Green Army graduates


The May intake of the Green Army team has graduated after completing six months of environmental conservation work on the Surf Coast.

The Federal Government funded Green Army initiative supports the hands-on environmental training and development of youths aged between 17 and 24. Read more

Friends support sea research


Friends of Point Addis (FoPA) volunteers are working with Parks Victoria to monitor the health of marine national parks as part of a state-wide coastal data collection project.

The Sea Search program is a Parks Victoria initiative which sees local volunteer groups conduct research into marine wildlife populations and environmental processes in marine protected areas.

Counting the number of algae and invertebrate species, particularly sea snails, has been FoPA’s main focus since becoming involved in the program.

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Parks Victoria’s Sea Search program is an initiative which sees local volunteer groups conduct research into marine wildlife populations and environmental processes in marine protected areas. Photo: Luka-Lesosky Hay

Parks Victoria Ranger Peter Hayes hopes the data collected will be used to support efforts to tackle environmental threats and to encourage others to take responsibility for their coastline.

“The information we gather will help us to identify the number of different species, especially algae and invertebrates, in the area and to monitor their health,” he said.

Pest species are also identified, with information collected used to assist in the prevention of outbreaks and reduction of threats.

“We are also tracking a number of invasive species with particular focus on the Northern Pacific sea star and Japanese Kelp,” said Mr. Hayes.

FoPA President Bronwyn Spark said the ongoing program will provide reliable data about the number of species local to Point Addis and how to protect them.

“The data we collect will tell us what is living in our backyard and will be reported back to the community.

“The project has provided FoPA with more information than ever before about the variety of species in the area,” she said.

“The program’s ongoing nature results in a good snapshot of the health of the area and helps us to identify if a trend is seasonal or long term,” said Mr. Hayes.

Parks Victoria provides an experienced ranger and equipment to support volunteers as they conduct the comprehensive research.

“Sea Search is about getting people in the marine sanctuaries, discovering what is there, teaching people to identify the different species and helping educate others,” Mr Hayes said.

More information on the program is available at Parks Victoria.

To learn more about the Friends of Point Addis and other environmental volunteer groups operating across our region, visit www.gorcc.com.au.

Have you thought of volunteering? Visit our website for more information.

Sensors to stop stealthy predators


Data collected by Parks Victoria using infrared camera trapping is helping keep track of  threatened species and monitor the control of predators like cats and foxes. It sounds very technical but according to a recent Surf Coast Times article it’s easy, cheap and causes minimal disturbance to native wildlife.

How does infrared camera trapping work?

Digital cameras are set up at various montitoring sites and help researchers to determine the effectiveness of their current fox and cat control methods.  The cameras not only collect images of predators but have taken some great pictures of rarely seen native wildlife.

The monitoring is helping to collect data on mammals and birds where is the past information was based on estimates and guess work.

A fox is caught in the act as it passes an infrared motion sensor site. Photo courtesy of Parks Victoria

Where are the cameras located?

Monitoring has taken place over 4 years in more than 40 sites in the Anglesea Heath and the Great Otway National Park.

The results so far…

The data collected has shown small mammal numbers are increasing and rare animals like the Bandicoot are being spotted  more frequently.

The research has also found rainfall is a key factor in wildlife population changes. When there is better rainfall in a season more animals were caught on film. This is because  better plant growth means more insects for the wildlife to feed on which then results in a  better breeding season with more babies.

Lots of small mammals have been spotted by the cameras. Photo courtesy of Parks Victoria.

Have the cameras caught anything interesting?

Two male Scarlet Robins were caught having a territorial dispute.

Also spotted were the White Footed Dunnart, Southern Brown Bandicoots, a long-nosed Bandicoot, Button Quail, Owlet NightJars, Echidna, Possum and Currawong.

To read the full article click here.

More information about Parks Victoria and this project is available at www.parks.vic.gov.au or by calling 131 963.

Cats and foxes are highly prevalent on the Surf Coast to learn more about these predators check out these links.

Who let the cats out? A blog about cat curfews on the Surf Coast.

Predatory pests targeted in Juc  a blog about fox trapping in Jan Juc.

Click here  to learn about more ways you can help to protect native wildlife.

New network to protect Otways


Community conservation groups and natural resource management agencies are uniting in a mission to protect and enhance biodiversity in the Otways.

The Otway Community Conservation Network (OCCN) aims to reduce the threat of weed species on native bush in the Otways, and raise awareness of the impacts of weeds in the community.

The OCCN is a joint initiative by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Parks Victoria and the OCCN steering committee includes representatives from a range of natural resource management agencies.

The Otway Community Conservation Network Steering Committee

DSE Forest Officer Craig Clifford says DSE and Parks Victoria welcome the establishment of the OCCN, which is funded by the Australian Government Caring for our Country Program.

“By supporting community conservation groups, increasing coastal community awareness and acting as a link between communities and agencies, the network will play a key role in protecting the rich biodiversity in the Otways,” he said.

Project facilitator Luke Hynes says need was identified for an integrated approach.

“Many groups were already working on controlling these two species in the area, however a lack of coordination was impeding the process,” he said.

Mr Hynes will be working with community groups and agencies to tackle biodiversity issues in the region a concentrated, collaborative effort.

“The initial focus is to remove and control Boneseed and Bridal Creeper – two weeds of natural significance,” he said.

Mr Hynes says this year’s work will include the creation of a comprehensive map of all the Boneseed and Bridal Creeper infestations in the Otways.

“It is anticipated this map will be vital in identifying key infestation areas and where best to direct our efforts,h” he said.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale works regularly with community conservation groups to control weeds and is a representative on the OCCN steering committee.

“GORCC will be assisting to guide the network in respect to weed infestations on GORCC managed land and assisting to ensure an effective approach,” she said.

The OCCN is looking for people who want to be involved in native bush restoration, including landholders with Boneseed and Bridal Creeper problems, community members passionate to take action or corporate organisations that want to volunteer their time.

For more information and to see how your group or organisation can benefit please contact Luke Hynes 0406 113 438 or luke@beaconecological.com.au.

This story was written by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee and published in the Surf Coast Time’s Going Green Column.

Who does what where?


The forum provided an opportunity for coastal volunteers to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of the various land managers and government agencies involved in caring for the coast.

COAST ACTION/COASTCARE

Coast Action/Coastcare supports community volunteer groups involved in caring for Victoria’s coast.

This role encompasses:

  • coordinating volunteers for coastal projects
  • funding projects through the Coastcare Victoria Community Grants program
  • providing boundaries for volunteers
  • facilitating volunteer achievements, and
  • communicating and sharing ideas to provide connections between the different volunteer groups, projects and stakeholders.

The agency fulfils an important public education role on several levels:

  • linking coastal management policy to communities
  • helping to find a role for the public in coastal management
  • communicating current coastal-related issues, and
  • educating the broader community (e.g. children, schools, visitors, businesses) about caring for the coast.

Coast Action/Coastcare also contributes to community capacity building by providing various education and training programs for volunteers and the general public. These include occupational health and safety, leadership, first aid, community forums, field days, workshops and the annual Summer by the Sea summer holiday program.

Provided by Matt Fox, State Coordinator, Coast Action/Coastcare

GREAT OCEAN ROAD COAST COMMITTEE

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee manages 37 kilometres of Crown land foreshore reserves along the Great Ocean Road between Point Impossible (east of Torquay) and Cumberland River (west of Lorne).

Its responsibilities as a land manager are focused on looking after these reserves by:

  • protecting the sensitive coastal environment through weed eradication programs and other activities
  • building and maintaining an A to Z of coastal facilities, assets and infrastructure – from artwork to zebra (pedestrian) crossings
  • controlling commercial and other activities on the reserves through the issuing of leases, licences and permits, and
  • contributing to the area’s overall amenity in various ways, such as removing rubbish from beaches and foreshore areas.

The committee also operates caravan parks in Torquay and Lorne, and manages the leases for two other privately operated parks at Anglesea and Cumberland River.

The income generated by the parks funds the committee’s coastal management work with additional income, mainly from State and Federal Government grants, supporting the delivery of various capital works and improvement projects.

Much of the committee’s work is undertaken in partnership with other coastal land managers, State Government and local community volunteer groups who contribute much valuable time and effort to caring for the coast.

Provided by Richard Davies, Chief Executive Officer, Great Ocean Road Coast Committee

PARKS VICTORIA

Parks Victoria is responsible for managing a wide variety of parks in Victoria as well as the recreational management of Port Phillip Bay, Western Port and the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers

Specifically, the estate includes:

  • 45 national parks
  • 13 marine national parks
  • 11 marine sanctuaries
  • 3 wilderness parks
  • 25 state parks
  • 30 metropolitan parks
  • 60 other parks (including regional and reservoir parks)
  • more than 2,000 natural features reserves and conservation reserves
  • 10,412 formally registered Aboriginal cultural heritage sites, and
  • more than 2,500 non-Indigenous historic places.

These assets total more than four million hectares (about 17 per cent of Victoria) – total area of parks and reserves.

As land manager, Parks Victoria’s responsibilities include:

  • preservation of natural eco-systems
  • Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural heritage protection
  • access and visitor facilities
  • fire management, and
  • education and interpretation.

Funded by the State Government, the organisation comprises locally-based rangers, as well as planners, environmentalists, scientists and managers working at both state and local levels,

Provided by Frank Gleeson, Ranger in Charge – East Otways, Parks Victoria