February 18 - 24, 2018: Issue 348

WANTED: Volunteers with a keen interest in teaching and fishing

February 14, 2018
NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) is calling for people keen on mentoring young people how to fish to join the popular Fishcare Volunteer Program.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) State Coordinator – Community Programs, Dee Payne, said the program has 250 volunteers State wide and is supported using funds from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust as part of the NSW Government’s commitment to sustainable and responsible recreational fishing and habitat conservation.

“Fishcare volunteers play a vital role in promoting sustainable recreational fishing and do a terrific job in advising anglers and the general public about the rules and values of responsible fishing,” Ms Payne said.

“Volunteers partake in activities such as fishing workshops, schools visits, field days, fishing competitions, habitat restoration works, etc passing on their knowledge and skills and encouraging values that ensure there will be fish into the future.

“If you have a passion for fish and fishing and you'd like to help protect our aquatic habitat, why not think about becoming a Fishcare Volunteer? We are calling for anyone interested in joining the program to register their interest to complete specialised training, to be held in Sydney on April 14 and 15.

“Applicants from across NSW are encouraged to apply, with travel and accommodation costs covered for the duration of the weekend. The training weekend encompasses both freshwater and saltwater sessions, and is open to anyone over the age of 18 years of age.

“Volunteers range in age from students to retirees, and come from a great range of backgrounds and it’s expected volunteers will be available to give approximately one day per month to assist the program.

“Our volunteers help create better awareness among anglers and the wider community about fishing issues, and all volunteers are issued with clear identification as well as a distinctive hat, shirt and backpack containing the necessary documentation.”

NSW DPI staff and guest speakers will cover topics on recreational fisheries management, fishing rules, fish conservation, aquatic habitat management, maximising survival of released fish, communication skills and much more. At the end of the weekend participants will receive a statement of attainment by TAFE NSW.

The training is free to complete however places are limited. To apply to become a DPI Fishcare volunteer go to www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/recreational/resources/fishcare-volunteers


Meeting of Environment Ministers: National Environmental Management Plan for PFAS

February 16, 2018: Australian Government Dept. of Environment and Energy
The Commonwealth, state and territory environment ministers have endorsed Australia’s first PFAS National Environmental Management Plan.
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals that have been used in applications such as fire-fighting foams, textile treatments for upholstery and clothing, paper products and electroplating.
Some PFAS have been globally identified as chemicals of high concern, particularly due to their environmental persistence and bioaccumulation.

Environment ministers agreed in November 2016 that all jurisdictions have a critical role to play in developing nationally consistent standards for managing environmental contamination by PFAS.

The plan provides valuable guidance around storage, re-use and disposal of contaminated material, which will facilitate proactive decision-making for contaminated site management, including remediation.

The plan recommends practices to assess sites and address contamination found.

The PFAS NEMP includes a program of future work that is expected to address key gaps by mid-2018, as well as other important gaps through longer-term research activities.

Environment Ministers acknowledged the leadership of the Heads of EPAs and the Victorian EPA in delivering the plan.

The PFAS National Environmental Management Plan can be accessed at the following website: http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/pfas_nemp

Relief for Farmers, Community As Department Rejects Acland Coal Mine

February 14, 2018: Lock The Gate
Local farmers and community groups have welcomed the decision by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) to reject the Acland Stage 3 coal mine on the Darling Downs.

The decision follows a recommendation by the Land Court last year that an Environmental Authority should not be granted for the mine expansion primarily because of the impacts on groundwater, noise and intergenerational equity. 

Ellie Smith from Lock the Gate Alliance said:

“This is a wonderful day for Acland farmers and residents. They ran the longest legal challenge in the history of the Land Court, and won, and we’re all relieved that decision has been respected by the department.

“The Land Court decision was so significant because it was the first time the Court had recommended outright rejection of a mining project after a contested hearing, whilst on the other hand they have recommended approval 290 times.

“The department has done the right thing and upheld the rule of law in Queensland by rejecting an Environmental Authority for this damaging mine.

“This vindicates everything local people have worked so hard to protect for the last 10 years – rich farming country, groundwater and the health and wellbeing of their families.

“They have suffered health impacts and severe mental distress as a result of the negative impacts of the existing mine and fears about the expansion.

“The important thing now is to end the uncertainty for the community and to permanently protect the Darling Downs from damaging coal mines,” she said.

New Acland Coal last year applied for a judicial review of the Land Court decision, and that is still due to be heard for five days from the 19th March 2018.

20-year NSW forest peace deal teeters as conservation groups walk away

February 16, 2018: NSW Nature Conservation Council
The Berejiklian government is putting threatened forest wildlife and an historic 20-year peace deal at risk by pushing ahead with a sham consultation process designed to lock in unsustainable logging indefinitely.

The NSW Nature Conservation Council and NSW National Parks Association today walked away from stakeholder consultations on the extension of the state’s three Regional Forest Agreements.

Regional Forest Agreements were struck in the late 1990s and early 2000s and delivered a fragile peace in the Forests Wars that had raged for decades through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski said: “We will not be party to a process that perpetuates the reckless mismanagement our precious forests.

“Koala populations in NSW forests have plummeted over the past 20 years during which these agreements have been in place.

“We insist the government conduct independent scientific reviews that will give us a clear understanding of what harm forestry has done to our threatened wildlife over the past two decades before we decide how our forests will be managed for another generation.”

National Parks Association CEO Alix Goodwin said: “Far from achieving ecologically sustainable forest management, the RFAs have permitted the extensive destruction of public forests because logging under the Agreements is not subject to scrutiny by Commonwealth law.

“As a result, many of our forests are in a worse condition now than when the agreements were struck two decades ago. Carbon stores are decreasing, and populations of forest species are in freefall.

“We have decided to not participate in the current round of stakeholder consultations because the NSW Government has not agreed to a fair, scientifically credible assessment and negotiation process.”

Specifically, the government has refused to:
  • Consider whether the RFAs are a suitable model for forest management.
  • Complete the RFA 10- and 15-year reviews before beginning negotiations on the RFA renewal.
  • Complete a socioeconomic assessment of all land-use options that considers, among other things, climate change impacts and the potential use of forests for carbon capture and storage.
  • Establish a fair process for RFA renewal negotiations, with balanced representation and moderation by a credible, independent third party.
  • Guarantee there would be no pre-emptive decisions (i.e., no new Wood Supply Contracts) before the end of the process.

Regional Forest Agreements (RFA)

Have Your Say: NSW Government
The NSW and Commonwealth Governments are seeking feedback on five-yearly implementation reviews of RFAs and how to extend them for an additional 20-year term.

Consultation will enable a full appraisal of the current RFAs covering the Eden, North East and Southern regions of NSW. It will also drive optimal implementation of new agreements, including what we can learn from our experience over the past 20 years.

The government is committed to working closely with all parties in getting the balance right in the long-term management of their forest resources.

A number of community meetings are planned across the state. Details will be available shortly.

Have your say
Have your say on the extension of RFAs by 12 March 2018.

More Information
Email: Project Leader
Phone: 02 9934 0728

Public hearing for United Wambo super mine goes ahead despite crucial lack of information

February 08, 2018:Lock the Gate
A public hearing for the latest large new coal mine proposed for the Hunter Valley will take place in Singleton today, despite crucial information not being available about the project’s cumulative impact, leading to accusations the Department of Planning is failing in its duty to the public

The United Wambo mine would open a deep new pit at the shuttered United mine and deepen the Wambo mine open cut.

Lock the Gate spokesperson, Georgina Woods, said, “With this new proposal, there would be 25 kilometres of nearly uninterrupted open cuts between Broke and Jerry’s Plains, straddling two major waterways and causing cumulative noise and air pollution.

“The cumulative damage being done to water and biodiversity and the cumulative noise and air pollution from mining is a disgrace but the public hearing is going to be held without the public having access to accurate and impartial information about the damage.”

Lock the Gate Alliance is accusing the Department of Planning of rubber-stamping a biodiversity offsetting stitch up to let the United Wambo mine clear over 200 hectares of a nationally critically endangered woodland despite warnings the ecological community could become extinct in a few decades.

The remnant proposed to be bulldozed for the new mine is in moderate to good condition, which means, according to the Commonwealth Government’s conservation advice it is “critical to the survival” of the community overall.

Lock the Gate estimates there has been cumulative clearing of over 3,000 hectares of the Central Hunter Valley Eucalypt Forest and Woodland for coal mines since 2007.

But last month the Department of Planning recommended the mine proceed because the proponent, a joint venture of Glencore and Peabody Australia, had an adequate offset package to compensate for the loss.

Lock the Gate says that the offset package being proposed by the company is incomplete, and up to a third of the area put forward by the company as compensatory habitat is their own mining pits with the promise they will be rehabilitated into the future.

We have tried to get more information to understand why the Department of Planning is recommending this mine for approval without the assessment being complete but we’ve been stonewalled.

“The Hunter region has lost too much of its bushland already. When we clear their habitat, woodland birds and bats have nowhere to go. Promises of rehabilitation decades into the future cannot compensate for clearing wildlife habitat now.

“The Department of Planning is letting mining companies bulldoze the Hunter Valley into a silent and lifeless landscape. When it comes to critically endangered forests, we can’t afford to lose any more. This mine must not be allowed to proceed.”

Related: No one interested in the Planning and Assessment Commission public hearings. Louise Nichols. Singleton Argus, published February 13, 2018;

"It’s clear the concerned community and environmental groups have no faith in the PAC process despite the Commission being described as being independent. Protesters at the United Wambo Coal Project PAC hearing said all the Commission does is rubber stamp these projects. They argue that despite putting a great deal of work into their submissions nothing ever changes and the mines are simply approved following their recommendation for this to occur by the Department of Planning and Environment."

Independent PAC to decide on Cabbage Tree Road Sand Quarry proposal

February 9th, 2018: Departmental Media Release, Department of Planning and Environment
A proposal to build a sand quarry in Williamtown, in the state’s Hunter region, is now before the independent Planning Assessment Commission for a final decision.

A spokesperson from the Department of Planning and Environment said it carefully considered the Cabbage Tree Road Sand Quarry proposal’s potential benefits and the public health issues raised.

"After a rigorous assessment and public consultation, we have found that the project could be approved. The independent Commission will now undertake its own assessment to determine whether the quarry plans will go ahead," the spokesperson said.

"Williamtown Sand Syndicate proposes to extract more than three million tonnes of sand for up to fifteen years to provide the thriving infrastructure and housing construction markets across the local Hunter region and Greater Sydney with building materials. 

"An estimated $16 million would be paid to Port Stephens Council, supporting its work providing local community services. Six permanent quarry jobs would also be generated for uptake by workers from the Hunter.

"Important public health and safety considerations were exhaustively and cautiously assessed, especially public feedback on local contamination from fire-fighting foam chemicals, known as PFAS, previously used at the Williamtown RAAF Base.

"This issue has been of utmost importance to our assessment. We have considered a number of specialist studies and consulted with seven other government agencies to consider any potential impact on the public from the proposed quarry."

The spokesperson added that the Department sought early advice on the proposal from the NSW Government’s Williamtown Contamination Expert Panel. 

"Our assessment findings and recommended conditions are consistent with the panel’s advice, which carefully considered any potential for the proposal to interact with waterborne PFAS contamination in the Williamtown area. 

"The panel advised that the proposal presents low risk with respect to PFAS exposure or contribution to the spread of PFAS, as long as quarry operations remain above the water table.

"The Cabbage Tree Road Sand Quarry plans do not propose to interfere with the groundwater table or local surface water,” the spokesperson said. 

Analysis of maximum groundwater levels since 1997 shows the water table has not reached the level of the proposed quarry. The Department’s recommended conditions restrict the quarry from interfering with the water table by regulating the quarry extraction depth.

The recommended conditions include a Maximum Extraction Depth Report, which must be prepared by the quarry before any digging takes place. The report would be regularly updated to track groundwater levels. There would be continuous monitoring of quarry operations and the water table over the life of the project to ensure distance between them is maintained. 

Independent water sampling considered in the Department’s assessment also shows that bore water at the site does not currently contain any trace of PFAS.

"To make sure any evolving PFAS risks are being monitored at the proposed quarry site, we recommend a condition that would require the company to regularly test bore water for PFAS chemicals," the spokesperson said.

"Another recommended condition requires the company to commission an independent expert to annually review all currently available information about PFAS contamination originating from the Williamtown RAAF base. The appointment of this suitably qualified expert would require approval from our Department, and the review findings would be made publicly available."

In response to submissions from the public and government agencies, Williamtown Sand Syndicate significantly amended its proposal. The company reduced the proposed maximum rate of extraction by 70,000 tonnes per year, which is the equivalent to taking 2100 trucks off the road per annum. To improve road safety for private vehicles, an emergency avoidance lane was also added to the eastbound lane of Cabbage Tree Road.

The assessment also looked in detail at the proposal’s potential noise and traffic impacts. The Department has recommended conditions to manage these appropriately, such as acceleration and deceleration lanes on Cabbage Tree Road at the quarry’s entrance.

To read the Department’s assessment report visit the NSW Major Projects website webpage

Tasmanian devil populations continue to decline

February 12, 2018
Ongoing monitoring of wild Tasmanian devils shows that overall population numbers are continuing to decline, due to the presence of devil facial tumour disease. Results of this research -- conducted by the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) in collaboration with staff from the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment (DPIPWE), San Diego Zoo Global, Toledo Zoo and the University of Tasmania -- were published this month in the Journal of Applied Ecology, in a paper titled "Density Trends and Demographic Signals Uncover the Long-term Impact of Transmissible Cancer in Tasmanian Devils."

Tasmanian devils face extinction in the wild because of devil facial tumor disease, a rare, contagious cancer found only in devils. It is transmitted from one animal to another through biting, a common behavior among devils when mating and feeding. The disease kills all infected devils within 6 to 12 months, and there is no known cure or vaccine. Lead author Billie Lazenby, Ph.D., wildlife biologist with the STDP, indicated that research of devil densities at monitoring sites, together with spotlight counts around the state, show that populations have decreased by about 80 percent following the emergence of devil facial tumour disease (DFTD).

"While the number of Tasmanian devils in the wild continues to decline and DFTD is spreading, to date, devils are still found in the wild in Tasmania," she said. "We are now dealing with very small and potentially isolated groups of devils across Tasmania. The ongoing impact of DFTD, which continues to cause high mortality in devils, could make them vulnerable to other threats."

Research further indicates that remaining wild populations are showing slight reproductive changes, possibly in response to the challenges posed by the disease. "Devils in diseased areas are now breeding younger and having more pouch young, which has allowed them to persist at low levels in the wild," said Mathias Tobler, Ph.D., Population Sustainability scientist with San Diego Zoo Global. "This research has shown the structure of the wild devil populations in diseased areas has shifted dramatically, with devils over the age of 2 being very rare, compared to sites before DFTD emerged. Earlier breeding in young devils means that they are contracting DFTD younger, often as 1-year-olds."

Although these reproductive shifts are allowing the populations of this species to maintain, the overall reduction may indicate that the species is at greater risk of extinction due to other factors. "While devils have persisted to date in the wild, such large reductions in their numbers and the change in their age structure means their populations are impacted more by other threats, such as roadkill, bushfire, loss of genetic diversity, variation in food availability caused by drought and changes in the ecosystem as it responds to the loss of devils in the wild," said David Pemberton, Ph.D., STDP program manager and senior author. "Efforts to manage the devils, such as the development of an immunotherapy, are ongoing, but remain in a research-and-development phase."

Tasmanian devils are listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. They are native to the island state of Tasmania, which is part of Australia, where they live in forest, woodland and agricultural areas. Tasmanian devils are nocturnal hunters and use their keen senses of smell and hearing to find prey or carrion. They can give off a fierce snarl and high-pitched scream, which can be heard at feeding time, to establish dominance. San Diego Zoo Global is working with the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program and zoos and universities in Australia to create disease-free populations of this species, to ensure the species does not go extinct.

Billie T. Lazenby, Mathias W. Tobler, William E. Brown, Clare E. Hawkins, Greg J. Hocking, Fiona Hume, Stewart Huxtable, Philip Iles, Menna E. Jones, Clare Lawrence, Sam Thalmann, Phil Wise, Howel Williams, Samantha Fox, David Pemberton. Density trends and demographic signals uncover the long-term impact of transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils. Journal of Applied Ecology, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.13088

First scientific expedition to newly exposed Antarctic ecosystem

February 12, 2018
A team of scientists, led by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), heads to Antarctica this week (14 February) to investigate a mysterious marine ecosystem that's been hidden beneath an Antarctic ice shelf for up to 120,000 years.

The iceberg known as A68, which is four times of London, calved off from the Larsen Ice Shelf in July 2017. The scientists will travel by ship to collect samples from the newly exposed seabed, which covers an area of around 5,818 km2. It is an urgent mission. The ecosystem that's likely been hidden beneath the ice for thousands of years may change as sunlight starts to alter the surface layers of the sea.

The international team, from nine research institutes, leaves Stanley in the Falkland Islands on 21 February to spend 3 weeks in February-March 2018 on board the BAS research ship RRS James Clark Ross. Satellite monitoring is critical for the ship to navigate through the ice-infested waters to reach this remote location.

Marine biologist Dr Katrin Linse from British Antarctic Survey is leading the mission. She says: "The calving of A68 provides us with a unique opportunity study marine life as it responds to a dramatic environmental change. It's important we get there quickly before the undersea environment changes as sunlight enters the water and new species begin to colonise. We've put together a team with a wide range of scientific skills so that we can collect as much information as possible in a short time. It's very exciting."

The team will investigate the area previously under the ice shelf by collecting seafloor animals, microbes, plankton, sediments and water samples using a range of equipment including video cameras and a special sledge pulled along the seafloor to collect tiny animals. They will also record any marine mammals and birds that might have moved into the area. Their findings will provide a picture of what life under the ice shelf was like so changes to the ecosystem can be tracked.

This newly exposed marine area is the first to benefit from an international agreement made in 2016 by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). This agreement designates Special Areas for Scientific Study in newly exposed marine areas following the collapse or retreat of ice shelves across the Antarctic Peninsula region. The agreement came following a European Union proposal to CCAMLR, led by British Antarctic Survey (BAS) scientists.

Professor David Vaughan, Science Director at BAS says: "The calving of A68 offers a new and unprecedented opportunity to establish an interdisciplinary scientific research programme in this climate sensitive region. Now is the time to address fundamental questions about the sustainability of polar continental shelves under climate change.

We need to be bold on this one. Larsen C is a long way south and there's lots of sea ice in the area, but this is important science, so we will try our best to get the team where they need to be."

Prof. Dr. Angelika Brandt from the Marine Zoology department is on board representing the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum. During and after the Larsen-C expedition Brandt and collaborators will focus on biodiversity and assemblage structure assessment of the epi- and suprabenthic peracarid crustaceans and their respective colonisation in this newly developed benthic ecosystem.

While the team mobilises for the expedition, glaciologists and remote sensing specialists continue to monitor the movement of the Larsen C Ice Shelf. In December 2017, a team from University of Leeds worked on the remaining ice shelf to investigate changes in ice structure after the calving event, to be able to predict shelf stability in the future.

Materials provided by Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum.

Promoting the remediation of contaminated land in NSW

Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment
The NSW Government is proposing planning policy improvements that will provide greater clarity, guidance and consistency for the remediation of contaminated land.
 
The Department of Planning and Environment’s Deputy Secretary for Policy, Strategy & Governance, Alison Frame, said the Department is reviewing the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) for the remediation of land and the Contaminated Land Planning Guidelines as part of our wider policy review program.
 
“For almost 20 years, the existing remediation state policy and associated planning guidelines have provided the planning framework for the management of contaminated land in NSW,” Ms Frame said.
 
“It’s worked well in the past. But as technology improves and community expectations evolve, we need to make sure we have the latest requirements for the remediation of contaminated lands.”
 
The Department is exhibiting an Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) for a new Remediation of Land SEPP, as well as draft Planning Guidelines and is seeking comment from the community.
 
It is proposed the new Remediation of Land SEPP will:
  • provide an updated and clearer State-wide planning framework for the remediation of land;
  • require consent authorities to consider the potential for land to be contaminated when determining development applications;
  • clearly list the remediation works that require development consent; and
  • introduce certification and operational requirements for remediation works that can be undertaken without development consent.
The EIE and the draft Planning Guidelines, as well as information on how to provide feedback, is available here.

Stop the senseless destruction of our wildlife: Nature Conservation Council (NSW) taking State Government to Court

By Nature Conservation Council (NSW)
Thousands of possums, quolls, koalas and gliders will be killed each year now that the Coalition government has gutted our tree-clearing laws. Nationals MPs, big agri-business and developers are being given powers to trash our precious woodlands under the new Biodiveristy Conservation Act. This new act will:
  • add extinction pressures to our state's 1000 threatened species;
  • threaten our clean, reliable water supplies;
  • turn our fertile land into wasteland through erosion and salinity; 
  • put landmark trees and bushland at risk; and
  • add further to Australia's carbon pollution.

Biodiversity offsets law will drive extinctions
The use of biodiversity offsetting schemes in NSW is adding extinction pressure to the very species those schemes are supposed to protect, a new report has found.

Biodiversity offsetting lets a developer clear bushland if they buy, protect and improve bushland elsewhere.

In theory, offsetting is supposed to ensure there is no loss in biodiversity values. In practice, offsetting is pushing species to the brink. Read our analysis of offsetting schemes in NSW over the past 10 years.

We are taking the Berejiklian government to court to scrap its destructive land-clearing laws, to defend nature and the rule of law.

More information on the case

Our case seeks to overturn the worst elements of the land-clearing laws on two grounds:
  1. Failure to adequately consider the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development
The Primary Industries Minister and the Environment Minister had a legal duty to consider the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development when making the land-clearing codes. That includes proper consideration of internationally recognised legal principles such as intergenerational equity, the precautionary principle, and conservation of biodiversity. Documents obtained under freedom of information laws suggests the Ministers failed to do so.

      2. Failure of the Primary Industries Minister to obtain                                    concurrence of the Environment Minister

The Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair had a legal duty to obtain the “concurrence” (more simply the agreement) of the Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton before “making” the codes. Documents obtained under freedom of information laws suggest that Ms Upton approved the codes on August 25, one day after Mr Blair had made them on August 24.

If our legal challenge is successful, the government should scrap these bad laws, go back to the drawing board and make new codes that actually protect our threatened species.

We are being represented by public interest environmental lawyers EDO NSW. The case was referred to the Land and Environment Court on Friday, November 24, and we are awaiting a hearing date. Check back to this page for updates as they occur.

We need to raise funds to run this court case.

Please donate today to protect nature from unsustainable land clearing. We urgently need your support. 

Call for National Heritage List nominations

Media release - The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy
Nominations are now open for places of outstanding natural, Indigenous or historic significance to the nation for possible inclusion on our National Heritage List.

“Our prestigious National Heritage List celebrates and protects places that reflect our unique landscapes, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and development as a nation,” said the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy.

“The List currently includes more than 100 sites from across Australia and its territories, ranging from icons such as Bondi Beach, Fraser Island and Kakadu National Park to lesser-known gems such as the Dirk Hartog’s Landing Site, Darlington Probation Station, Mount William Stone Hatchet Quarry, Witjira-Dalhousie Springs and the High Court-National Gallery Precinct.”

“Each year, more places are added to the List as our national story unfolds and understanding of our heritage deepens.”

Nominations are open until 26 February 2016 and will be considered by the Australian Heritage Council before a final list of places to be assessed in 2018-19 is developed. As part of that assessment process, there will be further opportunities for public comment on each proposed listing.

Nominations of natural, Indigenous and historic places with significant heritage value for possible Commonwealth heritage listing are also being sought.

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.

Living Ocean


Living Ocean was born in Whale Beach, on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, surrounded by water and set in an area of incredible beauty.
Living Ocean is a charity that promotes the awareness of human impact on the ocean, through research, education, creative activity in the community, and support of others who sustain ocean health and integrity.

And always celebrating and honouring the natural environment and the lifestyle that the ocean offers us.

Our whale research program builds on research that has been conducted off our coastline by our experts over many years and our Centre for Marine Studies enables students and others to become directly involved.

Through partnerships with individuals and organizations, we conceive, create and coordinate campaigns that educate all layers of our community – from our ‘No Plastic Please’ campaign, which is delivered in partnership with local schools, to film nights and lectures, aimed at the wider community.

Additionally, we raise funds for ocean-oriented conservation groups such as Sea Shepherd.

Donations are tax-deductable 

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

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. 

 Profile

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.

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/

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                     2nd 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

New “Coastal Management Guide” Teaching Resource Released

Researchers from UNSW Water Resaerch Laborsatory (WRL) in partnership with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, have developed a new ‘Coastal Management Guide’ designed for High School teachers involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education: http://www.narrabeen.wrl.unsw.edu.au/teaching/

The Guide is designed to assist teachers to engage their students (target ages 11 – 16 years) in the complex issues of Coastal Management, with coastal erosion as the “attractor”. Background information spanning topics such as ‘the dynamic coast’, ’what are the issues’, ‘managing for the future’ and ‘how do we measure coastal change’ is presented. A broad range of fully developed independent and guided student activities are provided for use inside and outside the classroom, including hands-on experiments, analysis of media reporting, and role-playing. 



The Guide targets Australian High School STEM curriculum areas (Years 7–10) of Physical Sciences, Human Society & its Environment (HSIE), Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences and Maths. More broadly, it is anticipated that the Guide’s educational themes and activities will provide a useful and stimulating resource in any classroom where ‘living at the coast’ can provide a launching point into diverse areas of secondary school STEM education.

The full Guide is freely available in two formats: pdf for download and eBook for online viewing.

No Gas Drilling Off Newcastle Petition

Gas company Advent Energy has approval to start seismic exploration for oil and gas off the coast from Newcastle and the Central Coast. 

Seismic exploration creates sonic underwater blasts that puts marine wildlife at risk, including migrating whales, and impacts productive local fishing grounds.

If Advent Energy finds gas, the next step will be a push for an oil and gas field off the coast off Newcastle and the Central Coast. That's a proposition the local community will never accept. 

It’s not worth risking the health of the marine environment, our valuable fisheries resources and the local jobs it sustains for oil and gas exploration where the community will never accept a future gas field. 

Sign the petition to say NO GAS DRILLING OFF NEWCASTLE:
Dear The Premier of NSW.,

I oppose seismic exploration off the coast of Newcastle and the Central Coast and call on your Government to take steps to cancel the existing exploration licence and ban future offshore oil and gas development in NSW. 

1. Seismic exploration has been shown to impact on the hearing and navigation of whales and negatively impact on marine habitat and biodiversity. 

2. Offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling puts at risk local fishing and tourism industries that rely on a healthy oceans and a vibrant marine and coastal environment. 

3. An oil spill off the coast between Sydney and Newcastle could be catastrophic. The risk of oil and gas leaks and spills has been shown around Australia and the world. No matter the quality of regulations, accidents happen. The risk is unacceptable. 

4. NSW should be pursuing clean renewable energy, not more polluting and risk fossil fuel. 

$1 million in grants to support environmental research

February 13, 2018: NSW OE&H
Current and future environmental issues will be boosted with grant funding of $1 million now available as the NSW Environmental Trust Environmental Research program opens.

Office of Environment and Heritage Director Grants, Peter Dixon said the funding supports academics and scientific institutions, working in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

"Projects to be funded will use applied research to investigate new knowledge and advanced techniques to answer complex environmental issues," Mr Dixon said.

"For the 2018 grant program, new research priorities have been set and proposals must focus on resource management; wetlands and river systems; landscape management and/or marine, coastal and estuarine ecosystems.

"The funding supports projects preventing environmental harm and forging successful, real-world solutions to solve environmental problems in NSW.

"Individual grants of up to $150,000 are available and I encourage interested researchers to apply.

"Past funding has played a critical role in a variety of projects, from investigating how to integrate Aboriginal Culture into long-term successful engagement in environmental issues, to developing a theoretical model to reduce the environmental impacts of unsorted waste leaving construction sites.

"A total of 146 expressions of interest were received in the last funding round so I anticipate high interest in this round too," Mr Dixon said.

The 2018 Environmental Research program, run by the NSW Environmental Trust, will close on Monday 12 March.

To find out more about the application process visit the Environmental Trust's Environmental Research grants page.

Meeting Of Environment Ministers: Environmental Management of Industrial Chemicals 

February 16, 2018: Australian Government Dept. of Environment and Energy
Australian environment ministers note the progress on the development of a National Standard for environmental risk management of industrial chemicals. The Commonwealth and states and territories have been working collaboratively, and with close consultation with business and the
community, to develop the National Standard.

The National Standard is an innovative framework that will achieve better protection of the environment and provide a nationally consistent, transparent, predictable and streamlined approach to environmental risk management of industrial chemicals for all Australians.

The Australian Government will commence drafting legislation to establish this framework for protecting the health of our environment and everything living in it.

All jurisdictions will continue to work together and consult broadly during implementation of the National Standard to ensure we deliver the best possible outcomes for governments, businesses and the community.

Further information on the National Standard is available at:

Environmental Restoration and Rehabilitation Grants

February 6th, 2018: NSW O&H
The Restoration and Rehabilitation grants program is now open to applications, and will close on Monday, 26 March 2018

Purpose
To assist in the ongoing sustainable management and stewardship of significant environmental assets and services in NSW.

Funding
Individual grants of up to $100,000 with a total of $2,000,000 for community organisations and $2,000,000 for government entities. 

Who can apply
Community groups and organisations, incorporated associations, non-profit organisations, non-commercial cooperatives, Trusts and government entities.

Update on Baleen 2D HR Seismic Survey 

(The survey comprises 46 2D lines of total length 208km.) - 
NOPSEMA 'Not reasonably satisfied – opportunity to modify EP'
Decision date: 03/08/2017 
Titleholder action Resubmission due date 3: 02/09/2017
Extension of timeframe: 17/08/2017 Titleholder action: 15/10/2017
Extension of timeframe: 05/10/2017 Titleholder action: 31/10/2017
Resubmission of EP: 31/10/2017 NOPSEMA decision: 30/11/2017
Request for further information: 30/11/2017 Titleholder action: 21/12/2017
Acceptance of EP: 10/01/2018 Titleholder action: 20/01/2018 Decision notification (PDF 707 KB)
Submission of EP summary 19/01/2018 NOPSEMA decision 29/01/2018
Publication of EP summary 16/02/2018 - (not published/available at this date or yet - 18/2/2018)




From Decision notification:
Basis of decision 
NOPSEMA has assessed the environment plan in accordance with its assessment policies and procedures. 

On completion of assessment, NOPSEMA has decided that it is not reasonably satisfied that the environment plan meets the criteria below as set out in regulation 10A of the Environment Regulations: 
(a) is appropriate for the nature and scale of the activity 
(b) demonstrates that the environmental impacts and risks of the activity will be reduced to as low as reasonably practicable 
(c) demonstrates that the environmental impacts and risks of the activity will be of an acceptable level 
(d) provides for appropriate environmental performance outcomes, environmental performance standards and measurement criteria 
(e) includes an appropriate implementation strategy and monitoring, recording and reporting arrangements 
(g) demonstrates that: 
(i) the titleholder has carried out the consultations required by Division 2.2A 
(ii) the measures (if any) that the titleholder has adopted, or proposes to adopt, because of the consultations are appropriate 

Titleholder requirements 
For OMR decision In accordance with regulation 10, the titleholder is required to modify and resubmit the environment plan. Upon resubmission of the plan, NOPSEMA will continue to assess the submission in 
accordance with its assessment policies and make a decision under regulation 10. After a titleholder has been provided with reasonable opportunity to modify and resubmit an environment plan, NOPSEMA will 
make a final decision on whether to accept or refuse to accept the environment plan. 

National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) regulates all offshore areas in Commonwealth waters, which comprise those areas beyond the first three nautical miles of the territorial sea. This includes the Ashmore and Cartier offshore territories and offshore areas adjacent to all states and the Northern Territory. 

NOPSEMA also regulates all offshore areas in coastal waters where a state or territory has conferred regulatory powers and functions. In jurisdictions where powers to regulate are not conferred, regulatory responsibilities remain with the relevant state or territory. 

Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment Activities

Bush Regeneration - Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment  
This is a wonderful way to become connected to nature and contribute to the health of the environment.  Over the weeks and months you can see positive changes as you give native species a better chance to thrive.  Wildlife appreciate the improvement in their habitat.

Belrose area - Thursday mornings 
Belrose area - Weekend mornings by arrangement
Contact: Phone or text Conny Harris on 0432 643 295

Wheeler Creek - Wednesday mornings 9-11am
Contact: Phone or text Judith Bennett on 0402 974 105
Or email: Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment : email@narrabeenlagoon.org.au

Spotlight Walk - 8pm Friday March 9
7:30pm - 9:30pm.
Ever wanted to see some of Sydney's Bushland icons - the Red-Crowned Toadlet, Giant Burrowing Frog and Eastern Pygmy Possum? Learn about what wildlife lives after dark and witness these unique creatures in their natural habitat. Meeting point provided upon booking. 
Booking essential: email@narrabeenlagoon.org.au

Narrabeen Lagoon Eco Paddle
1pm Sat Mar 31, 2018
A relaxing 2 to 3 hour afternoon paddle. No previous kayaking experience required, tuition given. BYO boat or a hire kayak can be arranged at cost.
Bookings essential.
Email tonycarr@ozemail.com.au or call 0417 502 056

Exploratory Walk 
7:30am Sun 11/2/18 
Walk starting from Deep Creek. Allow 5 hours. Only fit walkers. 
Booking essential: Conny 0432 643 295 

Upper Deep Creek Catchment walk 
Sat 28/4/18 
Start 10am at Terrey Hills and allow 3 hours and bring a screwdriver for some voluntary weeding near the end of the track. 
See and identify spectacular Sydney sandstone flora in “autumn” blossom. Carpool required. Bookings essential: Conny Harris 0432 643 295 

Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment transverse 
Sat 19/5/18 
Start 9am - finish 1.30pm.
This walk is a hidden gem. Also lovely scenic views and sometimes rare fauna. Plant ID as we go and a brief lunch break BYO. Carpool back.
Bookings essential: Conny Harris 0432 643 295

Cromer to Oxford Falls 
Sun 10/6/18 
Start 10am from Cromer Rd, allow 4 hrs and bring lunch to see great carvings near Red Hill, fantastic views over Narrabeen Lagoon and as typical for this catchment very different vegetation communities. Plant ID as we go. We will walk down to Oxford Falls and carpool back. Bookings needed: Conny Harris 0432 643 295 

Green Team Beach Cleans 2018!

Hosted by The Green Team
The Green Team is back for 2018! 
It has been estimated that we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050...These beach cleans are aimed at reducing the vast amounts of plastic from entering our oceans before they harm marine life. 

Anyone and everyone is welcome! If you would like to come along, please bring a bucket, gloves and hat. Kids of all ages are also welcome! 

The Green Team is a Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative from Avalon, Sydney. Keeping our area green and clean.

Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park: 1080 Fox Baiting Program

1080 fox baits (sodium fluoroacetate) will be laid in various locations across Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and Garigal National Park from Thursday 1 February 2018 to Tuesday 31 July 2018.  

The baited areas will contain buried baits or ejector capsules. Do not touch the baits or ejector devices as they are poisonous. 1080 is highly lethal to domestic animals and pet owners are reminded that dogs are not permitted in national parks.

For further information during business hours please contact NPWS Greater Sydney Branch Pest Officer on (02) 9542 0678.

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park: Aboriginal Heritage walk, Akuna Bay,
America Bay walking track, Apple Tree picnic area, Bairne walking track,
Barrenjoey Lighthouse, Basin Aboriginal art site, Beechwood Cottage,
Birrawanna walking track, Bobbin Head, Bobbin Head Information Centre
Centre trail, d'Albora Marinas at Akuna Bay, Empire Marina Bobbin Head,
Gibberagong walking track, Great North walk – Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Kalkari Discovery Centre, Mount Colah Station to Pymble Station cycle route, Mount Ku-ring-gai track to Berowra Station Perimeter trail,
Red Hands Cave walking track - Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park,
Resolute picnic area, Salvation loop trail, Sphinx Memorial, Sphinx Memorial to Bobbin Head loop track, The Basin campground, The Basin picnic area, The Basin track and Mackerel track, The Pavillion picnic shelter, The Station picnic shelter, Topham walking track, Wallaroo walking track, Waratah walking track, West Head lookout, Willunga Trig walking track


Clean Up Australia Day 2018

Community - Sunday 4 March
Schools/Youth Clean Up Day - Friday 2 March
Business Clean Up Day - Tuesday 27 Feb

Clean Up Australia Day - Sunday 4 March.
But Remember - Everyday is Clean Up Day - so you can register an event at any time of the year.

Because when the rubbish is gone, nature can carry on ....
Register your own Clean Up site or  volunteer at a site near you .

You can see our Site Supervisor Checklist for how to go about finding, registering and organising your Clean Up.

Site Supervisors will receive a Clean Up starter kit.

For everything you will need and more Visit: www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au

Scotland Island is registered to participate once again! 

This event encourages and inspires thousands of Australians to take to their local park, beach, bushland and streets and really help make a difference to their local environment 

If you would like to help out, either by grabbing a bag and filling it, or helping to supervise activities, please email cassgye@spin.net.au to put your name on the list. 

Come down to your nearest Wharf to collect a bag between the hours of 9am and 12.00pm.  
Bring gloves, sunscreen, hat, sensible clothes and footwear – and don’t forget to bring some water too!   
Toby and his crew will be out on the Laurel Mae to collect material. 

Coasters Retreat

Meeting Point: Fire Shed
This Clean Up is a recurring one which takes place yearly.

Next Clean Up: March 2nd 2018
End Date: March 4th 2018
Start time: 8:30 AM
End time: 4:30 PM

Site Coordinator Details
Wilma Taylor

Bayview

Site Address
Pittwater Rd, Bayview NSW
Bayview
NSW 2104

Meeting Point: Bayview Sea Scouts Hall
This Clean Up is a recurring one which takes place yearly.
Next Clean Up: March 4th 2018
End Date: March 4th 2018
Start time: 9:00 AM
End time: 12:00 AM

Site Coordinator Details
Jenny Hermann

Mona Vale Beach

Site Address
Mona Vale Beach
Mona Vale
NSW 2103

Meeting Point: Mona Vale Beach
Date: March 2nd 2018
Start time: 8:00 AM
End time: 10:00 AM

Site Coordinator Details
Natasha Power

Narrabeen-Warriewood

Representing: Upper Northern Beaches Rotary Club
About Our Site
Join us to help clean up, fix up and conserve the environment.

Site Address
Coastal Environment Centre
Narrabeen lagoon, Lake Park Road North Narrabeen 2103
Mona Vale
NSW 2103

Meeting Point: Volunteers will meet at the Coastal Environment Centre and work north towards Warriewood SLSC
This Clean Up is a recurring one which takes place yearly.

Next Clean Up: March 4th 2018
End Date: March 3rd 2019
Start time: 9:30 AM
End time: 11:00 AM

Site Coordinator Details
Michael Baxter

Warriewood Beach and SLSC

Join us to help clean up, fix up and conserve the environment.

Site Address
Narrabeen Park Parade
Warriewood
NSW 2102

Meeting Point: Timber platform on beach next to car park.
This Clean Up is a recurring one which takes place yearly.
Next Clean Up: March 4th 2018
Start time: 09:30 AM
End time: 10:00 AM

Site Coordinator Details
Bruce Kelly

Narrabeen Rock Pool

Site Address
Ocean Street
North Narrabeen
NSW 2101

Meeting Point: Car Park
This Clean Up is a recurring one which takes place yearly.

Next Clean Up: March 4th 2018
Start time: 11:00 AM
End time: 12:00 PM

Site Coordinator Details
Peter Collings

Wimbledon Island, Narrabeen Lagoon

Site Address
Wimbleton Avenue Park
North Narrabeen
NSW 2101

Meeting Point: Park at end of Wimbleton Avenue
This Clean Up is a recurring one which takes place yearly.

Next Clean Up: March 4th 2018
End Date: March 4th 2018
Start time: 9:00 AM
End time: 12:00 PM

Site Coordinator Details
Rick Shires

Bloomfield Colliery Modification 4 Extension

Extension to the current life of mining.
No details up yet
Exhibition Start         02/02/2018
Exhibition End        02/03/2018

Sea level rise accelerating: acceleration in 25-year satellite sea level record

February 12, 2018
Global sea level rise is not cruising along at a steady 3 mm per year, it's accelerating a little every year, like a driver merging onto a highway, according to a powerful new assessment led by CIRES Fellow Steve Nerem. He and his colleagues harnessed 25 years of satellite data to calculate that the rate is increasing by about 0.08 mm/year every year -- which could mean an annual rate of sea level rise of 10 mm/year, or even more, by 2100.

"This acceleration, driven mainly by accelerated melting in Greenland and Antarctica, has the potential to double the total sea level rise by 2100 as compared to projections that assume a constant rate -- to more than 60 cm instead of about 30." said Nerem, who is also a professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. "And this is almost certainly a conservative estimate," he added. "Our extrapolation assumes that sea level continues to change in the future as it has over the last 25 years. Given the large changes we are seeing in the ice sheets today, that's not likely."

If the oceans continue to change at this pace, sea level will rise 65cm (26 inches) by 2100 -- enough to cause significant problems for coastal cities, according to the new assessment by Nerem and several colleagues from CU Boulder, the University of South Florida, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Old Dominion University, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The team, driven to understand and better predict Earth's response to a warming world, published their work today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere increase the temperature of air and water, which causes sea level to rise in two ways. First, warmer water expands, and this "thermal expansion" of the oceans has contributed about half of the 7 cm of global mean sea level rise we've seen over the last 25 years, Nerem said. Second, melting land ice flows into the ocean, also increasing sea level across the globe.

These increases were measured using satellite altimeter measurements since 1992, including the U.S./European TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1, Jason-2, and Jason-3 satellite missions. But detecting acceleration is challenging, even in such a long record. Episodes like volcanic eruptions can create variability: the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 decreased global mean sea level just before the Topex/Poseidon satellite launch, for example. In addition, global sea level can fluctuate due to climate patterns such as El Niños and La Niñas (the opposing phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation, or ENSO) which influence ocean temperature and global precipitation patterns.

So Nerem and his team used climate models to account for the volcanic effects and other datasets to determine the ENSO effects, ultimately uncovering the underlying sea-level rate and acceleration over the last quarter century. They also used data from the GRACE satellite gravity mission to determine that the acceleration is largely being driven by melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica.

The team also used tide gauge data to assess potential errors in the altimeter estimate. "The tide gauge measurements are essential for determining the uncertainty in the GMSL (global mean sea level) acceleration estimate," said co-author Gary Mitchum, USF College of Marine Science. "They provide the only assessments of the satellite instruments from the ground." Others have used tide gauge data to measure GMSL acceleration, but scientists have struggled to pull out other important details from tide-gauge data, such as changes in the last couple of decades due to more active ice sheet melt.

"This study highlights the important role that can be played by satellite records in validating climate model projections," said co-author John Fasullo, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. "It also demonstrates the importance of climate models in interpreting satellite records, such as in our work where they allow us to estimate the background effects of the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo on global sea level."

Although this research is impactful, the authors consider their findings to be just a first step. The 25-year record is just long enough to provide an initial detection of acceleration -- the results will become more robust as the Jason-3 and subsequent altimetry satellites lengthen the time series.

Ultimately, the research is important because it provides a data-driven assessment of how sea level has been changing, and this assessment largely agrees with projections using independent methods. Future research will focus on refining the results in this study with longer time series, and extending the results to regional sea level, so they can better predict what will happen in your backyard.

R. S. Nerem, B. D. Beckley, J. T. Fasullo, B. D. Hamlington, D. Masters and G. T. Mitchum. Climate-change–driven accelerated sea-level rise detected in the altimeter era. PNAS, 2018 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1717312115

Australia’s strategy for nature 2018–2030: Australia’s biodiversity conservation strategy and action inventory

by Department of Environment and Energy
Draft Revision of Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy

On 25 November 2016, Australian, State and Territory Environment Ministers agreed to revise “Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy: 2010 – 2030” based on the findings of a review into the first five years of the Strategy’s implementation.  During 2017 a working group of officials from Australian, state and territory governments, and the Australian Local Government Association has worked together to prepare a revised Strategy. 

The Strategy has been revised to improve its ability to drive change in biodiversity management priorities, and its alignment with Australia's international biodiversity commitments.

Called “Australia’s Strategy for Nature 2018-2030: Australia’s biodiversity conservation strategy and action inventory”, the draft revised Strategy is open for public comment from 15 December 2017 until 16 March 2018. 

Avalon Boomerang Bags 2018

Avalon Boomerang Bags sewing bees will be starting again on Tuesday 30th January 11am-4pm at Sew Craft Cook. 20/14 Polo Ave, Mona Vale. 

Looking forward to catching up with everyone’s holiday news. 

Newcomers especially welcome! Don’t need to know how to sew, we will teach you.

Permaculture Northern Beaches 2018 Events

Manly • Warringah • Pittwater | Sydney
Permaculture Northern Beaches (PNB) is an active local group based on Sydney's Northern Beaches.  Our parent body is  Permaculture Sydney North.

PNB hold monthly permaculture related events on the 4th Thursday of each month at 7:15pm at the  Nelson Heather Community Centre,  Banksia Room, 5 Jacksons Rd, Warriewood

LOW TOXIC LIFE
Thursday, February 22, 2018: 7:15pm – 9:00pm
Nellson Heather Comunity centre 
5 Jacksons Road, North Narrabeen
onight's presentation on a  low tox life is for people curious about HOW to and WHY to lower their toxic load, and then helps them do that in a positive, empowered way across home, body, mind and food. Alexx Stuart is a speaker who brings the concept of the Low Tox Life to life through her speaking and workshops across the globe leaving audiences feeling hopeful and positive about detoxing your life. This can range from products you use in your home, bathroom, on your body,  what we eat and what we plant in the garden.

Start the year with a detox!
7:15 Pm at Nelson Heather Centre, Banksia room, 5 Jacksons Road, North Narrabeen.  Entry is by donation, all welcome!!

We also have a swap table for any items from your garden or items to reuse for others.  There is organic teas and coffees available, bring a plate of food to share.

AUTUMN SEED WORKSHOP + GARDEN TOUR
Sunday, March 25, 2018: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
For anyone interested in Seed Saving, join our PNB seed saving afternoon at Bungan Edible Sanctuary.  Every three months,  we meet to exchange seeds, package up excess seeds for distributing at the PNB monthly meeting and share whatever knowledge we have about seeds, seed saving and what grows well in our area. 

This seed workshop will also include a garden tour around Bungun Edible Sanctuary which includes aquaculture, native bees, raised beds, chickens and a lot more.

Bring along seeds to swap that you are pretty sure are open-pollinated (not hybrid) and have been sourced from your own garden, or from somewhere you know OR  bring a plate of food or healthy drinks to share around the table.

Please register for the Seed workshop by emailing  JJ – jj@moksha7.com

ECO PRODUCTS MAKING WORKSHOP
Sunday, April 15, 2018: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Learn how to make  Eco-cleaning products such as dish washing liquid, householder cleaning spray, toilet cleaner, and furniture polish. We also make skin care products such as organic body moisturiser, essential oil perfumes and natural tooth powder. 

Today's workshop at Avalon will involve making these products with an experienced team so as you can them make them for your own use at home. Spaces are limited. If you would like to be involved in the team and this workshop at Avalon please  book your place by email to :  maria.i.claverol@gmail.com

We are exposed to over 2,000 chemicals in our homes. For many of us this is the most exposure we will receive in our daily lives. This workshop is an easy and effective way to use non-chemical and non-petroleum based products.

This is part of our Green Home initiative and our focus in February and March for a non-toxic lifestyle made possible by the community grant program from the Northern Beaches Council.

INTRODUCTION TO PERMACULTURE WEEKEND COURSE
Saturday, April 28, 2018 – Sunday, April 29, 2018: 9:30am

WANT TO TAKE SUSTAINABLE LIVING TO THE NEXT LEVEL?
This two-day permaculture course is a great overview of all aspects of permaculture - so as to enable you to take the next steps to incorporate this into your life. Over the weekend we will cover topics from organic gardening, sustainable housing, soil, site analysis for your garden/site, permaculture design, and zoning. You will receive an Introduction to Permaculture certificate and a copy of Bill Mollison's book " Introduction to Permaculture."  The course will be held at the Coastal Environment Centre (CEC) on Pelican Walk, Narrabeen Lagoon.  This will also allow for some practical exercises such as PLANTING A RAISED BED GARDENand NATIVE BEES. You will learn how to include permaculture design in your own home and garden.

The course will be from 09:30 - 4:30 pm on both days. For bookings and information please contact - elle232@gmail.com with the subject heading ITP April 2018.

Teachers for the weekend include Margaret Mossakowska, biologist, and Moss House Sustainability founder and Michelle Sheather, international ecologist, Permaculture Northern Beaches coordination team.

Cost:  $290 for permaculture group members, $330 for non-members, concessions available for students, pensioners, unemployed.
BOOK NOW AS PLACE ARE LIMITED!

SMALL SPACE GARDENING WORKSHOP
Saturday, May 12, 2018: 10:00am – 1:00pm

BIG IDEAS FOR SMALL SPACES
There are many scenarios where garden space is minimal including rental properties; apartments with balconies;  townhouses with small courtyards; retirement homes; caravan parks; community garden allotments and many suburban blocks.

This workshop on small space gardening is to help you make the most of the space you have.  You will learn techniques such as stacking, hanging pots, lattices, using narrow niches and wall and fence spaces, portable grow bags, clever plant choices such as dwarf varieties and low maintenance plants that take up minimum space with a high yield. 

Design your garden to optimise your space. Join Angela Penn, kitchen garden teacher at Manly West Primary School; and science teacher for this workshop at Manly Vale Community Garden.

Organised by PNB in cooperation with Backyard in a Box. Bookings are essential inquiries:  kiri@backyardinabox.com.au

Long Reef Walks 2018 Season

If you’d like to join us on a walk please contact me a couple of weeks before the walk date to make a booking. FREE GUIDED WALKS of Long Reef Aquatic Reserve with NSW Department of Industry & Investment Fishcare Volunteers will be held on the following date:

Dates for 2018
Sunday 18 February 2018              4:00pm – 6:00pm
Sunday 18 March 2018                   3:00pm – 5:00pm
Sunday 15 April 2018                      1:00pm  – 3:00pm

~ Walks are held subject to weather conditions ~

Bookings are preferred.
Please email Wendy to book: longreefwalks@gmail.com

Phil Colman, who keeps us updated on the Fishcare Volunteer Walks, has said, when sending in these monthly dates for the new season walks;

"I am only too happy to take individuals or small groups of senior school students out when I might be able to help them with their studies, give them possible projects or whatever.  

Keep in mind that I am totally dictated to by tides, but am retired and basically available at any time.  I am not, by the way, looking for payment.  If I can steer someone in the direction of marine study, I’m paid enough!"

You contact Phil via email at: phil@easy.com.au - ph; 9982 6142

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.

The Green Team

Profile
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. 
Creating Beach Cleans events, starting their own, sustainability days - ‘action speaks louder than words’ ethos is at the core of this group. 

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

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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What Does PNHA do?

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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.

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/

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

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.

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. 



  "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

Amendments to the Threatened Species List

February 15, 2018: Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy
The Minister has approved the inclusion of 19 species, transfer of 8 species, removal of 2 species and retention of 3 species in their current category in the EPBC Act list of threatened species. He also found 3 species ineligible for listing. The amendments were effective under the EPBC Act on 15 February 2018, except for the Scalloped Hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) which will be effective on 15 March 2018.

Common name                                       Scientific name            Type                  Category
Central Rock-rat                                  Zyzomys pedunculatus         Mammal                  Transfer from Endangered to Critically Endangered
Christmas Island shrew                 Crocidura trichura                 Mammal                  Transfer from Endangered to Critically Endangered
Mountain Pygmy-possum                  Burramys parvus                 Mammal                   Retain as Endangered
Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat          Lasiorhinus krefftii         Mammal                  Transfer from Endangered to Critically Endangered
Numbat                                                  Myrmecobius fasciatus Mammal                   Transfer from Vulnerable to Endangered
Woylie                                                  Bettongia penicillata         Mammal                   Retain as Endangered
Baudin's cockatoo                          Calyptorhynchus baudinii Bird                           Transfer from Vulnerable to Endangered
Crimson Finch (White-bellied) Neochmia phaeton evangelinae Bird                           Transfer from Vulnerable to Endangered
Noisy Scrub-bird                                     Atrichornis clamosus Bird                           Transfer from Vulnerable to Endangered
Princess Parrot                                       Polytelis alexandrae Bird                           Retain as Vulnerable
Western Bristlebird                            Dasyornis longirostris Bird                          Transfer from Vulnerable to Endangered
Pinkeye Mullet                                      Trachystoma petardi Fish                           Not listed (ineligible under any criterion)
Scalloped Hammerhead                                Sphyrna lewini Fish                           Include in Conservation Dependant
Great Hammerhead                                  Sphyrna mokarran Fish                           Not listed (ineligible under any criterion)
Smooth Hammerhead                                    Sphyrna zygaena Fish                           Not listed (ineligible under any criterion)
Nevin's Slider                                                       Lerista nevinae Reptile                   Include in Endangered
Carter's Freshwater Mussel                         Westralunio carteri Invertebrate           Include in Vulnerable
Hairy-fruited Billardiera                                   Marianthus mollis Plant                   Remove from the Endangered category to not listed
Hamersley Lepidium                              Lepidium catapycnon Plant                   Remove from the Vulnerable category to not listed
Lemon Spider-orchid                                   Caladenia luteola Plant                   Include in Critically Endangered
Quindanning Spider-orchid                   Caladenia hopperiana Plant                   Include in Endangered
Many-flowered Commersonia              Commersonia apella Plant                   Include in Critically Endangered
Spider Net Grevillea                          Grevillea thelemanniana Plant                   Include in Critically Endangered
                                                          Austrostipa bronwenae Plant                   Include in Endangered
                                                           Austrostipa jacobsiana Plant                   Include in Critically Endangered
                                                                    Banksia vincentia Plant                   Include in Critically Endangered
                                                              Diplolaena andrewsii Plant                   Include in Endangered
                                            Eremophila glabra subsp. chlorella Plant                   Include in Endangered
                                                              Goodenia arthrotricha Plant                   Include in Endangered
                                                                Leucopogon nitidus Plant                   Include in Endangered
                        Leucopogon sp. Ongerup (A.S. George 16682) Plant                   Include in Vulnerable
                                                                 Marianthus paralius Plant                   Include in Endangered
                                                             Stylidium applanatum Plant                   Include in Critically Endangered
                   Synaphea sp. Pinjarra Plain (A.S. George 17182) Plant                   Include in Endangered
                        Synaphea sp. Serpentine (G.R. Brand 103) Plant                   Include in Critically Endangered

The Minister's Delegate has approved an update to the name of one species in the EPBC Act list of threatened species. This amendment was effective under the EPBC Act on 15 February 2018.

northern hairy-nosed wombat

The northern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii) is one of three extant species of wombats. It is one of the rarest land mammals in the world and is critically endangered. Its historical range extended across New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland as recently as 100 years ago, but it is now restricted to one place, a 3-km2 range within the 32-km2 Epping Forest National Park in Queensland. In 2003, the total population consisted of 113 individuals, including only around 30 breeding females.[3] In the last census taken in 2013, the estimated population was 196 individuals, with an additional 9 individuals at the Richard Underwood Nature Refuge at Yarran Downs near St. George in southern Queensland. In recent years, the population has experienced a slow but steady increase to an estimated 230 individuals in 2015.



The northern hairy-nosed wombat is nocturnal, living underground in networks of burrows. They avoid coming above ground during harsh weather, as their burrows maintain a constant humidity and temperature. They have been known to share burrows with up to 10 individuals, equally divided by sex. Young are usually born during the wet season, between November and April. When rain is abundant, 50-80% of the females in the population will breed, giving birth to one offspring at a time. Juveniles stay in their mothers' pouches for 8 to 9 months, and are weaned at 12 months of age.

photo of Northern Hairy nosed wombat courtesy macinate: www.flickr.com

Funding for Australian-first queen bee program

February 12, 2018: NSW Dept. of Primary Industries (DPI)
A genetic improvement program has received $1.3 million from the NSW Government to breed queen bees with superior honey production, disease resistance and pollination performance.

The program will ensure the sustainability of pollination services across horticulture and cropping.

As part of the program, a new research apiary will be based at Tocal Agricultural College. The apiary will have 250 hives, a honey extraction plant and facilities for the instrumental insemination of bees.

Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said genetic gains in honey production are estimated to be worth up to $41 million over the next 25 years.

“Currently there is no significant genetic improvement of managed honey bees in Australia and anecdotal evidence suggests the quality of breeder queens is declining,” Mr Blair said.

“Our researchers will now begin to evaluate the suitability of Australian and overseas honey bee populations for a range of production and health-related traits and use these results to produce superior queen bees for commercial breeders.”

Related

Brilliant Landline (ABC) story on Western Australian Jarrah Honey, and related bee program, which commenced 40 years ago; 
Liquid Gold: Australian honey taking on the world - screened Sunday February 11th - still available  to watch here
Western Australia is experiencing a new gold rush, but it has nothing to do with precious metals. It's liquid honey, rich in antimicrobial and other health giving properties – and the rest of the world can’t get enough of it. This was commenced 40 years ago by the WA Dept. of Agiculrture and is part of WA's Better Bees Program:

Better Bees: The Western Australian Bee breeding program

What is Better Bees?
Better Bees WA currently consists of a group of 8 commercial beekeepers. Each individual beekeeper owns and maintains some of the 24 bee lineages that are currently recognized as being part of "The Western Australian Bee Breeding Program". The aim of the honey bee breeding program is to maintain a strong genetic pool of honey bee breeding stock for the WA apiary industry to use in maintaining a healthy population of managed honeybees. Queen bees derived from the Better Bees breeding program are highly sought by beekeepers all over Australia generating income for the beekeepers and queen multipliers. Run through the University of Western Australia


Centre for Integrative Bee Research

The Centre for Integrative Bee Research (CIBER) is located on the Crawley campus at the University of Western Australia in Perth. CIBER conducts basic scientific research into honeybee reproduction, immunity and ecology and aligns its work with the needs of industrial and governmental partners. CIBER is specifically dedicated to facilitate interdisciplinary research and offers opportunities for scientists to perform collaborative research on honeybees using methods and approaches from systems biology and evolutionary ecology. The ultimate goal is to better understand how individual molecules and their interplay are responsible for complex biological process such as sexual reproduction or immunity. Research conducted at CIBER is done in close collaboration with the local beekeeping industry, notably the Better Bees of Western Australia bee breeding program. 

Love in the air as white-faced storm petrel returns after 56 years

February 14, 2018
For the first time in over 50 years the rarely seen white-faced storm petrel emerged from an underground burrow at the Five Islands Nature Reserve this week, Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton announced.

In time for Valentine’s Day, these elusive birds are breeding again on the island off Port Kembla for the first time since 1962.

“These birds have been seen on and off since 2014 but haven’t been able to burrow to make nests on the island because it was covered with weeds,” Ms Upton said.

“The National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) and Friends of Five Islands volunteer group have spent the past four years eradicating weeks from the area and planting more than 12,000 native plants by hand. And it’s paid off!”

The conservation efforts have been rewarded with three adults and three chicks observed in and around burrows this month.

Two of the breeding adults were carefully caught and fitted with approved bands around their legs this week. This will determine if the birds are among others that might return to breed next season.


First banded wfsp in 56 years, photo courtesy NSW OE&H



“This is a fantastic opportunity to show how on-ground conservation efforts are working. Programs like this are an important part of the NSW Government’s commitment to conservation.

“There is not much known about this species so this will contribute enormously to understanding the small, but significant bird,” Ms Upton said.

The NSW Government has committed over $240,000 to the ongoing conservation work at the Five Islands Nature Reserve.

#EpicDuckChallenge shows we can count on drones

February 13, 2018: University of Adelaide
A few thousand rubber ducks, a group of experienced wildlife spotters and a drone have proven the usefulness and accuracy of drones for wildlife monitoring.

A University of Adelaide study showed that monitoring wildlife using drones is more accurate than traditional counting approaches. This was published today in the British Ecological Society journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

"For a few years now, drones have been used to monitor different animals that can be seen from above, including elephants, seals and nesting birds. But, until now, the accuracy of using drones to count wildlife was unclear," says the study's lead author, Jarrod Hodgson from the University's Environment Institute and School of Biological Sciences.

"We needed to test the technology where we knew the correct answer. We couldn't use wild animals because we could never be sure of the real number of individuals present."

The answer was a few thousand rubber ducks and the #EpicDuckChallenge.

The researchers made fake bird colonies out of the decoy ducks on a beach in Adelaide, Australia. Experienced wildlife spotters challenged those who counted birds from drone imagery to see which group could get closest to the actual number of fake birds.

Conditions on the day were ideal. The ground spotters counted the fake birds using binoculars or telescopes. Meanwhile, a drone was flown over the beach, taking pictures of the birds from the sky at different heights. Citizen scientists then tallied the number of birds they could see in the photos. The drone approach won.

"We found it is more accurate and more precise to have people count birds from the drone imagery than to do it on location," Mr Hodgson says.

But the scientists weren't finished there. Counting birds in photos takes a long time -- and citizen scientists can get tired. So the researchers made a computer algorithm to count the ducks automatically, which yielded results just as good as humans reviewing the imagery.

"With so many animals across the world facing extinction, our need for accurate wildlife data has never been greater," Mr Hodgson says. "Accurate monitoring can detect small changes in animal numbers. That is important because if we had to wait for a big shift in those numbers to notice the decline, it might be too late to conserve a threatened species."

"Our results show that monitoring animals with drones produces better data that we can use to proactively manage wildlife."

Jarrod C. Hodgson, Rowan Mott, Shane M. Baylis, Trung T. Pham, Simon Wotherspoon, Adam D. Kilpatrick, Ramesh Raja Segaran, Ian Reid, Aleks Terauds, Lian Pin Koh. Drones count wildlife more accurately and precisely than humans. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.12974


This is a real-life Crested Tern colony -- the species of seabird that was replicated in the experiment. Photo by Jarrod Hodgson

Innovative restoration of coral reefs helps protect Caribbean islands

February 12, 2018: University of California, Santa Cruz
The catastrophic 2017 hurricane season provided ample demonstrations of the increasing vulnerability of Caribbean populations and infrastructure to natural disasters. Researchers at UC Santa Cruz and the Nature Conservancy have now measured the protective role of coral reefs and field-tested a solution that reduces coastal risks by combining innovative engineering with restoration ecology.

Working in Grenville Bay, Grenada, the researchers showed that degradation of coral reefs is directly linked to shoreline erosion and coastal flooding in parts of the bay. The study, published February 1 in the Journal of Environmental Management, also evaluates one of the first uses of reef restoration as natural infrastructure specifically designed to reduce risks to people and property.

Investigating the link between healthy reefs and shoreline stability, the researchers found that Grenville's healthy reefs keep more than half of the bay's coastline intact by reducing the wave energy arriving on shore. In contrast, severe reef degradation is linked with chronic coastal erosion in the northern section of the bay, where the shoreline is disappearing at a rate of nearly two feet every year.

In an attempt to adapt, villagers have built makeshift barriers with tires and driftwood to slow the erosion threatening their homes, but these efforts have been largely unsuccessful. The reef restoration project was designed to enhance both the ecological functions of natural reef habitat and its protective effects.

"We are able to apply coastal engineering tools and models to support reef science and management. Ours is one of the first studies to directly show with evidence from the field sites and engineering models the impacts of reef loss on shorelines," said lead author Borja Reguero, a researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz.

Coastal resilience
The study was part of an innovative coral reef restoration project called At the Water's Edge (AWE), a community-based initiative led by the Nature Conservancy to increase coastal resilience to climate change. The researchers field-tested a reef-based breakwater structure that represents one of the few existing examples of reef restoration designed to increase community resilience and decrease vulnerability. The aim is to facilitate the recovery of the coral reef and to directly reduce coastal erosion and flooding. With support from the German Federal Foreign Office and in partnership with Grenada Fund for Conservation, Grenada Red Cross Society, and community members, the pilot reef-based breakwater structure was formally launched in early January 2015.

"Grenada has been at the front lines of climate change both in impacts and importantly as a leader among small islands and developing states in addressing these problems," said AWE project lead Nealla Frederick.

The reef restoration structure is made from inexpensive and locally-sourced materials and labor, easy to assemble on-site, suitable for high wave energy or hurricane exposure, and specially designed to encourage habitat restoration and enhancement. Live coral fragments from the existing reef were placed onto the structure to encourage natural reef growth. This approach is designed to be replicated in small island communities, which are often the most susceptible to the impacts of climate change.


Pilot structures installed in Grenville Bay, Granada, can provide protection from coastal erosion and help to restore degraded coral reefs. 
(Photo by Tim Calver)

According to coauthor Michael Beck, lead marine scientist at the Nature Conservancy and research professor of ocean sciences at UC Santa Cruz, a growing body of scientific studies and project-based experience shows that coastal habitats such as coral reefs, oyster reefs, mangroves, wetlands, and dunes can offer cost-effective protection from the increasing impacts of climate change. This study builds on that knowledge, highlighting the potential and importance of prioritizing and investing in coastal habitats as effective and cost-effective natural infrastructure, he said. Island nations can meet their adaptation and hazard mitigation goals by investing in nature-based defenses, to significantly increase their coastal resilience and reduce the growing economic and human losses caused by coastal hazards.

"Reef degradation destroys the natural breakwaters for tropical coastlines in the United States and across more than 60 other nations. Our study identifies how severe this problem can be, and we used that information to design an innovative reef restoration solution to help people and nature," Beck said.

Borja G. Reguero, Michael W. Beck, Vera N. Agostini, Philip Kramer, Boze Hancock. Coral reefs for coastal protection: A new methodological approach and engineering case study in Grenada. Journal of Environmental Management, 2018; 210: 146 DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.01.024


International Year of the Reef (IYOR)
The Third International Year of the Reef (IYOR 2018) @IYOR2018 / #IYOR2018

At the 31st General Meeting (November 2016 in Paris, France), the International Coral Reef Initiative declared 2018 as the third International Year of the Reef and encourages to:
  • strengthen awareness globally about the value of, and threats to, coral reefs and associated ecosystems;
  • promote partnerships between governments, the private sector, academia and civil society on the management of coral reefs;
  • identify and implement effective management strategies for conservation, increased resiliency and sustainable use of these ecosystems and promoting best practices; and
  • share information on best practices in relation to sustainable coral reef management.
History
1997 was declared the first International Year of the Reef (IYOR), in response to the increasing threats on coral reefs and associated ecosystems, such as mangroves and sea grasses around the world. IYOR was a global effort to increase awareness and understanding on the values and threats to coral reefs, and to support related conservation, research and management efforts. Over 225 organizations in 50 countries and territories participated, and over 700 articles in papers and magazines were generated, and hundreds of scientific surveys were undertaken.

Recognising that, ten years later, there continued to be an urgent need to increase awareness and understanding of coral reefs, and to further conserve and manage valuable coral reefs and associated ecosystems, the International Coral Reef Initiative designated 2008 as the second International Year of the Reef, IYOR 2008 (Resolution to Designate 2008 as the International Year of the Reef).

IYOR 2008 was a year-long campaign of events and initiatives hosted by governments and non-governmental organizations around the world, to promote conservation action and strengthen long-term collaborations for coral reef conservation.

IYOR 2008 Goals were the following:
  • Strengthen awareness about ecological, economic, social and cultural value of coral reefs and associated ecosystems
  • Improve understanding of the critical threats to reefs and generate both practical and innovative solutions to reduce these threats
  • Generate urgent action to develop and implement effective management strategies for conservation and sustainable use of these ecosystems.
Nations, organizations, and individuals around the world celebrated the International Year of the Reef 2008 (IYOR 2008): from international organizations to village children, to raise awareness about the value and importance of coral reefs and to motivate people to take action to protect them. A tremendous amount of material was produced in several languages during that year, including educational DVDs, posters, children's books, and much more. More than 630 events were organized in over 65 countries and territories around the world. IYOR 2008 has now come to an end, but the spirit lives on... To learn more about the IYOR 2008 accomplishment, download the IYOR Report.

Recognizing that public awareness is an essential element of coral reef conservation and is necessary to ensure that the value of and the threats to coral reefs are understood by the general public, and that sufficient resources are devoted to conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs and associated ecosystems; noting the importance of developing relevant public awareness initiatives that reflect national and regional priorities as well as local culture and knowledge concerning coral reefs and to facilitate public involvement in coral reef conservation related activities in all countries; and acknowledging the success of the International Year of the Reef 2008 in raising awareness of the importance of coral reefs and associated ecosystems; ICRI members adopted a recommendation on continuing coral reef awareness efforts.

The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) is an informal partnership between Nations and organizations which strives to preserve coral reefs and related ecosystems around the world.

Although the Initiative is an informal group whose decisions are not binding on its members, its actions have been pivotal in continuing to highlight globally the importance of coral reefs and related ecosystems to environmental sustainability, food security and social and cultural wellbeing. The work of ICRI is regularly acknowledged in United Nations documents, highlighting the Initiative’s important cooperation, collaboration and advocacy role within the international arena.

Brief history
The Initiative was founded in 1994 by eight governments: Australia, France, Japan, Jamaica, the Philippines, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. It was announced at the First Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in December 1994, and at the high level segment of the Intersessional Meeting of the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development in April 1995. ICRI now counts more than 60 members.

Objectives
ICRI emerged out of the recognition that coral reefs and related ecosystems found in tropical and sub-tropical regions are facing serious degradation, primarily due to anthropogenic stresses. Many nations face similar threats to coral reefs and related ecosystems as well as similar management problems. Recognising this, ICRI’s objectives are to:
  • Encourage the adoption of best practice in sustainable management of coral reefs and associated ecosystems
  • Build capacity
  • Raise awareness at all levels on the plight of coral reefs around the world.
ICRI adopted a ‘Call to Action’ and a ‘Framework for Action’ as its foundational documents. Both documents set the four cornerstones of ICRI: Integrated Management; Science; Capacity Building and Review.
Find out more at: https://www.icriforum.org/

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Locally:
Operation Crayweed Update: Success As North Bondi Restoration Works Produce Next Generation Of Crayweed Also: Green Globe Award For UNSW SIMs Operation Crayweed Project - Issue 334, 2017
Crosswaves - Newport Reef

Native Trees Of Australia by James Wales Audas - Publication date 1930 by Whitcombe & Tombs, Melbourne.