Friday, May 20, 2022


Land & environment

Trial tackles a burning issue

The first step in merging Noongar cultural burning practice with contemporary fire mitigation was taken last week with a trial burn along Wilson Inlet. A small area was selected along the Bibbulmun Track, adjoining Weedon Hill, for the demonstration trial in the big step towards more collaboration between traditional custodians and authorities in bushfire prevention.

WICC sets sights on net zero with biochar plan

Shaun Ossinger, Patricia Gill. A Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee project, Green waste towards net zero, will target the conversion of Denmark’s green waste into biochar ... Instead of burning the green waste at Denmark’s Waste Transfer Station or transporting it to Albany’s Hanrahan Road tip, WICC is seeking solutions that benefit farmers and the community.

Skywalk to go ahead

A decision on a controversial subject which has split the community was finally resolved when Narrandera Shire Council voted to proceed with the skywalk project during its meeting on Tuesday ... Narrandera Mayor Neville Kschenka was pleased a decision had been reached to give the project the green light and implied that Narrandera could be the catalyst for other councils to build their own skywalk.

MDBA starts dam releases

To demonstrate the magnitude of ignorance, look no further than the coffers of Australia’s largest irrigator, the taxpayer funded Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH). For the 2021-22 season, the CEWH has a total of 2,365,000 megalitres – 1,640,000 in new allocation and 725,000 in carryover from the year previous – 1,030,400 of that in the Murray system. As of March 31, 2022, the CEWH had used 492,200 megalitres in the Murray system for the 2021-22 season.

Review of prescribed burning and wildfire burning across Australia: John O’Donnell

John O'Donnell discusses the significance of a graph showing areas burnt by bushfire and by prescribed burning across Australia since 1960.

Geothermal: Is this the right renewable for our region?

West Australian energy company Geogen is seeking a geothermal energy extraction site in the area around Casino, Kyogle, Bonalbo and Mallanganee. Geogen chief executive Adam refused to let me publish his surname. He claimed geothermal was the “greenest energy source we can use”.

Investors snap up cheaper flood-hit homes in Woodburn

Houses in Woodburn are selling for 30% less since the floods. Flood damaged homes are on the market but most listings don’t show the asking price ... It is a sensitive time with some residents deciding to sell and leave the area. Some simply can’t face another flood.

It’s back to the future for Yamba floodplain planning

Geoff Helisma. Environmental watchdog, Valley Watch, first began predicting flooding of Yamba, as a result of developing West Yamba, in about 1995; on Sunday May 21, the group will present a more than 1,000-signature petition to the mayor, Ian Tiley (or his proxy), calling for a moratorium on further filling and development approvals on the Yamba floodplain. “Basically, the petition is demanding a well-designed master plan for West Yamba,” Valley Watch spokesperson Helen Tyas Tunggal said.

The koala, unlike science, is in absolutely no danger of extinction: a case study from NSW’s north coast: Vic Jurskis

Vic Jurskis discusses data from historical reports and field surveys and concludes that koalas are in no danger of extinction. ARR.News asked some further questions of Vic.

Koalas: How threatened? Threatened how?

The Australian Rural & Regional News webinar held on 21 April 2022 is now available for public viewing.

Councils vote to keep road open

Cook Shire Council briefed leaders on a move by Australia Zoo and Terri Irwin to seek the closure of the gazetted Bertiehaugh Road which traverses through part of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve ... The council representatives had a busy agenda in Cooktown. Mayor Peter Scott said the TCICA gatherings were a highlight on the calendar.

The destruction of the Marradong Timber Reserve 145/25 (MTR): Frank Batini

This timber reserve is located just west of the Boddington townsite , on the eastern fringe of the jarrah forest in Western Australia ... The infertile, lateritic soils that initially spared the MTR from clearing by farmers were its ultimate downfall ... An important question to ask is “How much bauxite mining is enough?”

The effects of biochar feed supplementation on GHG emissions and cattle liveweight gain: is it worthwhile?

Nicoli Barnes, UTas. It has been suggested that biochar improves animal health and liveweight gain. It has also been suggested that biochar reduces enteric methane and, by increasing carbon content in the manure, may improve soil carbon over time. Together these effects would theoretically reduce whole farm emissions. In an MLA-funded research programme, we are testing this theory using in a farm experiment near Deloraine, Tasmania.

Landmark partnership to enhance conservation across six million hectares of private land

Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) and North Australian Pastoral Company (NAPCo) are proud to announce a landmark partnership that will include an additional six million hectares to conservation land management in Australia. The historic new relationship will see the two organisations working together to influence positive, measurable outcomes for biodiversity across NAPCo’s six-million-hectare estate.

‘Day of reckoning’ is fast approaching: Speak Up

“It is impossible for this to be achieved by 2024. So, what happens then? Will we have huge volumes of water sitting in dams supposedly for ‘environmental use’ that cannot be released because it won’t fit down the system, but not enough water allocated to growing the food and fibre our nation needs? Under this scenario, regional communities will continue to suffer, and every Australian will be hit by increased cost of living" : Speak Up Chair, Shelley Scoullar.

Australian wineries and vineyards moving ahead in the transition to net zero emissions and to tackle climate change

Sustainable Winegrowing Australia has released its inaugural Impact Report detailing the wide range of sustainable practices being successfully implemented by vineyards and wineries across Australia. The report outlines the program’s first national data set and the significant steps being taken towards net zero emissions for the sector, with 100% of members measuring and reporting their scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions.

New feral free rewilding site for NSW: Griffin

Environment Minister James Griffin said the newest of the seven feral free areas is a 2,000-hectare forest in South East Forest National Park near Bombala, called ‘Nungatta’ ... "when the site is feral predator free, we’ll reintroduce native mammals that were once abundant in this habitat, such as the long-footed potoroo, eastern bettong, smoky mouse, and eastern quoll." ... ARR.News asked a few questions of the Minister and received answers from a departmental spokesperson.

New koala reserves to protect a Noah’s ark of threatened species: Griffin

Koalas, long-nosed potoroos and powerful owls are among more than 20 threatened species to benefit from three additions to the NSW national parks estate. Minister for Environment James Griffin said more than 2,000 hectares has been acquired in three locations – in Monaro, near Yamba, and north of Taree ... ARR.News asked some questions of the Minister and received a response from a departmental spokesperson.

Geophysical surveys to locate critical minerals across NSW: Toole

A new series of NSW Government funded geophysical surveys will take place in the state’s Central West, New England and Far West to gather detailed information that will help to uncover valuable critical minerals buried deep underground ... “Exploration programs today may lead to a critical minerals project in five to ten years that employs locals and plays a vital role in the manufacturing supply chain for products such as batteries, electric vehicles, and renewables" : Paul Toole.

WA Forestry Minister’s timber yield claims refuted: Forestry Australia

Forestry Australia’s WA Branch has refuted claims made by Minister for Forests Dave Kelly who suggested timber yields in WA’s forests are declining, that the state’s forests are no longer productive, and that the decision by the State Government to end native forest harvesting is based on “science”.

Secret translocation to help save tree species

A species of Gondwana era tree is being translocated for the first time, with 20 seedlings being planted across four secret sites in a NSW Government initiative to save the species. Minister for Environment James Griffin said the endangered Nightcap Oak tree is only found in one region and was severely affected by the 2019/2020 bushfires.

Renewed hope for critically endangered faunal emblem

Eighteen Helmeted Honeyeaters have been released into a special patch of forest within the Yarra Ranges National Park, which houses one of two wild populations of Victoria's faunal emblem. Only 250 Helmeted Honeyeaters currently exist in the wild.

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