Pitch in and help clean up the wetlands

Sunday 5 March is Clean Up Australia Day. Now in it’s 27th year, this simple idea has become the nation’s largest community-based environmental event.

The Friends of Putta Bucca Wetlands are inviting members of the community to help them clean up, fix up and conserve the environment of the Putta Bucca Wetlands.

The public reserve is managed by Mid-Western Regional Council and it’s main attraction is a large disused gravel quarry containing freshwater that seeps in through alluvial aquifers from the Cudgegong River. The quarry now function as as an oxbow lake (billabong) wetland supporting a highly biodiverse wetland ecosystem.

The fluctuating water level, periodic mudflats and abundance of snags and water plants contribute the vital habitat for a high diversity of waterbirds, frogs, fish, and turtles. A number of mammals also inhabit the wetland, including the platypus.

The wetland is also an important breeding site for many birds such as the rainbow bee-eater. Over 150 bird species have been documented at the site.

Rubbish is not only unsightly but can also harm the birds and animals that make the wetland their home.

Animals can become trapped or tangled in bottles, cans, plastic bags and other packaging. This can result in injury or even cause them to drown. Ingesting plastic can also have devastating effects.

Rubbish can also harm or kill wildlife indirectly, chemicals leaching form rubbish can impact on water quality or introduce toxic compounds into the environment.

Why not come along and do your bit to conserve the biodiversity in this little piece of wilderness right in Mudgee’s backyard?

The Clean Up Australia Day event at the Putta Bucca Wetland, Putta Bucca Rd, will be held on Sunday 5 March. We will meet in the car park at 9am and finish around noon.

Fully covered shoes or boots are essential. Please also bring gloves, hat and drinking water. Children are welcome but must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

For more information contact John McCrea jsmccrea@hwy.com.au.

Mobile phone App to map wild dogs

Wild dogs are not only a threat to native wildlife but also generate significant losses for primary producers; direct impacts such as killing and maiming stock, as well as the time and resources invested into control strategies, affect operational costs.

Landholders have a new tool available for use in their wild dog control toolkit, they can now access WildDogScan with their mobile phones to record wild dog data while in the field.

The new, easy to use website and Phone App (free for Apple and Android devices) was designed by landholders and enables iPhone, Android and iPad users to record sightings using their mobile phone. It also allows users to examine wild dog data throughout their local area.
Watershed Landcare spoke to FeralScan Project Coordinator, Peter West, to find out how landholders can utilise the new resource to aid in wild dog management.

“We are trying to encourage people to document wild dog activity in their local area and over time see a regional picture emerge in regards to wild dog movement, behaviour and timing of problems.” said Mr West.

“Wild dog research suggests that there are patterns in activity and we are hoping that providing farmers with a tool to easily record wild dog activity will help them to build a picture of wild dog activity for their entire region, and that this helps all landholders in a region to improve wild dog management by reducing costs and increasing benefits.” he continued.

The WildDogScan Mobile Mapping Facility allows landholders to:

  • record wild dog sightings, their damage and control activities,
  • use the data from their local area to create and print a map,
  • identify the priority areas for control on their property and local area,
  • link with neighbours and local groups and coordinate resources,
  • monitor the effects of control programs and improve their effectiveness,
  • review the map to see changes over time,
  • inform their community about wild dog problems.

“An added benefit is that it will help landholders and biosecurity staff connect. Key Local Land Services biosecurity staff can be notified of wild dog activity as it is recorded to keep everyone in the picture about current wild dog problems.” said Mr West.

Visit www.feralscan.org.au with your mobile phone or download the free FeralScan App to get full use out of the WildDogScan mapping service.
Landholders who would like more information about WildDogScan can contact Peter West on 6391 3887 or by email peter.west@dpi.nsw.gov.au, or contact the NSW Local Land Services.

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Want to improve the health of your soils?

Healthy soils are the foundation for healthy pastures and, in turn, healthy livestock. But how can you improve the health of your soils?

Landholders in our region will have the opportunity to explore soil health through a series of workshops and hands-on projects.

As part of the ‘Digging Deeper into Watershed Soils’ project, Watershed Landcare are looking for 3 sites in our region to host workshops and conduct on-ground works on their properties focusing on soil health.

The project, which is made possible through funding from Landcare Australia and the Jaramas Foundation, aims to improve landholders knowledge of aspects that influence their soil; including soil chemistry, biology, hydrology, botany as well as local knowledge.

A series of workshops will be held across our region linking with the on-ground activity sites. The workshops will explore soil health further with a focus on:

  • soil health issues within our region;
  • soil biology, soil water and soil acidity;
  • adapting management decisions as a result of understanding the landscape; and
  • improving soil health.

The first workshop in the series, focusing on pasture establishment and management, will feature Robert Freebairn and will be held later this month.

The remaining workshops will be tailored to the individual project sites, giving the participating landholders an opportunity to work with the experts engaged to discuss their proposed on-ground works, determine the best management options and address the issues at the project site.

Participating landholders will also receive a free soil test.

Watershed Landcare is seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from interested landholders to host workshops on their property and receive funding to assist with on-ground works to improve soil health on the land they manage.

On-ground works eligible for funding include erosion control work, works to improve hydrology, compost or compost tea applications, pasture cropping, increasing nitrogen-fixing plant composition of pasture or any other innovative and creative ideas that meet the project objectives.

Individual landholders will be able to apply for up to $750 in funding and will be required to provide a 25% in-kind contribution (labour or materials) to the project.

For further information contact our Coordinator, Claudia Wythes, during business hours on 0412 011 064 or email: claudia.wythes@watershedlandcare.com.au.

This project is supported by Watershed Landcare through funding from Landcare Australia and the Jaramas Foundation and is part of the NSW Government’s Local Landcare Coordinators Initiative, supported through the partnership of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW.

Have you got all the dirt on soil?

Water is unlikely to be the limiting factor for growth this spring. But have you thought about what’s going on in your soil to get the most out of all the rain we’ve had?

Watershed Landcare are launching a project focusing on soil health as the building block of a landscape system for both production and biodiversity.

The ‘Digging Deeper into Watershed Soils’ project will provide landholders the opportunity to increase their knowledge of the aspects that influence their soil.

The project which is funded by Landcare Australia and the Jaramas Foundation will involve a series of capacity building workshops as well as an on-ground works component.

The workshops will explore topics such as soil chemistry, soil biology, landscape function, the role our soils play, understanding results of soil tests and how management decisions may be adapted depending on the results.

Assessing soil biology health in a laboratory, has proved hard to measure in a meaningful way for farmers. Instead the workshops will demonstrate practical soil testing and monitoring skills for assessing soil biology health in the paddock.

Watershed Landcare will be looking for 3 sites in our region to host the workshops.

Landholders will have the opportunity to work with the experts engaged for the workshops to determine management options and discuss any issues they may have on their properties.

Have you got a soil health topic you would like to explore further, would like to host a workshop or have an idea for a project to improve soil health on your patch?

Contact Caludia Wythes, Watershed Landcare Co-ordinator, for more information on 0412 011 064 or claudia.wythes@watertshedlandcare.com.au.