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Assisting Regeneration After Fire

Many landholders wanting to assist the recovery of bushfire affected areas are asking what they should do and what species they should be planting to speed up the recovery process. However, as Louise Brodie from the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators explains, in most cases, “the need for planting is likely to be rare in our fire adapted ecosystems, even after extreme fire. Instead, past experience shows that interventions to control weeds are often all that is needed to reinstate processes of regeneration by a diversity of native plants that then provide habitat for fauna”.

As Brodie says “Fires give us a rare opportunity, perhaps the unique positive of this tragedy, to facilitate the removal of entrenched weed which is hampering the regeneration of many plants. In the Bega Valley, Dry River in Quaama provides an example of this opportunity.

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Photo: Botanist Jackie Miles assessing regeneration at Dry River in Quaama

Fire Country by Victor Steffensen

“Delving deep into the Australian landscape and the environmental challenges we face, Fire Country is a powerful account from Indigenous land management expert Victor Steffensen on how the revival of cultural burning practices, and improved ‘reading’ of country, could help to restore our land."

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Good Neighbours Fencing Project

Fire affected land managers are reminded that support is still available to replace fences that share a border with public land.

The NSW Government has committed $209 million to help bushfire-affected landholders with the cost of rebuilding boundary fences adjoining public lands.

Private landholders who share a boundary with public land and were impacted by the Northern and Southern fires of late 2019 and early 2020 are eligible to receive up to $5,000 per kilometre to contribute to the replacement of damaged boundary fences.

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Sea-Eagle Nest Sightings

The White-bellied Sea-eagle is an iconic species in the Far South Coast of NSW, where extensive waterways provide ideal habitat. Unfortunately, very little information is known about the species in the area, with less than 10 nesting sites officially recorded in the region in 70 years (between Batemans Bay and Vic/NSW border). This is concerning because the White-bellied Sea-eagle has recently been listed as a Threatened species, with populations declining and under threat, being particularly vulnerable to breeding failure if disturbed at the nest.

Raptor expert and Merimbula resident Dr Rohan Bilney is commencing a study on the species, seeking community knowledge on the location of nest sites. The aim is to catalogue nesting locations and where possible monitor breeding success at some nests. This information is vital to help protect nests and establish important baseline information on the status and population of the White-bellied Sea-eagle in the Far South Coast. All records of nests will be submitted to the NSW BioNet Atlas.

If you know the location of a Sea-eagle nest or large stick nest 1-2m in size close to water, please contact Rohan Bilney on 0439 942 899 or rohan.bilney@gmail.com

Protect TSR’s from Illegal Firewood Collection

With the cooler weather hitting NSW, Local Land Services is reminding people that it is illegal to collect firewood from Travelling Stock Reserves (TSRs). Anyone removing timber or disturbing vegetation (alive or dead) from a TSR can be fined up to $5,500 under the Local Land Services Act 2013.

These rules help protect the integrity of the network of Travelling Stock Reserves which is recognised as an asset of state significance with agricultural, social, cultural and ecological values.

TSRs are an extremely important refuge for many rare and endangered native plants and fallen logs and standing dead wood can be part of their habitat. Decaying timber and leaf litter are also important in the process of nutrient recycling back into the soil.

Members of the public are asked to report any illegal activity on TSRs such as removing firewood, dumping rubbish or four wheel driving to Local Land Services on 1300 795 299, or to contact NSW Police on 131 444. Taking note of registration numbers, descriptions, locations and dates also provides valuable information that can assist in the prosecution of offenders.

While firewood collection is not permitted on TSRs, members of the public can apply for a permit to collect firewood from selected state forests. Contact 1300 655 687 for details or visit www.forestrycorporation.com.au for further details.


Photo: Stoney Creek TSR by S Brennan

Weed Focus – Stinking Roger

Stinking Roger has had a great season so far this year. It has clearly taken advantage of bare ground created by drought and fire, followed by the little bit of rain we’ve had since January. You’ll recognise this weed by its pungent ‘marigold’ smell.

Best controls are hand pulling before flowering aimed at reducing the seed bank left in the soil. This will require follow up every season.

If plants have already flowered and formed seed, cut and bag heads for burning or solarising in plastic to kill the seed.

If the areas are too big to hand pull, an application of a broadleaf selective herbicide can be used. Visit your local agricultural supplier for advice.

As always, encouraging pasture growth to minimise bare ground will help reduce the incidence of common weeds like this.

For more information and photos visit this feature on the Atlas of Life.

Thanks to Jamie Dixon-Keay from BVSC for control information.
Photo: Stinking Roger, Tagetes minuta by J Miles & M Campbell

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FSCCMN · 22 High St · Bega, NSW 2550 · Australia

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