratory birds travel tens of thousands of kilometres from Siberia and Japan to spend time at Long Reef. 

An ideal family outing! 
Permaculture Northern Beaches

Want to know where your food is coming from? 

Do you like to enrich the earth as much as benefit from it?

Find out more here:

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Avalon Boomerang Bags 2016 Workshops

Boomerang Bag Working Bees run in Avalon Community Centre on Tuesdays 11:30am- 5pm.

For those of you unable to come to workshops there are many other ways to get involved, just let us know you're willing by leaving a comment or sending us a message.

Pictured is a Boomerang Bag Box. 

The boxes are located at:

Avalon Organics
Hertford Chemist
Avalon Wholefood
Fresh Fruit and Veg
Johnson Bros Mitre Ten
Avalon Meats
Avalon Rec Centre
Watch this space for another venue soon.

A huge thank you to everybody who has helped Boomerang Bags Avalon get this far. But the work is not over yet. Materials and more hands always welcome  Facebook page  Profile

Av Green Team

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This Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative has been attracting high praise from the founders of Living Ocean as much as other local environment groups recently. 

Turning up for Beach Cleans, or starting their own, underlines an ‘action speaks louder than words’ ethos is at the core of this group. 

Avalon Community Garden

Community Gardens bring people together and enrich communities. They build a sense of place and shared connection.

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Avalon Community Garden is a community led initiative to create accessible food gardens in public places throughout the Pittwater area. Our aim is to share skills and knowledge in creating fabulous local, organic food. But it's not just about great food. We also aim to foster community connection, stimulate creative ideas for community resilience and celebrate our abundance. Open to all ages and skills, our first garden is on the grounds of Barrenjoey High School (off Tasman Road)Become part of this exciting initiative to change the world locally. 

www.pcga.org.au Contact us info@pcg.org.au or Visit us at facebook.com/acga.org; image artwork: www.gravey.com

  "I bind myself today to the power of Heaven, the light of the sun, the brightness of the moon, the splendour of fire, the flashing of lightning, the swiftness of wind, the depth of the sea, the stability of the earth, the compactness of rocks." -  from the Prayer of Saint Patrick

AVGT's 2nd Ever Sustainability Day!

Sunday, April 2 at 10 AM - 3 PM
Coastal Environment Centre
1 Lake Park Road -Pelican Path, Narrabeen.

The Av Green Team are hosting our second ever sustainability day! Partly because last time was so fun and also because we are eager to learn more! It will be on the Sunday from 10am until about 3pm. 

We have a range of awesome expert speakers and workshops covering soil and composting, permaculture, off-grid living, recycling and more! The day will be full of environmentally-friendly stalls and food. 

Come along (it's free) and will be a great day of learning/eating/moving!

Open space across Sydney

March 13, 2017: Article by NSW Department of Planning and Environment
By 2036, the population of Sydney is projected to grow by more than two million people and an extra 725,000 homes will be needed to meet this increase.

Sydney is a great place to live and visit with its iconic landmarks and natural environment, and it’s important to ensure that there is open space to enjoy for locals and tourists now and in the future.
 
More than 90 per cent of Sydney’s residents live within a five to 10 minute walk of green space and the latest Sydney Open Space audit shows the total amount of open space across Greater Sydney has increased by nearly 40,000 hectares (from 550,784 in 2003 to 589,494 in 2014).

What is the Department of Planning and Environment doing?

Land transfers and planning
The Sydney Green Grid is a NSW Government initiative aimed at creating a network of interlinked tree-lined walkways, cycleways and open spaces across the city and create green connections from people’s homes to local centres, to workplaces and to where they spend their leisure time.

The Metropolitan Greenspace Program (MGP) is administered by the Greater Sydney Commission. The MGP supports local councils in Greater Sydney and on the Central Coast to improve open spaces, parks, bushland, natural areas, waterway corridors and tree-lined streetscapes in a network that connects our homes to centres, public transport, jobs and recreation.
 
Since 1990, over $41 million has been allocated to more than 600 projects. Funds are awarded to councils on a matching dollar-for-dollar basis.

During the 2015/16 financial year, the Department facilitated the transfer of 101 hectares to five councils in Sydney to be used only as open space. 
These councils were Bankstown, Blacktown, Gosford, Hornsby, Ku-ring-gai and Warringah.

Priority Growth Areas
The development of new communities is important in the supply of new homes and employment opportunities. But it also provides opportunities for open space.
 
The Department has included new or retained hectares of open space in its land releases and precinct plans.
 
For example…
  • Draft plans for the Kellyville, Bella Vista and Showground Station precincts include 17 hectares of new parks and open space.
  • Draft plans for Bayside West aim to retain the existing five hectares of open space in Arncliffe and three and 3.6 hectares of in Banksia, and proposes an extra hectare in Arncliffe.
  • Draft plans for Ingleside include nearly 16 hectares of open space, including playing fields, local walking and cycling paths, and local parks.
  • Sydney Olympic Park is already surrounded by 430 hectares of expansive parklands. The draft Master Plan includes nearly two hectares more open space and neighbourhood parks for people to enjoy, equivalent to nearly three football fields.

Ingleside sporting overview - artists impression

Land rezoning
The Wentworth Park rezoning included 3.9 hectares of open space and a $5 million NSW Government investment to build the new Peninsula Park at Wentworth Point, opening up the harbour foreshore to the community for the first time ever.

Amendments to planning policy for Penrith Lakes has secured waterway zone 80 hectares of waterways, 110 hectares of parklands and 118 hectares of environmental protection land.
Biodiversity Certification

The North West and South West Growth Centres biodiversity certification is achieving strong conservation outcomes. This has resulted in maintaining the protection of the 2,000 hectares of existing native vegetation within the growth centres while protecting 511 hectares of high environmental value lands outside over 12 sites.
Infrastructure projects

A number of development conditions are placed on projects, ensuring that impacts are avoided, minimised or offset.
 
For example, in relation to WestConnex, and in consideration of issues raised by the community, a series of conditions have been set to provide new open public space; new cycling and pedestrian infrastructure; and strict environmental protections including:
  • provision of a new land bridge to connect Sydney Park and open space at St Peters interchange 
  • a green link incorporating new and upgraded cycling and pedestrian pathways connecting open spaces of Sydney Park, Simpson Park, Camdenville Park and St Peters interchange
  • strict air quality limits for the tunnel and ventilation facilities
  • establishing an Air Quality Community Consultative Committee with members of the community and local councils to help decide locations of monitoring stations
  • protections for Green and Golden Bell Frogs
  • a biodiversity offset strategy for the Cooks River Castlereagh Ironbark Forest.

Draft Threat Abatement Plan for the Impacts of Marine Debris on Vertebrate Marine Species (2017)

Marine debris, particularly plastic, is harmful to marine wildlife, with impacts caused through entanglement, ingestion and contamination. This complex problem is increasing globally.

Marine debris impacts have been documented for seabirds, marine turtles, cetaceans, sharks and other Australian marine wildlife, including many species listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The draft Threat abatement plan for the impacts of marine debris on vertebrate marine species provides a national strategy to abate the threat posed by marine debris and guide investment and effort by the Australian Government, jurisdictions, research organisations and non-government organisations in addressing the impacts of marine debris on native species.

Public consultation
The Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy has released the draft Threat abatement plan for the impacts of marine debris on vertebrate marine species (2017) for public comment. The public comment period closes on 13 April 2017.

The consultation paper and related documents are available on the Department of the Environment and Energy website

Whanganui River settlement passes third reading

March 15, 2017: New Zealand Government Media Release
The New Zealand House of Representatives has passed Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Bill through its third reading today.

“Whanganui Iwi has fought for recognition of its relationship with the Whanganui River since the 1870’s,” Mr Finlayson said. “Today brings the longest running litigation in New Zealand’s history to an end.”

The legislation will establish a new legal framework for the Whanganui River, Te Awa Tupua, which recognises the river as an indivisible and living whole from the mountains to the sea. Te Awa Tupua will have its own legal identity with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person.

“The approach of granting legal personality to a river is unique,” Mr Finlayson said. “It responds to the view of the iwi of the Whanganui River which has long recognised Te Awa Tupua through its traditions, customs and practise.

“This legislation recognises the deep spiritual connection between the Whanganui Iwi and its ancestral river and creates a strong platform for the future of Whanganui River.”

Financial redress of $80 million is included in the settlement as well as an additional $1 million contribution towards establishing the legal framework for the river. The Crown will also contribute $30 million towards a contestable fund to further the health and wellbeing of the Whanganui River.

“This is an innovative settlement. The Crown is committed to working alongside Whanganui Iwi to ensure the success of this settlement for Te Awa,” Mr Finlayson said.


The Whanganui River - given legal person status this week. Image Courtesy Kathrin and Stefan Marks - Flickr -CC by NC 2.0

Agreement in Principle signed with Ngāti Rangi

March 15, 2017: New Zealand Government Media Release
The Crown has signed an agreement in principle with Ngāti Rangi to settle its historical Treaty of Waitangi claims, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson announced today.

Ngāti Rangi has an area of interest centred around the upper Whangaehu River catchment, on the southern flank of Mount Ruapehu, including the settlements of Ohakune and Waiouru.

“Today marks an important milestone in negotiations with Ngāti Rangi and demonstrates the commitment and hard work of Ngāti Rangi leaders,” Mr Finlayson said. “This agreement provides a strong basis from which to develop a deed of settlement.”

The Agreement in Principle outlines a broad settlement package which includes provisional Crown acknowledgements of Treaty of Waitangi breaches as well as cultural, financial and commercial redress.

The total value of the financial and commercial redress outlined in the agreement is $17 million. Cultural redress focuses on the significant conservation lands, and the management of those lands, within Ngāti Rangi’s area of interest as well as redress aimed at re-establishing relationships with key Crown agencies.

A copy of the Agreement in Principle is available at: www.govt.nz/treaty-settlement-documents/.

Join The Fight Against Foxes

27 February 2017: Media Release - Greater Sydney Local Land Services
Northern Sydney residents are being urged to join the fight against foxes in the lead up to an autumn baiting program in March.

Run by Greater Sydney Local Land Services in partnership with the Sydney North Vertebrate Pest Committee, National Parks and Wildlife Services and other land management agencies, the annual program coincides with fox cubs leaving the den and adults finding a mate for the winter breeding period.

Greater Sydney Biosecurity Manager Graham Wilson said coordinated, large-scale baiting programs had proven most effective in limiting the impacts of foxes in urban areas.

“Past experience has shown foxes are more likely to take baits in autumn but the support and cooperation of local residents is vital to the program’s success.”

Mr Wilson said there were simple things residents could all do to minimise the impact of foxes.

“Foxes are attracted to food scraps and domestic pets like chickens and rabbits. You can help by ensuring compost bins are properly closed, keeping household rubbish in a secure location, feeding domestic pets inside, ensuring food is not left outside and wherever possible, keeping pets inside overnight.

“Pesticide restrictions mean baiting can’t be undertaken on the average suburban block which is why coordinated programs like this are crucial to limiting the damage foxes can cause to native wildlife, infrastructure, livestock and domestic pets,” he said.

“Keeping yards in check by tidying gardens, weeding to reduce fox harbour and housing backyard chickens in secure, fox-proof enclosures rather than free ranging will also help.”

The Northern Sydney baiting program will be in place until the end of March. It is important for residents to keep their domestic pets away from sign-posted bait sites and walk their dogs on a leash during this time.”

The baiting will take place in The Hills Shire, Northern Beaches, North Sydney, Willoughby, Ku-Ring-Gai, Mosman and Hornsby areas.

For further information contact Greater Sydney Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.

Photo: Fox courtesy James Doumtsis Invasive Animals CRC

Department seeks community views on Narrabri Gas Project proposal

20.02.2017: Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment
The Department of Planning and Environment will today place on public exhibition Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project Environmental Impact Statement and is inviting the community to share its views.

Given the high level of public interest in the proposal, the Department has extended the normal exhibition period to more than 60 days. It closes on April 24.

Mike Young, Director of Resource Assessments, said the Department will be consulting broadly on the proposal and is keen to hear from all individuals and groups interested in the proposal.

“We are making every effort to make sure people have an opportunity to hear about the project and give us feedback during this assessment,” Mr Young said.

“There will be a number of opportunities to provide feedback including community information sessions and meetings with local landowners and interest groups.

“We want to hear people’s views - farmers, landholders, locals, Aboriginal groups, industry groups, councils. Everyone is welcome to make a submission and all will be read and considered in our assessment.”

Mr Young said as part of the assessment the Department will be establishing a panel of eminent scientific experts to provide independent advice on the proposal.

“These experts will be an integral part of the assessment process. Much of the information is of a scientific and technical nature and we are keen to get the best independent advice possible in assessing this project,” he said.

“In addition, we will be working with other key NSW Government agencies and seeking advice from the Commonwealth’s Independent Expert Scientific Committee.

“Any issues raised in submissions will be looked at and taken into account.”

Given the high level of public interest in the proposal, the Department has extended the normal exhibition period to more than 60 days. It closes on May 22nd.

Following the exhibition period, the Department will comprehensively assess the submissions and the EIS.

The Narrabri Gas Project proposal involves a coal seam gas field with up to 850 gas wells to be developed progressively over 20 years, and a gas processing and water treatment facilities.

Santos’ Environmental Impact Statement is available on the Department’s website, and at all major centres in the region including Narrabri, Wee Waa, Gunnedah, Coonabarabran and Coonamble

Related information: 
  • Environmental Impact Statement for the Narrabri Gas Project
  • NSW Chief Scientist 2014 Coal Seam Gas Review
  • NSW Gas Plan
Narrabri Gasfield

Exhibition Start 21/02/2017
Exhibition End  22/05/2017

Av. Green Team Back at Work

Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative from Avalon in Sydney. Trying to keep our area green and clean!

Keep up to date with and join in their next cleansvia their facebook page

If Victoria can ban CSG, NSW can too!

By The Wilderness Society
Coal seam gas (CSG) threatens our water, our health and our climate. Many jurisdictions around the world are permanently banning this dangerous industry, most recently Victoria. We do not need or want risky coal seam gas in NSW. 
 
It’s clear that the industry has no social licence in our state, yet vast and critical areas—as well as human health—are still under threat from CSG across the state.

Call on the new Premier Berejiklian and the new Planning Minister Roberts to follow Victoria's lead and ban this harmful and risky industry in NSW. 



Myna Action Group 

Pittwater Natural Heritage Association (PNHA)
Indian Mynas - what a pest - like flying rats. 
Contact us on pnhainfo@gmail.com for more information and have a look at https://www.facebook.com/MynaProblems/

Indian Mynas are displacing our native birds. 
They often nest in and around shops where their food source is. I took this one down this morning in Avalon (no chicks or eggs but I disturbed the female). There were literally hundreds of tiny bits of plastic in the nest which makes you think that all this plastic would be swilling down the stormwater drains into the sea.

Federal Senate Inquiry: The rehabilitation of mining and resources projects as it relates to Commonwealth responsibilities


On 8 February 2017, the Senate referred the following matters to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 23 August 2017:

The rehabilitation of mining and resources projects as it relates to Commonwealth responsibilities, for example under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), with regard to:
  • the cost of outstanding rehabilitation obligations of currently operating projects;
  • the adequacy of existing regulatory, policy and institutional arrangements to ensure adequate and timely rehabilitation;
  • the adequacy and transparency of financial mechanisms, including assurances, bonds and funds, to ensure that mining and resources projects are rehabilitated without placing a burden on public finances;
  • the effectiveness of current Australian rehabilitation practices in safeguarding human health and repairing and avoiding environmental damage;
  • the effectiveness of existing abandoned mines programs, with regard to repairing environmental damage and safeguarding human health;
  • whether any mining or resources companies have engaged in conduct designed to avoid fulfilling their rehabilitation obligations;
  • the potential social, economic and environmental impacts, including on matters of national environmental significance under the EPBC Act, of inadequate rehabilitation;
  • the potential social, economic and environmental benefits of adequate rehabilitation, including job opportunities in communities affected by job losses in the mining and resources sectors;
  • international examples of effective rehabilitation policy and practice;
  • proposals for reform of rehabilitation of mining and resources projects; and any other related matters.
The closing date for submissions is 10 April 2017.

Draft NSW marine estate Threat and Risk Assessment Report released

January 2017: Media Release - NSW DPI
The Marine Estate Management Authority has released the draft statewide Threat and Risk Assessment (TARA) Report for the NSW marine estate.
Authority Chair Dr Wendy Craik said the draft report summarises the first statewide evidence-based assessment of the threats to the social and economic benefits of the marine estate and the environmental assets that support them.

“The draft TARA report has been developed based on the best available scientific evidence and advice from experts, stakeholders and the community,” she said.

Dr Craik said the NSW community had helped identify the social and economic benefits our estuaries and coastline provide, and the importance of the environmental assets that underpin them, during a statewide survey in 2014.

“These benefits include recreational pursuits such as swimming or surfing at the beach, boating, fishing, and commercial and tourism opportunities such as shipping, commercial and charter fishing, SCUBA diving and others,” she said.

“Community members and stakeholders now have an opportunity to provide feedback on the draft report, which highlights potential threats to these benefits and the marine estate’s environmental assets.”

Dr Craik said short videos and an interactive tool are being provided to facilitate community feedback and discussion by presenting the report results in a user-friendly way.

“We are committed to managing our marine estate for the benefit of the community, and this report and the process is designed to support and encourage participation,” she said.

The final report will inform the ongoing management of the NSW marine estate through the drafting of a new 10-year Marine Estate Management Strategy.

It will also be considered in the creation of new management plans, starting with the Solitary Islands and Batemans Marine Parks.

The draft TARA report includes revised findings for the Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion, now called the ‘Central Region’.

The draft report delivers on a key commitment of the NSW Government, to provide evidence-based management of the NSW marine estate, and is a requirement of the Marine Estate Management Act 2014.

More information

The public comment period closes on Friday, 31 March 2017. Key marine estate stakeholders will be invited to participate in a series of workshops to be held along the coast in February and March

Wildlife Carers and Organisations in Pittwater:

Sydney Wildlife rescues, rehabilitates and releases sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife. From penguins, to possums and parrots, native wildlife of all descriptions passes through the caring hands of Sydney Wildlife rescuers and carers on a daily basis. We provide a genuine 24 hour, 7 day per week emergency advice, rescue and care service.

As well as caring for sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife, Sydney Wildlife is also involved in educating the community about native wildlife and its habitat. We provide educational talks to a wide range of groups and audiences including kindergartens, scouts, guides, a wide range of special interest groups and retirement villages. Talks are tailored to meet the needs and requirements of each group. 

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Found an injured native animal? We're here to help.

Keep the animal contained, warm, quiet and undisturbed. Do not offer any food or water.

Call Sydney Wildlife immediately on 9413 4300, or take the animal to your nearest vet. Generally there is no charge. 

Find out more at: www.sydneywildlife.org.au

Southern Cross Wildlife Care was launched over 6 years ago. It is the brainchild of Dr Howard Ralph, the founder and chief veterinarian. SCWC was established solely for the purpose of treating injured, sick and orphaned wildlife. No wild creature in need that passes through our doors is ever rejected. 

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People can assist SCWC by volunteering their skills ie: veterinary; medical; experienced wildlife carers; fundraising; "IT" skills; media; admin; website etc. We are always having to address the issue of finances as we are a non commercial veterinary service for wildlife in need, who obviously don't have cheque books in their pouches. It is a constant concern and struggle of ours when we are pre-occupied with the care and treatment of the escalating amount of wildlife that we have to deal with. Just becoming a member of SCWC for $45 a year would be a great help. Regular monthly donations however small, would be a wonderful gift and we could plan ahead knowing that we had x amount of funds that we could count on. Our small team of volunteers are all unpaid even our amazing vet Howard, so all funds raised go directly towards our precious wildlife. SCWC is TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

Find out more at: southerncrosswildlifecare.org.au/wp/

Think before you print ; A kilo of recycled paper creates around 1.8 kilograms of carbon emissions, without taking into account the emissions produced from transporting the paper. So, before you send a document to print, think about how many kilograms of carbon emissions you could save by reading it on screen.

 Australian Native Foods website: http://www.anfil.org.au/

Create a Habitat Stepping Stone!

Over 50 Pittwater households have already pledged to make a difference for our local wildlife, and you can too! Create a habitat stepping stone to help our wildlife out. It’s easy - just add a few beautiful habitat elements to your backyard or balcony to create a valuable wildlife-friendly stopover.

How it works

1) Discover: Visit the website below to find dozens of beautiful plants, nest boxes and water elements you can add to your backyard or balcony to help our local wildlife.

2) Pledge: Select three or more elements to add to your place. You can even show you care by choosing to have a bird appear on our online map.

3) Share: Join the Habitat Stepping Stones Facebook community to find out what’s happening in the natural world, and share your pics, tips and stories.

What you get                                  

• Enjoy the wonders of nature, right outside your window. • Free and discounted plants for your garden. • A Habitat Stepping Stone plaque for your front fence. • Local wildlife news and tips. • Become part of the Pittwater Habitat Stepping Stones community.

Get the kids involved and excited about helping out! www.HabitatSteppingStones.org.au

No computer? No problem -Just write to the address below and we’ll mail you everything you need. Habitat Stepping Stones, Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University NSW 2109

This project is assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust

Newport Community Gardens

Anyone interested in joining our community garden group please feel free to come and visit us on Sunday at 10am at the Woolcott Reserve in Newport!


Keep in Touch with what's happening on Newport Garden's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/newportcg/

What Does PNHA do?

PROFILE

On-ground bush regeneration. eg: Asparagus Fern Out Days
Activities: guided walks, bird-watching
Quaterly informative newsletter, online or paper
Members email group for leaset environmental news and events
AGM with Guest Speaker
Free advice for members on managing gardens for Native Vegetation and fauna habitat
Lobbies Pittwater Council and State Government on inappropriate management practices and development
Provides support to Council for PNHA-approved grant applications for environmental projects
Publications: Introductory Field Guide to Birds of Warriewood Wetlands & Irrawong Reserve, $20.00rrp, attractive cards with photos of Pittwater scenes, flora and fauna $2.00

Email: pnhainfo@gmail.com Or click on Logo to visit website.

Pittwater's Environmental Foundation

Pittwater Environmental Foundation was established in 2006 to conserve and enhance the natural environment of the Pittwater local government area through the application of tax deductible donations, gifts and bequests. The Directors were appointed by Pittwater Council. 

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About 33% (about 1600 ha excluding National Parks) of the original pre-European bushland in Pittwater remains in a reasonably natural or undisturbed condition. Of this, only about 400ha remains in public ownership. All remaining natural bushland is subject to encroachment, illegal clearing, weed invasion, feral animals, altered drainage, bushfire hazard reduction requirements and other edge effects. Within Pittwater 38 species of plants or animals are listed as endangered or threatened under the Threatened Species Act. There are two endangered populations (Koala and Squirrel Glider) and eight endangered ecological communities or types of bushland. To visit their site please click on logo above.

Report illegal dumping

NSW Government

The RIDonline website lets you report the types of waste being dumped and its GPS location. Photos of the waste can also be added to the report.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA), councils and Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) squads will use this information to investigate and, if appropriate, issue a fine or clean-up notice.

Penalties for illegal dumping can be up to $15,000 and potential jail time for anybody caught illegally dumping within five years of a prior illegal dumping conviction.

This is the first time RIDonline has been opened to the public. Since September last year, the EPA, councils, RID squads and public land managers have used it to report more than 20,000 tonnes of illegally dumped waste across more than 70 local government areas.

The NSW Government has allocated $58 million over five years to tackle illegal dumping as part of its $465.7 million Waste Less Recycle More initiative. NSW Premier Mike Baird has also committed to reducing the volume of litter by 40%, by 2020 to help keep NSW's environment clean.