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Natural Resources Northern and Yorke

30 November 2018


In this issue

Message from the Presiding Member
Clare Regional Hub receiving a new roof
Khaki weed: A prickly pest
Yorke district summer rabbit control
Plover chicks Point Turton's newest residents
Now's the time to get on top of silverleaf nightshade
Kids get down with marine life at KIDtober wrap up
Park of the Month January 2019 - Innes National Park
Peter Westblade Scholarship
Norman Wettenhall Foundation: Small Environmental Grant Scheme
Yakka brings you NRM news and stories from across Northern and Yorke region


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Message from the Presiding Member

The South Australian Government have committed to a reform process for NRM which will culminate in the development of new Landscapes legislation to replace the current NRM Act. I have been heavily involved in considering the new legislation to ensure it will be ‘fit for purpose’ and has the potential to achieve the reforms the Government requires. Certainly, there are elements of the current NRM legislation that have worked well and it’s important that these are recognised. An overriding principle is that the new Landscapes Act meets the requirements of all stakeholders including both rural and urban people as well as delivering the reforms of the Government. I am heartened that our new draft Regional Plan for Northern and Yorke Region is closely aligned with the new legislation, including our Boards existing emphasis on a ‘back to basics’ approach, particularly around pest plant and animal control. 

As you are aware, there has been extensive community consultation about reforming NRM and a comprehensive consultation report has recently been presented to Environment and Water Minister David Speirs. The report will help the Government make well informed and carefully considered decisions when crafting the Landscapes Act. 

As mentioned above, the Northern and Yorke NRM Board and staff are concentrating on pests, whether they are wild dogs, foxes, deer or invasive weeds. A number of compliance letters have been sent to landholders regarding weed control.

I have been appointed to the Dry Conditions Working Group representing Natural Resource Management across the state. PIRSA are the lead agency in tackling this issue. Both Commonwealth and State Governments are very aware of the difficult year that rural South Australia is experiencing and there are plans being developed with communities to support people affected. Please note that our staff are available to assist where we can. 

We have an extended dry period ahead of us before ‘normal’ rainfall is due. The Bureau of Meteorology are forecasting a hot, dry summer, so now is the time to be proactive and to consider your Total Grazing management strategies. The potential for soil loss is large and will take many years to rebuild. 

I have asked that Department for Environment and Water staff continue their good work in issuing kangaroo destruction permits as quickly as possible. Landholders should remember to send in their returns to ensure that the full extent of the kangaroo problem can be monitored. Landholders also need to supplement kangaroo control with other measures such as mustering feral goats, controlling rabbits and considering the benefits of containment feeding of stock. We are in for a long haul with the current dry conditions that will need a concerted approach from our community.

Eric Sommerville, Presiding Member, Northern and Yorke Natural Resources Management Board

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Clare Regional Hub receiving a new roof

Construction of a new roof on the Clare Regional Hub at 155 Main North Road has recently commenced.

The prominent Clare building has formerly been home to the Clare Primary School and the Clare TAFE SA campus.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Regional Director Trevor Naismith said the building held great heritage significance to the local community and it was pleasing to help preserve and restore the site to ensure its structural integrity for future generations.

“A lot of people across the district have fond memories of the site, particularly as Clare Primary School was located here between 8 August 1879 and 2 May 1971,” Mr Naismith said.

“We are striving to ensure that the Clare Regional Hub maintains its community roots, with more than 50 people from complementary government and non-government organisations currently working from the site.”

To read more about the restoration works that have been undertaken at the site, click here.

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Khaki weed: A prickly pest

Landholders and residents of the Northern and Yorke region are urged to be on the lookout for khaki weed (Alternanthera pungens), a declared plant originally from South America.

A prostrate, summer growing herb, the weed produces a prickly, straw-coloured burr approximately one centimetre long that can cause injury to stock and degrade wool quality.

Isolated infestations of khaki weed have been detected throughout the Northern and Yorke region, however the plant prefers light soils, warm temperatures and plenty of water.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Landscape Ranger Di Makotter said areas with high traffic are particularly at risk.

"Caravan parks, picnic areas and reserves can be hotspots for khaki weed, where there is often bare soil, frequent watering and lots of foot traffic," Ms Makotter said.

"Another location where it can quickly establish is along roadsides, where runoff can boost soil moisture levels. The seeds can easily be dispersed over long distances when burrs attach themselves to clothing, animals or machinery."

For more information about how you can help prevent the spread of khaki weed, click here.

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Yorke district summer rabbit control

Landholders and community groups are being encouraged to start planning their summer rabbit control, as the weather begins to heat up and green feed dries out.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Landscapes Ranger Janet Moore said while the damage rabbits cause is most visible in spring when the population is at its peak, summer is when rabbits are at their most vulnerable.

"Baiting rabbits during the summer months presents the best opportunity to reduce breeding stock for the next season because their is little else for rabbits to eat, which increases the likelihood of high bait uptake," Ms Moore said.

"Despite the lack of alternative feed for rabbits, anyone undertaking rabbit baiting should prime the rabbits to eat the bait by providing at least three bait free feeds, to avoid the risk of poor bait uptake, and bait shy rabbits on your property.

"While baiting is a highly effective method to reduce rabbit numbers, to really control the population, other control methods, such as warren ripping, are necessary."

"An integrated rabbit control program should focus on the destruction and removal of warren systems and shelter, as this significantly impacts the ability of rabbits to breed and rebound; simply laying bait will not work in isolation."

To learn more about the summer rabbit control program on Yorke Peninsula, click here.

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Image credit: Glenn Ehmke

Plover chicks Point Turton's newest residents

With help from Friends of Hooded Plover volunteers, two pairs of threatened hooded plovers hatched four tiny chicks at Point Turton last week.

After four weeks of around-the-clock care and attention, the first little chick hatched on Monday, with three more hatching Saturday, and all are now learning to feed at the water’s edge under the constant watchful eye of their parents.

Breeding pairs of hooded plovers take shifts incubating their eggs, laid directly on the sand above the high tide line, while the partner bird stays nearby on the lookout for approaching threats, such as off-leash dogs, vehicles and other birds.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Landscapes Ranger Janet Moore said volunteers first spotted a nest by the boat ramp, and days later another was spotted west of the swimming centre in mid-October. They erected temporary signs alerting beach-goers to the birds’ presence.

“Thanks to the vigilance of volunteers, and the willingness of the community to give the birds the space they need to successfully incubate their eggs, we have our first recorded chicks on Yorke Peninsula for this breeding season,” she said.

For more information about how you can play a part in protecting hooded plovers, click here.

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Now's the time to get on top of silverleaf nightshade

Landholders in the Northern and Yorke region have been urged to take steps to look for and control the pest plant silverleaf nightshade before deep roots form.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Landscape Ranger Cameron Watson said now was the time to control the weed to help reduce its impact on local agricultural productivity.

“Silverleaf nightshade can have severe impacts across a broad range of land uses. The transmission from one property to another occurs mainly through seed movement by stock, soil and fodder; while within a property, cultivation of root fragments and their subsequent growth is the main method of spread,” Mr Watson said.

Silverleaf nightshade is a summer-growing, deep-rooted perennial plant that reproduces from seeds and tubers which emerge, germinate and rapidly grow after late spring and summer rains. Once established, the plant is very hard to remove.

Mr Watson said it was important to keep silverleaf nightshade off clean properties and to recognise and destroy all plants before they become established.

For more information about how you can help control silverleaf nightshade, click here.

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Kids get down with marine life at KIDtober wrap up

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke staff recently attended the KIDtober closing event, held at Woodward Park in Port Pirie, with Coral the Caravan in tow.

Staff were on hand to share information about marine life with the children and parents who visited the stand.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Ranger Tayla Westley said that a wide range of activities not only provided entertainment for the children, but inspired them to understand more about the marine environment.

“The kids used virtual reality goggles to see clips of swimming with cuttlefish and sea lions, Coral the Caravan showcased the marine sanctuary zones, pictures of marine animals were available for colouring in and they could try their hand at making an origami crab or whale,” Ms Westley said.

“The children also received a beach comber’s guide to take home so they can continue their learnings when they visit the beach and identify what creatures they are seeing and finding along the coastline.”

Ms Westley said that events such as KIDtober provided Natural Resources Northern and Yorke staff an opportunity to educate children from an early age about the importance of caring for our marine ecosystems and sanctuary zones.

“It is encouraging to see young people showing an interest in exploring and experiencing everything the marine sanctuary zones have to offer,” Ms Westley said.

“These zones represent just 6 per cent of the state waters and include critically important breeding and nursery areas for some of our best-loved marine life.”

For information about the state’s marine park sanctuary and restricted access zones and what fishing restrictions apply within these zones, download the SA Recreational Fishing Guide.

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Park of the Month January 2019 - Innes National Park

Innes National Park is Park of the Month in Januray 2019. Stay tuned for more details about the ranger guided and self-guided activities that will be on offer throughout the month. Park of the Month provides an opportunity for children and families to explore the environment and discover why it’s so important to protect it.

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Peter Westblade Scholarship

The Peter Westblade Scholarship honors the late Peter Westblade, a true visionary passionate about breeding profitable sheep and a strong supporter of young people interested in agriculture.

The scholarship exists to promote the practical skills associated with the sheep and wool industry and aims to deliver hands on experience to young people aspiring for a career in this dynamic industry.

The Peter Westblade Scholarship provides:

  • Mentoring from industry innovators and leaders
  • Opportunities to be involved in the sheep and wool industries largest commercial genetic trial
  • Opportunities to be involved with Sheep CRC activities and initiatives
  • Practical training appropriate to the skill set required in the sheep and wool industry
  • An opportunity to develop wider networks of key contact in the sheep and wool industry
  • Travel opportunities; Resource books
  • Promotion, utilisation and adoption of new technologies

The Peter Westblade Scholarship aims to identify, train and develop the next generation of leaders amongst young men and women in the Australian sheep industry. The scholarship is looking for young people who meet the following criteria.

  • Aged 18 to 30;
  • Have a passion for the sheep and wool industry;
  • Is someone who wants to make a difference (no matter how small);
  • Is someone who sees their future in the sheep and wool industry

Applications close at 5pm, Friday 21 December 2018. For more information, click here.

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Norman Wettenhall Foundation: Small Environmental Grant Scheme

The objectives of the Small Environmental Grant Scheme are to support biodiversity conservation projects in Australia that are concerned with one or more of the following:

  • monitoring and recording data
  • community education
  • community capacity building (training)
  • research and science

The grants provide support for people undertaking projects that will make a positive difference to the natural living environment, in land, sea or air, rural or urban.

Grants are available for up to $10,000. The current funding round is now open - for more information, click here.

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What's on in Northern & Yorke?

Keep up to date about upcoming events, workshops, field days and volunteering opportunities by visiting Get Involved on the Northern and Yorke website and 'Liking' the Northern and Yorke Facebook page. 

To submit your upcoming community, volunteering, farmer group or other NRM events or to share a good news story, please send me an email at jessica.henderson@sa.gov.au.

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