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MELTON CITY COUNCIL, ENVIRONMENT DEPARTMENT, BEN KROKER
The Environment Rebate and Grants Program. The draft Green Wedge Management Plan will be available shortly. Valuing our Volcanic Plans grant program is a federally funded program to enhance and protect the volcanic plains. Contact the council for further information.
THE HISTORY OF TOOLERN VALE - JOHN BEATY
John Beatys family has lived in Toolern Vale for over 150 years. Toolern Vale was originally known as Yangardook. His great grandfather purchased land in 1848, moving from Northern Ireland. Toolern Vale was considered the jewel in Victorias agricultural crown for highest yields of barley and best hay. Historical photos were passed around.
GRASSLANDS DAY - DARCY DUGGAN
A field day and walk through a richly diverse native grassland, identifying plants, weeds, growth states and recommendations for maintaining this valuable treasure. Followed by a BBQ lunch.
NATIONAL TREE PLANTING DAY - GREAT TURNOUT
Several hundred trees and shrubs were planted at Holden Road Reserve. It is a lovely bend in the river. The kids had a wonderful time at the water's edge. Followed by an old fashioned BBQ. Thanks to Ben Kroker (Melton City Council) for having all the plants, stakes and guards ready.
IAN TAYLOR, WESTERN PLAINS FLORA
A comprehensive presentation and discussion by Ian on the best methods to plan and plant appropriately on your property. This included wonderful planting tips to get the best results and strike rates with the least amount of effort. The most spoken about tip of the nightÉ don't squeeze the tube, moisten first and then shake the plant out!
TOOLERN VALE WILDLIFE MOVIE NIGHT
We presented a movie with images that our new LED cameras (purchased via a grant) have captured. The cameras were placed in our Biodiversity corridor - Ryans Lane and Chapmans Rd. The images were mostly of Kangaroos but we also captured a wombat and a fox. Cameras will be moved around to see if we can capture different animals in different places.
TANIA, KALGANI, REPORT ON RABBIT BAITING PROGRAM
Kalgani are pest animal and weed specialists. Tania confirmed that all works for our group had been done according to the brief and advised those ten property owners to keep an eye out for any carcasses that hadn't made it back to burrows. Individual landholders were advised to follow through with fumigation and collapsing of harbour if they were able to, to complete the baiting process. Kalgarni offered to assist with the fumigation.
WILLIAM HOGG, PPWPCMA
There is a Rural Property Planning workshop on Saturday 23 March from 10am-4pm in Bacchus Marsh. It is a fairly full on and intense day but the feedback received has been positive. The main focus is on pest, plant and animal management.
BEN KROKER, ENVIRONMENT DEPT, MELTON CITY COUNCIL
Environment Enhancement Program (EEP) Council has recently undergone a significant review of the EEP. They have spoken with a wide range of interested parties such as rate payers, staff, community groups, local organisations etc. As yet, there is nothing ready for community release but it will be tabled at an upcoming council meeting. Adrian met with members of Toolern Vale Landcare earlier this year and has passed on his thanks. Whilst not endorsing the use of Dow products, a guide for woody weed control can be found at: msdssearch.dow.com
There are also some useful fact sheets www.woodyweedspecialists.com.au
There is also a selective herbicide Task Force which has been showing some success with Chilean Needle Grass or Serrated Tussock. It is residual for 12 months but needs 100ml rain to be taken up by roots. The priority weed is still serrated tussock because it produces so much seed and blows so far. It is still highly invasive. The other main one is artichoke thistle. Galenia is still not listed as a noxious weed. Some new ones to watch out for are Great Mullein which is being found at Exford, St Johns Wart and Fennel.
It has been a bumper year for wildflowers, some that have not been seen for over 10 years so we thought we would take advantage of it and see them while we can. We had a 3 stage party, starting at the Smith's for a walk up behind their property to see the wildflowers. Then to the Hill's to see the biodiversity corridor. And finally to the Schipano's for christmas cheer and homemade pizza. We also had a special visitor come along for the children.
SUSIE INGLIS, WESTERN MELBOURNE CATCHMENT NETWORK
For further details see the website .. www.wmcn.org.au
EEP UPDATE FROM BEN KROKER
We are now well into October my inspection period has begun for the Environmental Enhancement Policy (Rate Rebate for weed control etc). As everyone in the Landcare Group will understand, the highest priority for action on our land to protect biodiversity and/or agricultural values is to prevent weeds from growing and spreading. Particularly for Serrated Tussock as the time for work has run out as the plants will be developing seeds soon. There is still time to deal with Artichoke Thistles and Box Thorns, but with the weather warming up and some hotter winds from the north, this will speed up the development of these plants too. I have not seen much Pattersons Curse as the high rainfall and good growing conditions have given rise to a lot of competition throughout Toolern Vale. Other weeds such as Gorse, Horehound and Spear Thistle also need to be controlled!
GAVIN WEBBER, MELTON SUSTAINABLE LIVING GROUP, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT The group now has over 30 members. Sustainable living basically means living lightly on the planet. Gavin has been living this lifestyle for 6 years now after watching, An Inconvenient Truth. He had a green epiphany and from then on was determined to reduce his familes environmental footprint for the benefit of our future generations. The Earth is currently way out of the natural cycle for carbon dioxide levels, in the present day it is now way too high, from 1980s the earth has warmed up considerably but the process started when we started burning coal.
Gavin asked himself .. What can I do?â He decided to lower his families environmental footprint and he started by growing his own food, he then looked at ensuring he lowered his water, electricity and gas usage and therefore produced lower greenhouse emissions.
MARTIN SCUFFINS, RAPTOR REHABILITATION, EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
Why is there a need for a raptor rehabilitation Centre? Birds are injured for many reasons - cars, barbed wire, electricity wires (power lines - the top cable is very hard to see), prickly pears, the damage caused by wind turbines is unknown. Only live birds are brought in, not dead ones. Joint fractures in birds can not be fixed, any bird that can not be released must be euthanised. Once the bird has been physically rehabilitated, it will then go through a hunting and fitness program to assist with its return to the wild. For more details, visit www.raptorshelter.com.
ADRIAN MURPHY, CO-ORDINATOR ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, MELTON SHIRE
Spoke to the group about the Environment Enhancement Program which has been running since 1994. The 2011 program is complete and a report will go to council in March 1300 participants/ landholders. The intent is to work with landowners and form a partnership. This years forms need to be in for 31st March. By the end of September, landowners need to have works completed. Council officers inspect properties through October, November and December. In January notices of compliance or failure are sent.
GERARD MOREL Melbourne Water River Health Officer introduced himself to the group
He has responsibility for commenting on works on creeks. Organises Melbourne Water works along creeks and Administers the Stream Frontage and Corridors of Green Community Grants. Gerardâ€™s main aim is to improve the vegetation along Toolern Creek. Toward Melton there are lots of plantings but as we head up to Toolern Vale the quality drops off, he would like to remedy this and have landowners along Toolern Vale section of the creek complete works along their creek banks. He is aware that there have been efforts in the past to work along this section of creek so was wanting any advice, feedback, general information that may assist him with this.
GALENIA AWARENESS AND ATTACK GRANT
Ian Taylor informed the group of Sunbury Landcare and Toolern Vale Landcares successful application for a $20,000 grant to target Galenia on roadsides in Sunbury and Toolern Vale. As well as ground works there will also be an educational information sheet on Galenia produced so that Identification is easier and the Basalt Plains poster will also be redone. Please contact Brad MacPherson on 0411 533 859 if you'd like a copy of this poster.
MONITORING GRANT FROM PPWCMA
Toolern Vale Landcare has been awarded a grant of $5270 to monitor the wildlife moving through the Biodiversity Wildlife Corridor and to address the pests that are present on the infrared cameras. (Exciting times ahead!)
It was great to get together with the Friends of Pinkerton Forest for a lovely Christmas BBG at Bush's Paddock. THe children had a marvellous time with the arrival of the man in red on the CFA truck. Many thanks fellas.
WILDLIFE BIODIVERSITY CORRIDOR LAUNCH
An enjoyable bus tour of the corridor sites were followed by refreshments and a jolly night. Thank you to the veteran of Landcare Rob Youl for launching this exciting project. It was a great celebration for all those who have contributed to the corridor. If you'd like more details about this project, go to: www.toolernvalelandcare.org.au/projects.
TRUST FOR NATURE
Chris LIndorff gave a great presentation on Trust for Nature's stewardship program, covenants, revolving fund, and inspired us to get some infrared cameras for wildlife monitoring. Chris showed us a great trust for nature short film available on youtube .. A wildlife film with a twist - John Clarke! If you'd like more details about Trust for Nature go to: www.trustfornature.org.au
NATIONAL TREE PLANTING DAY - HUGE SUCCESS
Thank you to the thirty strong volunteers (and a multitude of kiddies) who took the time to plant 750 trees and shrubs in the Biodiversity Wildlife Corridors. Thanks to all those who helped with breakfast and lunch - what a great day!
PARTNERSHIP GRANT FOR COMMUNITY VEGETABLE GARDEN
We have been awarded $5,000 from Melton Shire Council to work in partnership with St Dominics Primary School and Melton Environment Group to establish a community vegetable garden. Would you like to be involved? Volunteers are more than welcome to participate in the project any way you can. Please contact Colleen on 0418 599 766.
DINGOS DISCOVERY NIGHT
Lyn Watson form Toolern Vale's very own Dingo Discovery Centre brought some cute and cuddly pups to our group. We had many children at our special time of 6pm. Thanks for such a educative talk. If you'd like more details, go to: www.dingodiscovery.net
We have received a funding grant of $1,000 from Melton Shire Council towards publicity and promotions. Thanks to Sharyn and Colleen for applying for these funds. These will go towards the purchase of bookmarks and pens to highlight the local threatened and endangered species and the work of the group.