February 26 - March 4, 2017: Issue 302

Clean Up Australia Day 2017
SUNDAY 5 MARCH

SCHOOLS CLEAN UP DAY 3 MARCH
BUSINESS CLEAN UP DAY 28 FEB
Register or join a site at: www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au

2108
Coasters Retreat
Meeting Point: The fire brigade shed
Date: March 5th 2017
Start time: 9:00 AM
End time: 11:00 AM
Contact Wilma Taylor - Email: warwiskataylor@yahoo.com

2107
Avalon Beach
Meeting Point: Avalon Beach SLSC.
Date: March 5th 2017
Start time: 9:00 AM
End time: 10:00 AM
Site Coordinator Details
Guy Williment - Email: gwilliment@live.com.au

Avalon Dunes Careel Creek
Meeting Point: near Avalon Skate Park
Date: March 5th 2017
Start time: 8:00 AM
End time: 11:00 AM
Site Coordinator Details
Marita Macrae - Email: marita.macrae@gmail.com

2104
Bayview Shore Front
Come For Half An Hour Or As Long As You Can Manage. Plastic Is The Number One Material Caught In The Mangroves, Buried In Mud And Sand And Mixed In With Shore Debris.
Meeting Point: Bayview Baths - in the park to the right of Gibsons Marina
Date: March 5th 2017
Start time: 08:00 AM
End time: 11:00 AM
Site Coordinator Details
Louise Smith - Email: le_gbsmith@optusnet.com.au

2103
Coastal Environment Centre
Representing: Upper Northern Beaches Rotary Club
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 5th 2017
Date: March 5th 2017
Start time: 9:30 AM
End time: 11:00 AM
Site Coordinator Details
Michael Baxter - Email: mdbax@hotmail.com

2102
Mona Vale Beach
Representing: Blackmores Ltd
Meeting Point: Car park next to Bronze Cafe
Date: March 2nd 2017
Start time: 7:00 AM
End time: 2:00 PM
Site Coordinator Details
Jackie Smiles - Email: jsmiles@blackmores.com.au

2101
Narrabeen Lagoon State Park
Representing: Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment
Meeting Point: Berry Reserve
Date: March 5th 2017
Start time: 8:00 AM
End time: 11:00 AM
Site Coordinator Details
Judith Bennett - Email: email@narrabeenlagoon.org.au


The Final Push For The Pilliga

Published on 21 Feb 2017 by The Wilderness Society
Now is a critical moment in the campaign to protect the Pilliga forest. We need you to lodge a submission against Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project to help end CSG in NSW once and for all. 

Santos has filed its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with the NSW Government and we now have just 60 days to voice our opposition. This is the last remaining CSG proposal in NSW, and it’s essential we make our powerful opposition clear. 

The local community of the Pilliga has spearheaded the campaign against this project for years—now is the time for all Australians to stand with them in the final push for the Pilliga. 

Anyone can make a submission and every submission will be counted. 
We have until 24 April 2017 to lodge as many submissions as possible

Department seeks community views on Narrabri Gas Project proposal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exhibition Start 21/02/2017
Exhibition End  24/04/2017

To attend one of the public information sessions, people should 
register their interest on 1800 616 493.

Location: Crossing Theatre, 117 Tibbereena St, Narrabri, NSW
Dates: Tuesday 7 March and Wednesday 8 March 2017

If media plan to attend they must register via mediaunit@planning.nsw.gov.au.

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. 



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


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

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

Gas power company admits gas is not economic for future energy

February 21, 2017: Media Release by Lock the Gate
Lock the Gate Alliance says evidence provided by multi-national power company Engie at yesterday’s public hearing of the Senate inquiry into the resilience of the electricity sector has exposed the unreliability of gas for future energy needs and the futility of putting land and water resources at risk.

Engie head of Corporate Affairs reportedly told the inquiry that its Pelican Point gas power plant in South Australia was commercially unviable to operate, stating that, “Unfortunately, we’re in the hands of the market.”

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said, “We’re in this absurd situation where the Federal Government is pushing a political agenda claiming that gas is reliable and cheap, while the energy companies themselves are saying that they don’t want to build or run gas power stations”.

Domestic gas prices in Australia have almost doubled due to the development of three large export LNG plants in Queensland, which have linked us to the Asian market for the first time. Domestic gas supply has also been re-routed to feed the export LNG plants, leading to artificial shortages here.

“Gas power stations are not commercially viable in Australia because the LNG export plants have driven up domestic prices and distorted our market.

“The only cheap and reliable source of energy now is renewable projects like the Port Augusta Concentrated Solar Thermal plant which has strong community support.

“We’ve got the Federal Government trying to overturn state policies to protect land and water resources from unconventional gas mining on the pretence of needing gas for power stations that the owners do not want to operate.

“Unconventional gas is not a neutral or friendly fuel. It requires huge amounts of water to extract, it pollutes air and water and causes chronic health problems. It releases large volumes of greenhouse gas emissions and it is, frankly, politically, socially and economically untenable.

“The Federal Government’s political agenda on fossil fuels  is not just damaging our landscapes and putting water resources at risk, it is preventing us from sensibly adjusting to changes in energy technologies and delivering reliable power that is environmentally and economically sustainable” she said.

Volunteers invited to compete in local tree planting project to save koalas

Media release: 20 February 2017 - NPWS
The National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) is inviting volunteers to team up and challenge each other to plant and raise the best koala food trees in Bongil Bongil National Park to help save the iconic species.

The Tree Parents project was launched in 2014 and over 100 enthusiastic and competitive local volunteers planted 600 trees in a degraded eucalypt plantation in the national park near East Boambee.

NPWS Acting Area Manager Andrew Lugg said planning and site preparation is well underway for phase two of the project with another 600 trees ready for more 'Tree Parents' to plant and nurture them in May.



"The bushland around Coffs Harbour supports one of the most important wild koala populations in the state, but some forest areas have been changed and lack the primary koala food tree species of Tallowwood, Grey Gum, Forest Oak and Swamp Mahogany," Mr Lugg said.

"This project helps create vital koala habitat quite rapidly and provides an opportunity for people to assist local wildlife for centuries into the future, as most eucalypts live in excess of 300 years.

"The teams from 2014 are already seeing koalas and their joeys occupy trees adjacent to their plots, curiously eyeing off the young trees they are nurturing," Mr Lugg said.

Teams of six to 12 individuals are invited to sign-up, plant and carry out Tree Parent responsibilities for 60 young trees within a prepared national park plot for the first two to three years of their life.

"The first phase only resulted in the loss of approximately 30 of the 600 trees and any that perished have been replaced and are looking great, resulting in 100 per cent survival," Mr Lugg said.

"Before the Tree Parents concept was developed, a good community-based tree planting project was generally one that resulted in at least 70 per cent of the planted trees still alive after 12 months", Mr Lugg said.

One of the original Tree Parent team captains, Rose Coote said it was a fantastic and rewarding opportunity to take part in.

"We made good friends and enjoyed being part of generating an environment for the koalas of this region and creating a forest that will last hundreds of years," Mrs Coote said.

Local ranger and project manager Martin Smith said a training and orientation day for all prospective volunteers will be scheduled for late March with the tree planting competition kicking off in May.

"As well as training, NPWS will provide all equipment and on-site support so the local community can do something both fun and practical to protect and conserve our local koalas," Mr Smith said.

The koala is one of six iconic species with important social, cultural and economic significance listed under the NSW Government's Saving our Species program.

To find out more or to sign up to be a Tree Parent, contact Martin Smith at the local NPWS Coffs Jetty office on (02) 6652 0907.
Koala Photo credit: Ali Fizelle. OE&H.

How cathedral termites got to Australia to build their 'sky-scrapers'

February 21, 2017: University of Sydney

These are mounds of the cathedral termite Nasutitermes triodiae at Litchfield National Park. Credit: Jan Sobotnik
They build among the tallest non-human structures (proportionately speaking) in the world and now it's been discovered the termites that live in Australia's remote Top End originated from overseas -- rafting vast distances and migrating from tree-tops to the ground, as humans later did.

Referred to as "cathedral" termites, the Nasutitermes triodiae build huge mounds up to eight metres high in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland -- representing some of the tallest non-human animal structures in the world.

DNA sequencing found the forebearers, called nasute termites, colonised Australia three times in the past 20 million years or so and evolved from wood to grass-feeding as they adapted to significant environmental changes, including increasingly arid conditions and the conversion of woodlands to grassland habitats in subtropical savannahs and central Australia.

Now a prominent feature of the arid landscape "Down Under," the mounds house millions of termites; this study is the first comprehensive investigation of the evolution of the nesting and feeding of the extended family of termites, through the Australian refugee descendants.

The findings of the international research are published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

Co-lead author of the paper from the University of Sydney, Associate Professor Nathan Lo, said although much was known about the functions of termite mounds -- which include protection from predators -- little had been known about their evolutionary origins.

"We found that the ancestors of Australia's fortress-building termites were coastal tree-dwellers, which arrived in Australia by rafting long distances over the oceans from either Asia or South America," Associate Professor Lo said.

"Once in Australia, they continued to build their nests in trees, but later descended and began building mounds on the ground instead, paralleling the evolution of the other great architects of the world -- human beings, whose ancestors lived in the tree tops some millions of years ago."

Associate Professor Lo, from the University of Sydney's School of Life and Environmental Sciences, said the mounds are an engineering feat when considered in comparison to the tallest structure on Earth -- Dubai's skyscraper the Burj Khalifas.

"Given that a worker termite stands about 3mm in height, these mounds are in human terms the equivalent of four Burj Khalifas stacked on top of each other," he said.

The paper, "Parallel evolution of mound-building and grass-feeding in Australian nasute termites," said ancestral wood feeders would likely have lost the ability to feed on wood as they transitioned to feeding on litter and grass.

"This group is one of the most ecologically successful groups of termites in Australia," the paper reads.

"We have shown that its capacity to disperse over oceans -- and to repeatedly evolve the ability to build mounds and feed on novel substrates in the face of significant environmental change -- appears to have been important in promoting this success."

Daej A. Arab, Anna Namyatova, Theodore A. Evans, Stephen L. Cameron, David K. Yeates, Simon Y. W. Ho, Nathan Lo. Parallel evolution of mound-building and grass-feeding in Australian nasute termites. Biology Letters, 2017; 13 (2): 20160665 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0665

NSW Water Resource Plan Consultation 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comment invited on draft Lower Namoi Valley Floodplain Management Plan

13 Feb 2017: NSW Dept. of DPI
An areal view of a floodplain
Floodplain landholders and the general community are being invited to comment on the draft Lower Namoi Valley Floodplain Management Plan, Senior Water Planner, Stacey Winckel, announced today.

“The draft Lower Namoi Valley plan is the fourth of six floodplain management plans being prepared across the northern valleys in NSW's Murray-Darling Basin,” said Ms Winckel.

“The purpose of the draft Lower Namoi Valley plan is to coordinate the future development of flood works on the floodplain.

“The plan is designed to manage the risk to life and property from the effects of flooding and protect and maintain flood connectivity to flood-dependent ecological and cultural features of the floodplain.”

Ms Winckel said the draft plan proposes minimal change for landholders, building on current practices through improved technical knowledge and understanding to achieve a simplified approvals process for new and amended flood works.

“The draft plan outlines the types of flood works that may be considered for approval, standards for the construction of flood works, and where flood work approvals will and will not require advertising.

“To ensure a balanced approach, development of the draft Lower Namoi Valley plan has been overseen by an Interagency Regional Panel incorporating representatives from DPI, Office of Environment and Heritage and Local Land Services.”

Ms Winckel continued, saying that in addition to the Lower Namoi plan DPI Water is also currently undertaking a process to licence floodplain harvesting through the NSW Healthy Floodplains Project.

“I would urge all interested people to review the draft Lower Namoi Valley plan and make comment to ensure that the final plan deals with local issues in a practical way,” Ms Winckel said.

More information
Details of where people can view the draft plan, together with additional information, can be found at Plans on exhibition.

Public comment on the draft Lower Valley Floodplain Management Plan closes on Thursday 13 April 2017.

Funding for the NSW Healthy Floodplains project is provided by the Australian Government’s Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program as part of the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in NSW.

Planning Reforms To Boost Housing Supply

09.01.2017: Ministerial Media Release - The Hon. Rob Stokes MP, Minister for Planning
Making it simpler to build a home and enhancing community participation in key decisions will be now easier through a package of red tape-busting reforms released for consultation by the NSW Government today.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes said proposed amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 target delays in Development Application (DA) processing by councils, while also enhancing community confidence in the planning system.

The proposed changes include standardising the format of council’s development control plans to make them easier to understand and navigate, giving developers incentives to resolve objections before lodging DAs, and focusing councillor attention on strategic planning with greater numbers of DA assessments being processed by staff or local planning panels.

Local communities will have greater opportunity to participate in strategic planning for their neighbourhoods as early as practicable, with each planning authority required to prepare community participation plans. 

Other proposed changes include leveling the playing field for the assessment of major projects by ending transitional arrangements under Labor’s controversial Part 3A development assessment which will prevent the misuse of modifications. 

Mr Stokes said the state was experiencing the longest housing construction boom in NSW history with the latest figures for the 12 months to October showing 74,577 approvals, the second highest on record.

“However, there is still more work to do and these planning reforms build on our impressive results over the past five years by making it easier to build new homes,” Mr Stokes said.

“The NSW Government is determined to do everything it can, including making the planning system more efficient, to ensure housing supply gets to homebuyers fast.”

Mr Stokes said NSW Treasury estimated there is pent up demand for up to 100,000 new homes due to the former Labor Government failing to provide adequate supply.  

Proposed updates to the EP&A Act include:
• Investigating incentives for developers to consult with neighbours and the surrounding community to ensure disputes are resolved prior to a Development  Application proceeding to council;
• New powers for the Planning Minister to direct a council to establish a local planning panels of experts and community representatives;
• A standardised format for development control plans, produced in consultation with councils, to promote consistency across the confusing array of up to 400 formats currently used in NSW;
• Authority for the Department of Planning and Environment Secretary to ensure the efficient processing of developments that require separate approvals and advice under different NSW legislation;
• Measures to ensure that local environmental plans are kept up to date;
• Extending and improving the complying development assessment process that currently covers most new one or two storey dwellings, to include greenfield developments and terrace housing.
• Simplifying and consolidating building provisions to remove confusion for developers;
• Widening the availability of internal review options for proponents aggrieved by council decisions as a faster, low cost alternative to court action; and
• Introducing fair and consistent planning agreements between developers and councils to ensure there is more transparency on deals to fund public amenities, affordable housing, transport and other infrastructure.

Mr Stokes said the planning reforms would assist the NSW Government deliver the 725,000 new homes forecast to be required by 2036 to house an extra 1.7 million residents.

The community is encouraged to have its say on the proposed amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. These updates are on public exhibition from 9 January – 10 March 2017, and can be viewed at www.planning.nsw.gov.au/legislative-updates. 

The consultation package comprises four documents:
2. Bill guide  
3. Draft Bill - Environmental Planning and Assessment
Amendment Bill 2017

Have your say on the draft updates to the EP&A Act 
Consultation is now underway on the draft amendments to the EP&A Act, details of which are at the ‘Key documents’ tab above.

The public consultation period for the Bill is from 10 January 2017 to 10 March 2017.

We encourage our stakeholders, interested community groups and individuals to review the reforms and respond:
• by mail to: 
Planning legislation updates 2017
NSW Department of Planning and Environment 
GPO Box 39
Sydney NSW 2001

Cape Byron Visitor Master Plan open for consultation

Media release: 13 February 2017
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Cape Byron Trust are encouraging people to have their say to improve visitor experiences at Cape Byron State Conservation Area and ensure the treasured location is preserved.

Chair of the Cape Byron Trust, Delta Kay said culture and nature conservation is at the forefront of the Cape Byron Preliminary Visitor Master Plan and people are invited to submit their feedback.

"The area is home to the heritage listed Cape Byron Lighthouse, one of the most highly visited locations in regional NSW with 1.5 million visitors annually and more than 2800 visitors walking to it daily," Ms Kay said.

"This iconic location is an important recreation area for the local community and visitors, and is a place of spiritual and cultural significance to the Bundjalung of Byron Bay (Arakwal) people," she said.

NPWS jointly manages the area with the Arakwal people as members of the Cape Byron Trust and the master plan is required to provide a clear vision to address future challenges and opportunities that tourism presents the Byron community.

"From the heritage Lighthouse to the endangered ecological communities, this master plan will ensure our unique location is preserved and maintains its close connection with the community," Ms Kay said.

"Due to limited parking availability, solar powered electric shuttle buses are being proposed to alleviate the congestion from the 2700 or so unnecessary car trips made daily to and from the lighthouse.

"To remove conflicts between walkers and cars, plans also include the completion of the Wategos Beach footpath and the extension of the walking track beyond the boardwalk on Lighthouse Road and the Tallow Ridge walking track link to Tallow Beach Road.

"Improved walking tracks and lookouts at Little Wategos and the Most Easterly Point of Mainland Australia are important to protect the endangered ecological grassland communities, and to provide for joggers and people enjoying the views and wildlife.

"Continuing community engagement is essential in order to maintain a haven that allows visitors to experience the unique culture and heritage of Cape Byron through education, outstanding natural spaces and engaging experiences," Ms Kay said.

The Cape Byron Preliminary Visitor Masterplan will be on public exhibition from 13 February 2017 and the deadline for submissions is 27 March 2017.

Feedback can be submitted via an online form, capebyron.masterplan@environment.nsw.gov.au or Cape Byron Trust - Cape Byron Masterplan: PO BOX 127, Byron Bay NSW 2481.

Hard copies of the NPWS Cape Byron Preliminary Visitor Master Plan can be viewed at:

NPWS Byron Bay Office, Tallow Beach Road, Byron Bay NSW 2481
Byron Shire Council, 70-90 Station Street, Mullumbimby NSW 2482
Byron Bay Library, Corner of Lawson and Middleton Streets, Byron Bay NSW 2481
Office of Environment and Heritage, Level 14, 59-61 Goulburn Street, Sydney NSW 2000
For more information contact capebyron.masterplan@environment.nsw.gov.au

online form at: 

Marine bacteria produce an environmentally important molecule with links to climate

February 13, 2017: University of East Anglia
Scientists from the University of East Anglia and Ocean University China have discovered that tiny marine bacteria can synthesise one of Earth's most abundant sulfur molecules, which affects atmospheric chemistry and potentially climate.

This molecule, dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is an important nutrient for marine microorganisms and is the major precursor for the climate-cooling gas, dimethyl sulfide (DMS).

DMS, produced when microorganisms break down DMSP, is thought to have a role in regulating the climate by increasing cloud droplets that in turn reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the ocean's surface. These same clouds are vital in the movement of large amounts of sulfur from oceans to land, making the production of DMSP and DMS a critical step in the global sulfur cycle.

It was previously widely thought that only eukaryotes -- 'higher' organisms with complex cells, such as seaweeds and phytoplankton -- produced DMSP. However, researchers have discovered that many marine bacteria also produce this sulfur compound, and have identified the key gene in the process.

"Our finding that DMSP is produced by many marine bacteria could mean that scientists have been significantly underestimating both the production of this molecule and the effects it is having in the environment" said Dr Jonathan Todd from UEA's School of Biological Sciences. "Since these bacteria do not require sunlight for growth, the production of DMSP need not be confined to the surface ocean waters which receive the most light energy, as was thought to be the case."

Dr Andrew Curson from UEA's School of Biological Sciences said: "The identification of the key gene for DMSP synthesis in these bacteria will allow scientists to predict which bacteria are producing DMSP and assess their contribution to global production of this environmentally important molecule."

Ana Bermejo Martinez, a UEA PhD student involved in this research, said: "Using DMSP-producing marine bacteria as model organisms will also help us to understand how and why the synthesis of this key molecule is regulated in different environments."

Dr Zhang from OUC's College of Marine Life Sciences said: "These bacteria, isolated during a research cruise in the East China Sea, have led to a ground-breaking discovery in the field. This work shows that marine bacteria are likely very important contributors to global DMSP and DMS production."

This work was carried out as part of a collaboration between the University of East Anglia, and Ocean University China and work at UEA was funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council.

The paper 'Dimethylsulfoniopropionate biosynthesis in marine bacteria and identification of the key gene in this process' is published in the scientific journal Nature Microbiology.

Andrew R. J. Curson, Ji Liu, Ana Bermejo Martínez, Robert T. Green, Yohan Chan, Ornella Carrión, Beth T. Williams, Sheng-Hui Zhang, Gui-Peng Yang, Philip C. Bulman Page, Xiao-Hua Zhang, Jonathan D. Todd. Dimethylsulfoniopropionate biosynthesis in marine bacteria and identification of the key gene in this process. Nature Microbiology, 2017; 2: 17009 DOI: 10.1038/nmicrobiol.2017.9

Report illegal dumping

NSW Government

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

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

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

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

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

Permaculture Northern Beaches

Want to know where your food is coming from? 

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

Find out more here:

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Avalon Boomerang Bags 2016 Workshops

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

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

Pictured is a Boomerang Bag Box. 

The boxes are located at:

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

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

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.

Av Green Team

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

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

Avalon Community Garden

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

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

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

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.

  "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

Climate and Water Outlook, March–May 2017

Published on 22 Feb 2017 by Bureau of Meteorology
The monthly Climate and Water Outlook video covers rainfall, streamflow and temperature for the next three months. For more detail, go to http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/?.... 
The next video will be available Thursday 30 March 2017. 
Our ENSO Outlook is updated every two weeks at http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/tr.... 
For an email each month about the next video, subscribe to Climate Outlooks at http://bom.is/enviro-news
You can also follow the Bureau of Meteorology on Facebook, LinkedIn, and on Twitter at @BOM_au. We also have a BOM Weather app.

Environmental Planning And Assessment Amendment (EPlanning) Regulation 2017

February 15, 2017: NSW Depratment of Planning and Environment
Have your say on online development applications for homes and businesses

We welcome your feedback on changes that will allow people to lodge development applications for homes or businesses online. 

This will help to make it faster and easier to get the approvals you need, and also make it easier to find planning information.

Proposed changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 (the Regulation) will support online lodgement of development applications by introducing consistent documents and technical requirements across NSW.

Currently, there are many variations in document requirements for development applications, which can cause delays in preparing and determining applications. The Regulation seeks to address this by introducing standards for online submission and lodgement.

Online lodgement through the Planning Portal will dramatically reduce the time and resources spent on producing and reviewing hard copy documents, making it faster and easier for NSW residents to lodge and track applications. It will also make planning information more accessible.

Proposed changes include:
  • standardising the documents required to lodge applications for development
  • replacing written consent with legally enforced declarations by applicants that they have permission from land owners to submit a development application
  • introducing new requirements for making and exhibiting Development Control Plans and Contribution Plans (financial contributions from developers towards infrastructure costs).
To ensure consistency, the Secretary’s Requirements for the Lodgement of Applications for Development (PDF: 2.85MB - 182 pages) provides a clear list of documents and technical requirements for different application types. This will replace requirements contained in Schedule 1 of the Regulation.

Details of the proposals can be found in the resources section below. 

Your feedback can play a vital role in further developing these updates to the Regulation. To make a submission, find out how to get involved.

How to get involved
You can make a submission until 15 March 2017 using the online form below, or by mail to:
Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (ePlanning) Regulation 2017
NSW Department of Planning and Environment 
GPO Box 39
Sydney NSW 2001

Documents and attachments available HERE:
Attachments and Resources

Bird Walks and Talks 2017: PNHA

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

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

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

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


Av. Green Team Back at Work

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

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

Broken Hill North Mine Recommencement Project

Recommencement of underground mining operations at the Broken Hill North Mine (see attached Environmental Impact Statement). 

Exhibition Start   05/02/2017
Exhibition End 06/03/2017

Project is currently on public exhibition and opportunity for public submissions is available. Visit HERE

Have your say on a modification to Hunter Valley Operations South

09.02.2017: Departmental Media Release - Department of Planning and Environment
A proposal by HV Operations Pty Ltd for a modification to its coal mine 24 kilometres north-west of Singleton will be on exhibition from today for community consultation.

The Department of Planning and Environment is keen to hear the community’s views on the proposal, which involves:
  • extending the depth of the Riverview and Cheshunt Pits and South Lemington Pit 2 to allow the extraction of deeper coal seams
  • increasing the maximum annual production from 16 to 20 million tonnes of run-of-mine coal
  • increasing the height of selected overburden emplacement areas
  • amending the Statement of Commitments
Submissions can be made from Thursday 9 February until Friday 10 March 2017.
 

Release of Santos EIS for Narrabri Gas Project galvanises farming communities

February 21, 2017: Media Release by Lock the Gate
Nearly three years overdue, the EIS for the highly controversial Narrabri Gas Project in the Pilliga forest in North West NSW has finally been released to the public for comment, galvanising opposition among surrounding farming communities that has been building for years. A public forum in Narrabri will hear from Santos and APA Group about the project and the associated pipeline plans at 1pm today. Concerned community will gather at the event.

The Narrabri project has been dogged by unrelenting protests, serious pollution incidents and financial losses. It is the final CSG proposal remaining in NSW after community opposition turned back other unconventional gas plans across the state. Santos are proceeding with the EIS release despite downgrading their assets to “contingent” last year, meaning there are no immediate plans to develop.

The EIS was lodged with the Department of Planning a fortnight ago but today is the first opportunity the community has had to view the detailed plans for the 850 well coal seam gas field near Narrabri.

Anne Kennedy is a farmer and grandmother from Coonamble on the western edge of the Pilliga forest. She said, “This project will drill 850 wells through the recharge area of the Great Artesian Basin, extracting water and gas from below. In its EIS, Santos fobbs off the inherent risk this brings but 22% of Australia utterly relies on this water source, thousands of livelihoods depend on free flowing artesian bores. We cannot afford to take any risks with this most precious resource.

“I’m a grandmother and a farmer and I find it shocking at my age that I’m fighting my own government to protect the natural assets we all rely on.”

Megan Kuhn, mother and grazier from Bundella on the Liverpool Plains is also at Narrabri council today, “We know that CSG in the Pilliga is a trojan horse to access vast areas of agricultural country in North West NSW. Santos has announced plans for seven major gasfields across our productive farming region. They want to replicate the QLD disaster on us but clearly lack a social licence which is necessary for them to begin.”

“Generations of rural communities have caringly protected each other through natural disasters like flood, drought and fire. The results of our neighbour-to-neighbour Gasfield Free surveys resulting in an average of 96% across 3.2 million hectares prove we are prepared to unite again to respond to this looming man made disaster called coal seam gas.”

Scott McCalman, a farmer from near Boggabri said, “Coal seam gas brings broad scale industrialisation of the landscape as companies force pipelines and infrastructure on unwilling hosts. It brings liability to landowners as our properties become literally uninsurable to its contamination risks.

"After a short term boom that benefits the few the CSG industry leaves farmers stranded, with leaking gas wells and unsaleable properties. The boom is over in Queensland and communities have been devastated as whole sectors are forced to leave due to unaffordable living costs. We don’t want that happening to our strong communities across North West NSW.”

Jeff Carolan is a cotton grower from near Wee Waa, 40 km west of Narrabri. “We’ve seen the damage of coal seam gas in our region during exploration alone. Already there has been over 20 spills or leaks of CSG water in the Pilliga. We’ve seen dry wells, sick kids, and rivers on fire in Queensland and we won’t have that here.

“We’re determined to oppose this project with everything we have left. We’ve been putting other aspects of our life on hold for years with the threat of CSG constantly hanging over our heads and we don’t intend to lose now.

“This is much bigger than us of course, and we hope that people around the country will submit their opposition to this gasfield, outlining their concerns about drilling through the Great Artesian Basin.”

The project is the only new CSG proposal in the state but the company’s intention to pursue the project is unclear, given its value was written down to zero last year and Santos announced recently that it has been spun off to a subsidiary company for poor performing assets – speculation is high that pursuit of the current EIS assessment process and the recently announced gas pipeline is simply to enable the project’s sale.

$1 million in grants to support environmental research

Media release: 6 February 2017- NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
Grant funding of $1 million is now available as the NSW Environmental Trust Environmental Research program opens for expressions of interest.

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Chief Executive and Trust Secretary Michael Wright said the funding will go towards helping solve current and future environmental issues with innovative and sustainable research solutions.

"The funding supports academics and scientific institutions, working in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders, as they use applied research to investigate new knowledge and advanced techniques to answer complex environmental issues," Mr Wright said.

"For the 2017 grant program, new research priorities have been set and proposals must focus on contaminants and pollution; biodiversity; climate adaption and/or mechanisms for social engagement.

"Past funding has played a critical role in a variety of projects, from investigating the ecological benefits of blackwater through to examining identification of hazardous organics at fire scenes.

"The funding will go towards 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.

"A total of 187 expressions of interest were received in the last funding round; I anticipate high interest in this round too," Mr Wright said.

The 2017 Environmental Research program, run by the NSW Environmental Trust, opens for expressions of interest on Monday 6 February and closes on Monday 13 March.

To find out more about the application process visit the Environmental Trust’s website: Environmental research grants.

The Great Western Woodlands – The Largest Intact Temperate Woodland on Earth

Published on 21 Feb 2017 by The Wilderness Society
This video, set to a poem by Dr Keren Raiter, showcases the Great Western Woodlands in Western Australia.

The Great Western Woodlands is the largest intact temperate woodland left on Earth. It extends from the WA wheatbelt across to the Nullarbor Plain and at 16 million hectares is twice the size of Tasmania. 

The Great Western Woodlands is home to over 3,000 flowering plant species making it one of the most bio-diverse environments in Australia. Currently most of Woodlands has no conservation status or management which clearly does not reflect its global significance. 

Join with the Wilderness Society in calling for better protection of the Great Western Woodlands: www.greatwesternwoodlands.com

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.

New approach for assessing the social impacts of mining

By NSW Dept. of Planning & Environment
The assessment of the social impacts of mining projects will be strengthened following the exhibition of draft social impact assessment guidelines.

The guidelines have been developed to improve the quality and utility of social impact assessments, which in turn will drive better project design and provide greater certainty to local communities and proponents.

Examples of positive social impacts may include increased employment opportunities and support for local businesses and organisations, whilst examples of negative social impacts may include community dislocation and amenity loss.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the new guidelines reflect the important principle that people are at the heart of planning decisions.

“It’s critical that impacts on communities are thoroughly considered and addressed in the assessment of mining projects,” Mr Stokes said.

“These guidelines will support consistency and fairness in decision making, while driving greater accountability and transparency with respect to the social impacts.”

The draft guidelines have been informed by:
  • meetings with local groups in eight locations across rural, regional and remote NSW;
  • advice on current leading practice from the University of Queensland’s Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, a respected leader in the field of social impact assessment; and
  • consultation with peak community, environment, industry, local government and Aboriginal groups via the Department of Planning and Environment’s Resources Advisory Forum.
The draft guidelines have been released for an extended public exhibition and submission period of 12 weeks from 8 December 2016 until 3 March 2017. The Department will also conduct community workshops and stakeholder briefing sessions.

To view the draft guidelines or to make a submission, please visit http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Policy-and-Legislation/Social-Impact-Assessment.

Have your say on horse riding opportunties in Weddin Mountain National Park

Media release: 21 February 2017 - NPWS
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is inviting people to have their say on a proposal to allow horse riding in Weddin Mountains National Park, west of Grenfell.

NPWS Director Robert Smith said that following strong local community interest, the Service has looked into ways to provide low-key horse riding opportunities in the southern part of the park.

"We have amended the plan of management for the park to allow limited horse riding on an existing 20 kilometre loop trail," Mr Smith said.

"The number of horse riders allowed on the tracks at any one time will be limited to 16 to protect the natural and cultural values of the park, and for visitor safety and enjoyment," said Mr Smith.

The amended plan of management currently on exhibition also outlines proposed conditions, including a local consent system that will manage the impact of horse riding in the park.

"There is a very active local horse riding community who are keen to explore the park on these trails that traverse the escarpment and neighbouring State Forest.

"Horse riding in national parks provide an opportunity for riders to experience and appreciate the natural heritage and conservation values of these spaces.

"NPWS wants to improve horse riding opportunities across the reserve system but only where there are suitable management arrangements in place that protect the conservation assets and social values of our parks," Mr Smith said.

Submissions must be received by Monday 3 April 2017

To read the proposed amendment to the Plan of Management and find out more about the proposal to allow horse rising in Weddin Mountains National Park, go to:

NPWS Bathurst Office (Level 2, 203-209 Russell Street, Bathurst)
NPWS Forbes Office (Camp Street, Forbes)
Grenfell and District Public Library (88 Main Street, Grenfell)
Office of Environment and Heritage (Level 14, 59-61 Goulburn St, Sydney)

If you would like to make a submission:
Mail: The Planner, Weddin Mountains NP PoM Draft Amendment, NPWS, P.O. Box 552, KATOOMBA NSW 2780

Petition: Ban Balloons Release

Goal - Australia-wide ban on the release of balloons and the use of helium to inflate balloons.

Problem: Released balloons always come back to Earth as litter. 
* When mistaken as food, balloons can slowly kill wildlife through digestive blockage, strangulation and choking. Affected wildlife includes marine animals such as shearwaters and turtles, as well as freshwater such as platypus. Farm animals can also be affected. 

* Many marine wildlife research scientists support a ban on the release of balloons, as do organisations involved with litter and marine protection, such as Boomerang Alliance, Tangaroa Blue, Lord Howe Island Museum, Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre and the Australian Platypus Conservancy.

* Marine Plastic Pollution is increased with balloon releases.

* Balloons are no longer made from natural latex but a synthetic. While the industry claims balloons biodegrade in the same time as “an oak leaf”, this can take many months or years, all the while posing a threat to wildlife. Non-biodegradable attached streamers and disks add to the litter and threat. 

* Mylar balloons do not biodegrade; they can cause power outages and spark fires.

* Agencies already spend a great deal of time and effort attempting to educate people about the environmental impacts of released balloons. Despite this and a variety of anti-litter and anti-balloon release laws across Australia, releases still occur.
* The use of helium enables the accidental release of balloons. With easy access to helium and helium balloons now ubiquitous at events and festivals, this is all too common. 
Just one released balloon will result in litter and pose a threat to wildlife.
* Alternatives to balloon releases include reusable banners, flags, ribbon dancers, or pinwheels. For memorials and fundraisers: plant trees or gardens, actions that promote life.

There is a global movement against the release of balloons due to their environmental impact (see BalloonsBlow. org). Australia could lead the way and be the first to nationally ban helium balloons.

Solution: The Federal Government unites the States and Territories of Australia for a national ban on the release of balloons and the use of helium to inflate balloons for non-scientific uses.


Draft NSW marine estate Threat and Risk Assessment Report released

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information

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

Sea kayakers rescue turtle in distress

March 2016
Video captured off the coast of Gran Canaria shows kayakers rescuing a sea turtle which had become trapped in fish net.

Threat abatement plan for the impacts of marine debris on vertebrate marine life

February 9, 2017: Threatened Species Commissioner 
This video (Below)is a must watch on the impacts of littering and marine debris. The number one threat to our marine turtles.
The Australian Government is currently updating our plan to reduce the impacts of marine debris. 

About the plan
In August 2003, 'Injury and fatality to vertebrate marine life caused by ingestion of, or entanglement in, harmful marine debris' was listed as a key threatening process under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The Threat Abatement Plan (TAP) for the impacts of marine debris on vertebrate marine life aims to provide a coordinated national approach to the implementation of measures to prevent and mitigate the impacts of harmful marine debris on vertebrate marine life.

Detailed information supporting this TAP is provided in the Background Paper, which describes in more detail the key threatening process and its management via prevention, removal and mitigation.

Review status
After considering the review of the Threat abatement plan for the impacts of marine debris on vertebrate marine life, the Minister for the Environment agreed with the Threatened Species Scientific Committee’s recommendation  that a variation of the threat abatement plan should be drafted.

The Australian Government is working to revise the national marine debris plan to limit the damage that plastic and other waste products cause to Australia’s marine life. The new threat abatement plan will set directions for marine debris research and management activities.

The Threat Abatement Plan for the Impacts of Marine Debris on Vertebrate Marine Species is being revised. The Department has released the draft Threat Abatement Plan for the Impacts of Marine Debris on Vertebrate Marine Species (2017) for public comment. Comments are invited until 13 April 2017.


Where to send your submissions
Comments can be sent via email or post to the addresses below. If you are unable to provide comments in writing please phone 02 6274 1359.


Post:
Director
Environmental Biosecurity Section
Department of the Environment and Energy
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

$10 Million to protect koala habitat 

Media Release: Hon. Mark Speakman, Minister for the Environment 
The NSW Government will invest $10 million over five years to acquire vital koala habitat and will embark on a whole-of-government koala strategy to secure NSW koala populations, Environment Minister Mark Speakman announced today.

The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane AC’s Report of the Independent Review into the Decline of Koala Populations in Key Areas of NSW, released today, recommended developing an overarching strategy and investing in key areas of koala habitat.

Mr Speakman said the NSW Government commissioned the independent review in March.
“The independent review proposes 11 recommendations to help develop a strategy that can secure and eventually increase NSW koala numbers,” Mr Speakman said.

“The strategy will also complement the koala conservation work already being done under the NSW Government’s flagship $100 million Saving our Species program. This work will include projects, which improve koala habitat and trialling artificial water sources for koalas to mitigate heat stress.

“The $10 million investment follows the creation in March of flora reserves totalling 120 square km on the South Coast, run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, to protect the last known local koala population.”

A three-month consultation program will include regional community information sessions, stakeholder meetings, webinars and information/feedback via a web portal.

“We want communities to look at the independent review and provide input to help direct the NSW Government’s strategy so we can preserve this iconic species for all generations to come,” Mr Speakman said.

To comment on the strategy’s direction visit www.environment.nsw.gov.au/animals/nswkoala-strategy.htm
and to find out more about the NSW Government’s koala conservation
efforts through the Saving our Species program


Public exhibition for the Saving our Species Iconic Koala Project is from 4 December 2016 to 11:59pm 3 March 2017. You are invited to comment on the Saving our Species Iconic Koala Project by sending a written submission during this time. Visit: HERE

Long Reef Guided Walks 

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

Free guided walks 
with Fishcare Volunteers 
Sunday 26 Feb 2017 2.30 pm – 4.30 pm 
Sunday 26 Mar 2017 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm 
Sunday 9 Apr 2017 12.30 pm – 2.30 pm 
• Subject to weather conditions 
• Bookings and enquiries by email: longreefwalks@gmail.com

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

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

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

An ideal family outing! 

Bushcare in Pittwater 

For further information or to confirm the meeting details for below groups, please contact Council's Bushcare Officer on 9970 1367
Council's Cooee Newsletter - November - December 2016 HERE

BUSHCARE SCHEDULES 
Where we work                      Which day                              What time 

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

Bayview     
Winnererremy Bay                 4th Sunday                        9 to 12noon 

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

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

Clareville     
Old Wharf Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      8 - 11am 

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

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

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

North Narrabeen     
Irrawong Reserve                     3rd Saturday                   2 - 5pm 

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

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

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

Whale Beach     
Norma Park                               1st Friday                            9 - 12noon 

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

Wildlife Carers and Organisations in Pittwater:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Create a Habitat Stepping Stone!

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

How it works

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

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

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

What you get                                  

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

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

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

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

Newport Community Gardens

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


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