Inbox and Environment News: Issue 478
December 13, 2020 - January 16, 2021: Issue 478
Goray'murrai—Warm and wet, do not camp near rivers
This season begins with the Great Eel Spirit calling his children to him, and the eels which are ready to mate make their way down the rivers and creeks to the ocean.
It is the time of the blooming of the Kai'arrewan (Acacia binervia) which announces the occurrence of fish in the bays and estuaries.
Acacia binervia, commonly known as the coast myall, is a wattle native to New South Wales and Victoria.
Time Of Burran
Gadalung Marool (hot and dry) January - March
The behaviour of the male kangaroos becomes quite aggressive in this season, and it is a sign that the eating of meat is forbidden during this time. This is a health factor; because of the heat of the day meat does not keep, and the likelihood of food poisoning is apparent. The blooming of the Weetjellan (Acacia implexa) is an important sign that fires must not be lit unless they are well away from bushland and on sand only, and that there will be violent storms and heavy rain, so camping near creeks and rivers is not recommended.
Acacia implexa, commonly known as lightwood or hickory wattle, is a fast-growing Australian tree, the timber of which was used for furniture making. The wood is prized for its finish and strength. The foliage was used to make pulp and dye cloth. The Ngunnawal people of the ACT used the bark to make rope, string, medicine and for fish poison, the timber for tools, and the seeds to make flour.
It is widespread in eastern Australia from central coastal Queensland to southern Victoria, with outlying populations on the Atherton Tableland in northern Queensland and Tasmania's King Island. The tree is commonly found on fertile plains and in hilly country it is usually part of open forest communities and grows in shallow drier sandy and clay soils.
Acacia implexa flowers - photo by Donald Hobern.
Spiders 'Ballooning' Come Ashore Across Our Beaches
Thousands of tiny spiders have been blown ashore from Manly to Palm Beach this week with residents stating that it was like being caught in a snow shower. Standing at oceans' edge on Monday December 7th, 2020, whether at Narrabeen or Bilgola, people thought a spider apocalypse, comprised of tiny spiders, had commenced.
Ballooning, also called 'kiting', is a process by which spiders, and some other small invertebrates, move through the air by releasing one or more gossamer threads to catch the wind, causing them to become airborne at the mercy of air currents and electric currents. A 2018 experiment confirmed that electric fields provide enough force to lift spiders in the air. This is primarily used by spiderlings to disperse; however, larger individuals have been observed doing so as well. The spider climbs to a high point and takes a stance with its abdomen to the sky, releasing fine silk threads from its spinneret until it becomes aloft. Journeys achieved vary from a few metres to hundreds of kilometres. Even atmospheric samples collected from balloons at five kilometres altitude and ships mid-ocean have reported spider landings. Mortality is high.
Research released in July 2020 from the University of Bristol sheds more light on “ballooning”, in which a spider holds on to a single strand of thread that carries them aloft. This feat was always assumed to be a matter of riding air currents by some unknown mechanism. Even Darwin was puzzled by “aeronaut spiders” reaching the Beagle on gossamer threads 60 miles off South America. Since 2013 researchers have believed electric fields are involved – now they have observed the effect experimentally.
The Bristol researchers showed that in a sealed chamber box with no air currents, spiders took off when an electric field was present, the repulsion on the charged thread providing the necessary lift. When the electric field was turned off, the spiders came back down.
Spiders have tiny hairs called trichobothria that sense electric fields, like human hairs rising in response to static electricity. When a spider senses the field is strong enough, they will climb to a high twig or blade of grass, spin a silken line, and take off.
Many sailors have reported spiders being caught in their ship's sails over 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) from land (Heimer 1988). They have even been detected in atmospheric data balloons collecting air samples at slightly less than 5 kilometres (16,000 ft) above sea level. Evidently, ballooning is the most common way for spiders to invade isolated islands and mountaintops. Spiderlings are known to survive without food while travelling in air currents of jet streams for 25 days or longer.
A close association has been found between ballooning behaviours and the ability for a species of spiders to survive afloat on water. Water-repellent legs keep them alive on both fresh and salt water, enabling them to survive waves up to 0.5 metres in height. In wind many species raised their legs or abdomens to use as sails, propelling themselves across the water's surface. Many species of spiders also drop silk to anchor themselves in place while afloat. Said spiders did not show these behaviours on land, suggesting that they are adaptations to water.
In June 2016 a flood in Tasmania caused spider ballooning there. A resident, Ken Puccetti, took photographs showing several trees shrouded in white webs, with small black spiders clearly visible on the silk folds.
Spider webs cocoon bushes during the floods in Westbury, Tasmania in 2016. Photo credit: Ken Puccetti
Graham Milledge, the collection manager in arachnology at the Australian Museum, said the spiders were escaping the floodwaters using a phenomenon known as ballooning. This occurs when small spiders throw out silk filaments and catch a ride on the wind to higher ground.
A similar event occurred in Goulburn in the Southern Tablelands in May 2015, when a resident, Ian Watson, described how his house looked as if it had been "abandoned and taken over" by the spiders.
Cho M, Neubauer P, Fahrenson C, Rechenberg I (2018) An observational study of ballooning in large spiders: Nanoscale multifibers enable large spiders’ soaring flight. PLoS Biol 16(6): e2004405. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2004405 - File: Ballooning spider.png , http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.2004405
Pittwater Natural Heritage Association (PNHA): Pittwater Nature Volume 3
Rescued Flying Foxes, Koolewong Track Trees, The Carrot Family, Appreciating Flies - and more in Pittwater Nature Issue 3 - available at:
Along the Koolewong Track - mighty Sydney Red Gum Angophora costata. Photo by Marita Macrae - Robber Fly resting in Angophora Reserve Avalon. These flies hunt insects such as small moths. Photo by Marita Macrae.
Floury Baker (Aleeta curvicosta), emerging in Avalon this week in early December. Photo by Marita Macrae.
Textured Emerald Moth November 27 2020 - The lovely patterns and textures are formed by delicate scales. Moths can shed these easily to escape from a spider web. Photo by Marita Macrae.
This one on bark of a Blueberry Ash. Imagine a fabric with these patterns! This photo taken October 7 2017. Photo by Marita Macrae.
Upcoming Activities For Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment:
Sunday 27 December: 7.30 am Walk & Weed along 5 Mile Creek track in Garigal NP.
Short 15min walk to exotic grass and lantana infestation site. Weed for 2 hrs on rockshelf surrounded by beautiful bush.
Bring gloves and long handled screwdriver if available.
Bookings essential. Conny 0432 643 295
Sun 21 February 2021: 7.30 am Walk & Weed along the Narrabeen Lagoon catchment transverse walk.
Start at Oxford Falls walk for 3 1/2 hours, weed for 30min, continue 30min walk and car pool back to start.
Bring gloves and long handled screwdriver if available.
Walk grade: medium.
Bookings essential. Conny 0432 643 295
Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment are pleased to announce the next forum will be held on 22 Feb 2021 at 7 pm .
Presenter: Jayden Walsh
Jayden is a keen observer of nature and has some stunning photographs and information to share.
The focus will be on wildlife that lives near the Narrabeen Lagoon and that, if you are fortunate, you may see when on the Narrabeen Lagoon walkway.
For details on how to book for this event are on the website. At: https://www.narrabeenlagoon.org.au/Forums/forums.htm
Newport, Narrabeen Beach & Lagoon Clean Ups 2020 To 2021
Living Ocean Expo Plus Tide & Moon Calendar Launch For 2021
Thursday, 17 December 2020 from 10:00 am
55 Old Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach
Living Ocean Expo will showcase our work and the work of our creative and passionate supporters on the ground floor shop 55 Old Barrenjoey Rd Avalon all day.
Drop-in and chat about our citizen science programs, have a tea or coffee with experts in environment and ocean science, and also see the works of our many supporters.
Rough schedule for guest experts who will be onsite during the day is;
10-11: Living Ocean Whales, plastic, seals, PEP11 software and more,
11-12: HSI talking sharks,
12-1: Surfers for Climate,
1-2pm: Cassie Murray all about whales,
2-3pm: Jools Farrell on ORRCA /NPWS rescue,
3-4pm: David Jenkins Whalespotter,
4-5pm: Matt Kemp on Ocean expeditions.
Then at 6.30 we will launch the Tide and Moon Calendar 2020.
We feature 12 images from our talented supporters who donated to the calendar Their works will be on display all day. Chat with each and listen to how they capture their visions of the ocean.
Photographers include: Rita Kluge, Robbi Newman, Jack McCoy, David Jenkins, Guy Williment, Tim Bonython, Guy Finlay, Tom Carroll, Jake Parker, Steve Maxwell, Claudia Newman, Matt Kemp.
Watch Out On The Pittwater Estuary Water Zones & Beaches: Seals & Penguins Are About
Residents have filmed and photographed the seals living at Barrenjoey as far south as Rowland Reserve and over at Clareville beach in recent days and ask that people keep an eye out for them and ensure they are kept safe from boat strikes and dogs are kept off the beaches they're not supposed to be on.
Bushcare In Pittwater
Where we work Which day What time
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
Winnererremy Bay 4th Sunday 9 to 12noon
North Bilgola Beach 3rd Monday 9 - 12noon
Algona Reserve 1st Saturday 9 - 12noon
Plateau Park 1st Friday 8:30 - 11:30am
Browns Bay Reserve 1st Tuesday 9 - 12noon
McCarrs Creek Reserve Contact Bushcare Officer To be confirmed
Old Wharf Reserve 3rd Saturday 8 - 11am
Kundibah Reserve 4th Sunday 8:30 - 11:30am
Mona Vale Beach Basin 1st Saturday 8 - 11am
Mona Vale Dunes 2nd Saturday +3rd Thursday 8:30 - 11:30am
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
Irrawong Reserve 2nd Saturday 2 - 5pm
North Palm Beach Dunes 3rd Saturday 9 - 12noon
Catherine Park 2nd Sunday 10 - 12:30pm
Elizabeth Park 1st Saturday 9 - 12noon
Pathilda Reserve 3rd Saturday 9 - 12noon
Warriewood Wetlands 1st Sunday 8:30 - 11:30am
Norma Park 1st Friday 9 - 12noon
Coopers Point, Elvina Bay 2nd Sunday 10 - 1pm
Rocky Point, Elvina Bay 1st Monday 9 - 12noon
Gardens And Environment Groups And Organisations In Pittwater
Grants To Fund Innovative Re-Use And Recycling Projects
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is calling for innovative and new projects looking for ways to re-use discarded materials to make new products or for new uses, and for construction projects that want to re-use materials like construction waste, glass or plastic, to apply for new grants to help create a circular economy.
New intakes for the EPA’s Circulate and Civil Construction Market Programs are now open and aiming to divert valuable materials from landfill for re-use, recycling and industrial ecology projects.
The grant funding helps organisations including businesses, councils, not-for-profits, waste service providers and industry bodies, among others, design projects that promote the circular economy, instead of a disposable culture.
EPA Director Circular Economy Programs Kathy Giunta said these programs will provide grant funding to support industry to respond to the decision by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) this year to ban the export of certain wastes that have not been processed into value-added material.
“One of the ways to mitigate the effects of China’s National Sword policy and to prepare NSW for the waste export ban is to invest in projects that demonstrate innovative uses of recyclables,” Ms Giunta said.
“The Circulate Program provides grants of up to $150,000 for innovative, commercially-oriented industrial ecology projects. Circulate supports projects that will recover materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill, and to instead use them as feedstock for other commercial, industrial or construction processes.
“The Civil Construction Market Program provides grants of up to $250,000 for civil construction projects that re-use construction and demolition waste or recyclables from households and businesses such as glass, plastic and paper.”
Previous projects in the Circulate Program include Cross Connections’ Plastic Police, which supplied soft plastics to the Downer Group’s Reconophalt project, the first road surfacing material in Australia to contain high recycled content from waste streams, also including glass and toner, which would otherwise be bound for landfill or stockpiled.
Previous projects in the Civil Construction Market Program include supporting Lendlease’s use of recycled glass from Lismore Council in pavement concrete on three trial sites as part of the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway Upgrade.
Applications will be open until Friday 12 February 2021.
For details of the grants and how to apply, visit epa.nsw.gov.au/circulate and epa.nsw.gov.au/working-together/grants/business-recycling/civil-construction-market-program-grants
Music Could Be Key In Finding Rare NSW Bird Species
In the middle of NSW there's a cryptic bird so elusive that the NSW Government's Saving our Species program has turned to music to detect it.
Threatened species experts have been recording birdsongs – through bioacoustic technology – to monitor and track the critically endangered red-lored whistler (Pachycephala rufogularis) in the Central West's Round Hill and Nombinnie Nature Reserves.
This novel technique holds promise for monitoring rare birds across the State, according to Sarah Bell, Senior Project Officer Saving our Species.
"With a cryptic bird like the red-lored whistler, your chance of seeing one is pretty low, but detecting their noise lets us know if there are any out there," Dr Bell said.
"These birdsong recordings will help us understand their movements and hopefully lead to better conservation outcomes.
"Hearing the red-lored whistler call really is the best music to our ears as it gives us hope that we might be able to help save this bird.
"We are starting from a point of having no firm idea what the population trend of this bird is, whether it's going up or down or staying the same, or what habitat they prefer.
"For the past 2 years our team has left small recording devices in the reserves, for a few months at a time, to capture bird songs and calls from the surrounding landscape," Dr Bell said.
"We take the song files back to the office to analyse them – we can separate the red-lored whistler from other bird calls – even from the very similar-sounding Gilbert's whistler, for which it's often mistaken."
The team will record bird songs over a 6-year period, which is the generational life-span of the red-lored whistler. During this time, recordings will be made from 155 locations.
Once many months of sound-data files are downloaded, they are run through a software program which assists in the identification of various bird calls. The data will be used to investigate the red-lored whistlers' occupancy across the reserve and changes over time to indicate the population trajectory.
The red-lored whistler is a 'shy' small, grey-brown songbird with attractive orange-red trimming on its lore, which is the area on the side of a bird's face between its eye and bill.
Red-lored whistlers blend easily into their surrounds and are rarely seen flying around the Mallee woodland in which they live. As far as the team knows, this is the only population remaining in New South Wales.
Red Lored Whistler (Pachycephala Rufogularis )HD Video Clip 1/1 By Tim Siggs ABVC
Even though the footage is a little wobbly, I have included this in the collection as it is a bird of very limited distribution. They have an evocative call which carries some distance through the Mallee country. I had seen this species 20 years ago but was surprised how 'chunky' they were. They are also quite terrestrial as is shown in the video. Tim Siggs.ABVC. This bird Video is part of my channel started in 2015. My ambition is to showcase 500 Australian bird species. I am passionate about Bird Video as it Potentially shows bird behaviour, breeding and often bird song.
I began birdwatching when I was 12 and progressed to bird photography and then to bird Video for the past 15 years.
Originally from the UK, I find birding in Australia exciting and engaging. I have now travelled around Australia twice but mainly film birds in Queensland.
Many of the bird clips are taken from hides or blinds that I construct from bush materials, saving the need to carry a hide to a location.
Knowing bird calls and song is a big part of finding each species and naturally, knowing the habitat requirements helps also.
Volunteers Helping To Protect Endangered Little Terns Nesting On Corrie Island
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and volunteers from the Myall Koala & Environmental Group are working together to protect a nesting colony of endangered little terns on Corrie Island Nature Reserve, as part of the NSW Government's Saving our Species Program.
NSW Government Saving our Species Officer Christophe Tourenq said it was fantastic to see that little terns have returned to the island in the Lower Myall River mouth to breed this year.
"We're relieved to see that this colony of little terns has returned to Corrie Island to breed for the 61st year running," said Mr Tourenq.
"Little terns have been recorded breeding on and off the island and the nearby beach of Winda Woppa since the 1950's and probably much earlier.
"Volunteers from Myall Koala & Environmental Group have counted 60 nests so far this season, which is already the double of the number reached last year at the peak of the breeding season.
"Little terns are endangered in NSW and sadly their populations are in decline. The big issue for little terns is that they breed during summer on beaches and sand spits – the same spaces where humans like to sit, camp and walk their unleashed dogs during the warm weather.
"Their eggs and chicks are so well camouflaged against the sand; they are almost invisible and all too easy for people and their pets to disturb, or even crush, without noticing. Luckily, Corrie Island is relatively isolated, so we hope they will have a better shot at a successful breeding season in 2020–21.
"We're asking members of the public to please 'share the shore', respect the signs, and to refrain from visiting the island during the breeding season, which runs from November to February. Eggs or chicks could be anywhere on the island above the high tide line.
Little tern chicks (Sternula albifrons) Credit: Leo Berzins
Volunteers have been essential in helping NPWS to gather data on shorebirds in the Port Stephens estuary. Since 2004, the Hunter Bird Observers Club have conducted summer surveys, and for the last four seasons, a small group of volunteers from the Myall Koala & Environmental Group have been monitoring and protect the nesting birds on Corrie Island.
Myall Koala & Environmental Group's Trish Blair said "It is a pleasure and a privilege for us to play a part in helping to collect data about the numbers and breeding success of endangered shorebird species, and to take any action, in conjunction with relevant Government agencies to reduce the risk of destruction of eggs and chicks."
"Our usual mode of transport to the nesting site is by kayak and on foot in our beautiful natural coastal environment. So, our 'work' is not onerous at all," said Ms Blair.
People are reminded that camping and domestic pets are not allowed into Corrie Island Nature Reserve at any time.
For more information about little terns, visit the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website.
Ongoing Education And Enforcement Of Sediment Controls On Building Sites Key To Protecting Sydney's Waterways
Results from the October Get the Site Right inspection blitz day show that compliance rates on construction and building sites are holding steady following the significant improvements seen in the June campaign.
The results are encouraging in light of the recent rainfall surge experienced across Sydney and parts of eastern Australia and increase in building and renovation projects since the start of COVID-19.
Twenty-one councils across Sydney and the Hunter Coast and the NSW Environment Protection Authority took part in the one-day blitz with officers inspecting almost 600 building and construction sites for sediment and runoff controls.
Of the sites inspected, 74 per cent were compliant, up 1 per cent from the June campaign. A total of $97,897 in fines was issued to non-compliant sites. Offences ranged from poorly stabilised site access, unapproved concrete pours and the inappropriate storage of building materials.
Get the Site Right targets erosion and sediment control on building and construction sites and highlights the impact of sediment-laden runoff on our waterways. It is a joint program between the Parramatta River Catchment Group, Cooks River Alliance, Georges River Combined Councils Committee, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Lake Macquarie Council, NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), and local councils.
EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations, Steve Beaman, said the consistent compliance rate was reassuring, given the continuing wet weather forecast for coming months.
“Building materials such as sand and soil that are not properly contained can be blown or washed off a site into stormwater drains and out to our local waterways,” Mr Beaman said.
“Sediment runoff can harm aquatic life, erode creeks and riverbanks and damage stormwater infrastructure.
“During this period of wet weather, it’s even more important that builders and developers use the right erosion and sediment controls to prevent runoff leaving their site.”
Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG) Chair, Councillor Mark Drury, said the positive results highlight the importance of the Get the Site Right campaign in encouraging and supporting councils to conduct regular inspections and educate developers and builders on the role they play in protecting our waterways.
“With an increase in construction expected over the next 12 months due to the government stimulus packages for builders and renovators, raising awareness of the harmful impact of sediment runoff on our rivers and creeks is still needed,” Cr Drury said.
“Get the Site Right continues to demonstrate how catchment groups, councils and the EPA are working together to achieve sustainable benefits for the community and environment.”
Members of the public are encouraged to report pollution incidents, including poor sediment control, to their local council or the EPA’s 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555.
Global Search Lands New Chief Executive For Placemaking NSW
Anita Mitchell has been named Chief Executive, Placemaking NSW, to lead the team responsible for managing and transforming some of NSW’s most treasured places including The Rocks and Darling Harbour, Sydney Olympic Park, and in the Hunter and Central Coast.
Announcing the appointment, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Secretary Jim Betts said Ms Mitchell was a leader with outstanding international property, risk, and place credentials earned in Australia, Asia, and in Europe.
“Our priceless state assets need a strong leader with a place focus to drive renewal, investment and growth, while protecting and enhancing natural and cultural heritage,” Mr Betts said.
“This was an exhaustive and highly competitive global search. I’m delighted we’ve been able to secure Anita’s capability and experience with global property and investment group Lendlease in Europe, Asia and in Sydney, as well as other property firms such as Jones Lang Lasalle,” he said.
Anita Mitchell said she was thrilled to join the Department’s Place, Design and Public Spaces team as Chief Executive, Placemaking NSW.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I see many ways to continue to take placemaking beyond managing just the physical spaces to something that delivers great experiences and real social, economic and environmental value for the community,” Ms Mitchell said.
“I’m looking forward to leading a passionate team in realising the full potential of some of New South Wales’ most treasured places and public spaces.”
Anita Mitchell will commence in the role of Chief Executive, Placemaking NSW on 18 January 2021.
Enhancements To Boost BASIX System Released
The transformation of BASIX is underway, with a number of significant changes implemented to provide greater flexibility and enable more innovative and sustainable design solutions.
The Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) is an online sustainability assessment tool that ensures proposed residential development meets sustainability targets and is one of the main drivers of energy and water efficiency for housing in NSW .
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said updates to the online BASIX tool would incorporate innovations in more sustainable technologies and align it with sustainability targets in other states.
“There have been tremendous technological advances within the sustainability sector since the introduction of BASIX and we’re updating the platform to make it more flexible, innovative and easier to use,” Mr Stokes said.
“BASIX standards should be the baseline, not the boundary. These updates will allow architects to exceed the standards, achieve great design and ensure homes are energy efficient.”
“Since its introduction in 2004, more than 460,000 homes have been certified as BASIX compliant, saving an estimated 281 billion litres of drinking water and 8.8 million tons of emissions.”
Some of the main changes include:
- Recognising other sustainable building design standards, such as Passive House, to meet BASIX thermal comfort requirements;
- Updating the online tool to include new technology choices such as regenerative drive technology for lifts;
- Aligning the BASIX thermal comfort modelling requirements with the national standard under NatHERS.
Australian Passive House Association CEO Paul Wall welcomed the platform being recognised in BASIX assessments.
“The thermal comfort assessment we provide results in a win-win. Homeowners and tenants get a more comfortable home with reduced running costs, while the environmental impact is significantly reduced,” Mr Wall said.
For more information visit the BASIX website.
60,000 Murray Cod Released Back Into The Darling River
A bold rescue-and-return mission by the NSW Government has successfully seen more than 60,000 Murray Cod released back into the Darling River near Menindee today, December 7, 2020, two years after severe drought triggered fish deaths.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian joined Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Western NSW Adam Marshall at Menindee to oversee the restocking of the Darling River.
Ms Berejiklian said the return of the Murray Cod to the waterway was part of the NSW Government’s ambitious plan to help restock the Darling River.
“This is a historic day for the Menindee community and the Barkindji people in particular,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Two years ago widespread fish deaths were caused by high temperatures and record low rainfall so it gives me great joy to see these Murray Cod returned home and swimming through our healthy waterways.”
Mr Marshall said the fish were offspring of 70 Murray Cod rescued after the NSW Government last year took unprecedented action to launch the State’s largest-ever breeding program.
“Fast-forward to today and our virtual ‘Noah’s Ark’ has docked home, returning a massive 60,000 Murray Cod to their native river, a major milestone in the NSW Government’s $10 million Fish Rescue Strategy,” Mr Marshall said.
“The iconic Murray Cod is particularly special to both the Menindee region and local indigenous communities, so to stand here today with key community members and First Nations representatives as these fish are returned to country is very moving.
“This is just the start of something special. These 60,000 Murray Cod are only the first of more than 400,000 fish to be stocked across the State this month alone, and we will continue breeding 2.5 million native fish species each year to keep our rivers stocked.”
Mr Marshall said the Murray Cod restocked today were the offspring of fish rescued by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries from Menindee in the sweltering summer of 2019, and more saved the following summer.
“The rescued Murray Cod were taken to the NSW Government’s flagship fish hatchery at Narrandera, where they stayed until conditions improved,” Mr Marshall said.
“DPI has done a phenomenal job in breeding these offspring. This program ensures the survival of our fish species, no matter how severe future summers might be.”
Ongoing Operations To Remove Feral Deer In Royal National Park A Success
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) continues pest management operations across fire-impacted bushland with a recent operation removing rusa deer from Sydney's Royal National Park.
NPWS Area Manager Brendon Neilly said feral deer management is expanding into more remote, harder to access areas of Royal National Park using a range of effective and humane methods.
"Controlling feral deer in the park is a critical priority for NPWS," said Mr Neilly.
"Deer cause damage to native habitats through grazing, browsing, trampling and wallowing.
"Last month's operation saw highly trained, skilled staff remove deer from a 2000-hectare section of the park that was burnt by wildfire in 2018.
"Deer are impacting native plants and native habitats recovering from fire in this part of the park, including the Littoral Rainforest Threatened Ecological Community.
"The area has limited trails and is not suitable for effective ground shooting so an aerial operation was conducted in accordance with the highest safety and animals welfare standards.
"The half-day operation using thermal imaging technology removed 58 rusa deer in order to protect the area's conservation values.
"Independent expert advice is that aerial control is a humane method by for managing invasive pest animals and the operation was controlled by strict operational procedures that prioritised staff and visitor safety.
"NPWS has undertaken regular deer control in Royal National Park since 2002 and will continue to utilise both ground and aerial control methods to reduce the impact of feral deer on the environment and the community," Mr Neilly said.
Feral deer populations continue to expand across different land tenures and now occupy an area covering around 22 per cent of NSW, up five per cent from 2016.
They pose a significant threat to the survival and recovery of native vegetation, especially after fire.
Following last summer's bushfires, NPWS is implementing the largest feral animal control operation in its history to give native plants and animals the best chance to recover.
Toxic Strangler Weed Found In Bourke And Brewarrina Shires
Property owners and land managers in north west NSW have been urged to check their properties for the toxic invasive weed, rubber vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora), which is now being eradicated from four sites near Wanaaring, Yantabulla and Weilmoringle.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) State Priority Weeds coordinator, Nicola Dixon, said people in the Bourke and Brewarrina Shire Council and unincorporated areas should check homestead gardens, yards, sheds, rivers and creeks for the prohibited weed.
“We have found rubber vine which was planted in homestead gardens decades ago, triggering a substantial surveillance effort as plants could survive anywhere there is a water source and could have spread far from the original sites,” Ms Dixon said.
“Please contact the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244 for assistance and do not attempt to treat or dispose of this weed yourself.”
NSW DPI is working with Western Local Land Services and local councils to detect and eradicate rubber vine.
As part of an ongoing 46,000 square kilometre survey of north-west NSW, between Tibooburra and the Narran River, 191 properties have been inspected for rubber vine.
Rubber vine is a multi-stemmed shrub which can scramble up to 30 metres high in tree canopies or grow unsupported to three metres, forming dense thickets with dark green, glossy leaves. Its flowers are trumpet-shaped, up to five centimetres long and wide with five light-purple, pink or white petals.
The weed smothers and kills other plants, invades pastures, waterways and natural areas and makes livestock movement and mustering difficult. It can reduce native plant and animal numbers and the water quality of streams.
All parts of the plant are poisonous to people and livestock if eaten. Sap from the plant irritates skin and can cause burning, rashes and blisters. Dust from dried plants can cause irritation to the throat, nose and eyes.
Rubber vine is a Weed of National Significance which poses a significant biosecurity risk and is listed as prohibited matter in the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015.
Look out for rubber vine in north-west NSW and contact NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244 for assistance, do not attempt to treat or dispose of this weed yourself. All parts of the plant are poisonous to people and livestock if eaten. Sap from the plant irritates skin and can cause burning, rashes and blisters. Dust from dried plants can cause irritation to the throat, nose and eyes.
Judges House Opens At Yellow Rock
A newly refurbished cottage located between the bush and the beach in Murramarang National Park has now opened for guests, providing unique visitor accommodation in one of the most pristine locations on the sought-after NSW south coast.
Located in Yellow Rock, Murramarang National Park, the Judges House is nestled in bushland with access to a secluded beach and boasts stunning views across Batemans Bay.
The three-bedroom weatherboard cottage features huge windows which bring the outside in, an open plan living area and large wraparound deck to relax on and enjoy the natural surrounds and water views.
Judges House is perfect for families, couples, small groups, from Sydney, Canberra and other areas of NSW wanting to enjoy a quiet getaway with many activities on offer, while for bigger groups the existing Yellow Rock Beach House nearby is also available to be booked.
The new accommodation offers access to its own private beach just steps away for swimming, kayaking or canoeing and fishing. Guests can explore bushwalking tracks in the area which wind through coastal bushland and the rocky coves of Murramarang National Park.
Ideal for holidaymakers wanting a remote nature stay with modern conveniences within reach, Judges House is only a 30-minute drive from the restaurants, cafes and shops of vibrant coastal town Batemans Bay.
Over the past year NPWS has carried out structural and engineering works, services upgrades, complete internal refurbishment, an extension to the deck and newly appointed fittings and furnishings throughout.
Revenue from the accommodation will be re-invested in the maintenance of the cottage and the Murramarang National Park.
Rates: From $350 – $450 per night. Minimum stay requirement applies.
For more information or to book call 1300 072 757 (13000 PARKS) or visit Judges House
Tick Population Booming In Our Area
Residents from Terrey Hills and Belrose to Narrabeen and Palm Beach report a high number of ticks are still present in the landscape. Local Veterinarians are stating there has not been the usual break from ticks so far and each day they’re still getting cases, especially in treating family dogs.
To help protect yourself and your family, you should:
- Use a chemical repellent with DEET, permethrin or picaridin.
- Wear light-colored protective clothing.
- Tuck pant legs into socks.
- Avoid tick-infested areas.
- Check yourself, your children, and your pets daily for ticks and carefully remove any ticks using a freezing agent.
- If you have a reaction, contact your GP for advice.
Shorebird Identification Booklet
The Migratory Shorebird Program has just released the third edition of its hugely popular Shorebird Identification Booklet. The team has thoroughly revised and updated this pocket-sized companion for all shorebird counters and interested birders, with lots of useful information on our most common shorebirds, key identification features, sighting distribution maps and short articles on some of BirdLife’s shorebird activities.
The booklet can be downloaded here in PDF file format: http://www.birdlife.org.au/documents/Shorebird_ID_Booklet_V3.pdf
Paper copies can be ordered as well, see http://www.birdlife.org.au/projects/shorebirds-2020/counter-resources for details.
Download BirdLife Australia's children’s education kit to help them learn more about our wading birdlife
Shorebirds are a group of wading birds that can be found feeding on swamps, tidal mudflats, estuaries, beaches and open country. For many people, shorebirds are just those brown birds feeding a long way out on the mud but they are actually a remarkably diverse collection of birds including stilts, sandpipers, snipe, curlews, godwits, plovers and oystercatchers. Each species is superbly adapted to suit its preferred habitat. The Red-necked Stint is as small as a sparrow, with relatively short legs and bill that it pecks food from the surface of the mud with, whereas the Eastern Curlew is over two feet long with a exceptionally long legs and a massively curved beak that it thrusts deep down into the mud to pull out crabs, worms and other creatures hidden below the surface.
Some shorebirds are fairly drab in plumage, especially when they are visiting Australia in their non-breeding season, but when they migrate to their Arctic nesting grounds, they develop a vibrant flush of bright colours to attract a mate. We have 37 types of shorebirds that annually migrate to Australia on some of the most lengthy and arduous journeys in the animal kingdom, but there are also 18 shorebirds that call Australia home all year round.
What all our shorebirds have in common—be they large or small, seasoned traveller or homebody, brightly coloured or in muted tones—is that each species needs adequate safe areas where they can successfully feed and breed.
The National Shorebird Monitoring Program is managed and supported by BirdLife Australia.
This project is supported by Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority and Hunter Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. Funding from Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and Port Phillip Bay Fund is acknowledged.
The National Shorebird Monitoring Program is made possible with the help of over 1,600 volunteers working in coastal and inland habitats all over Australia.
The National Shorebird Monitoring program (started as the Shorebirds 2020 project initiated to re-invigorate monitoring around Australia) is raising awareness of how incredible shorebirds are, and actively engaging the community to participate in gathering information needed to conserve shorebirds.
In the short term, the destruction of tidal ecosystems will need to be stopped, and our program is designed to strengthen the case for protecting these important habitats.
In the long term, there will be a need to mitigate against the likely effects of climate change on a species that travels across the entire range of latitudes where impacts are likely.
The identification and protection of critical areas for shorebirds will need to continue in order to guard against the potential threats associated with habitats in close proximity to nearly half the human population.
Here in Australia, the place where these birds grow up and spend most of their lives, continued monitoring is necessary to inform the best management practice to maintain shorebird populations.
BirdLife Australia believe that we can help secure a brighter future for these remarkable birds by educating stakeholders, gathering information on how and why shorebird populations are changing, and working to grow the community of people who care about shorebirds.
To find out more visit: http://www.birdlife.org.au/projects/shorebirds-2020/shorebirds-2020-program
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Disclaimer: These articles are not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Pittwater Online News or its staff.