The Benefits of Identifying, Managing and Protecting Biodiversity Values within Road Reserves and Private Land Workshop
Hunter Councils Inc. received funding from the Hunter Regional Landcare Network to design and host a community workshop for the communities of Martins Creek, Duns Creek, Glen Oak and Maitland Vale (communities around the junction of the Port Stephens, Dungog and Maitland Local Government Areas).
The Workshop was held on 18 June 2016 (9am to 1:30pm) and included both a site visit and presentations from local experts. Morning tea and a BBQ lunch were provided.
The workshop presented information on the following topics
- An overview of the unique diversity of ground dwelling and arboreal mammal species of the area
- The different habitat types that support species such as the Squirrel Glider, Koala and Brush- tailed Phascogales
- The importance of available food sources
- The importance of retaining habitat to ensure survival and persistence of endangered fauna in the landscape
- The importance of maintaining Koala Pathways
- Preserving farmed landscapes for people and biodiversity
- Overview of local environmental programs being undertaken by Councils, LLS and Hunter Councils
A number of presenters were sourced to provide attendees with access to local experts who have detailed knowledge of the local area and programs being undertaken.
Narawan Williams, a local fauna expert specialising in fauna surveys in the Hunter and Central Coast region for over 20 years. Narawan led the walk and presented on local fauna and endangered fauna of the Maitland, Dungog, and Port Stephen Council, areas
- Lynda Stevenson a member of a volunteer carers organisation called Australian Wildlife Needing Aid (FAWNA) and has worked with Koalas in the Dungog, Maitland and Port Stephens area for over 30 years. Lynda presented on the importance on Koala pathways during the site visit section of the workshop.
- Lorna Adlem, (Senior Local Land Services Officer, Hunter Local Land Services) facilitates multiple regional environmental management programs in the area. Lorna presented on preserving farmed landscapes for people and wildlife and provided an overview of African Olive weed control.
- Scott Meier, (Bushland and Rainforest Restoration and Consultancy), undertakes local on- ground conservation works at Clarence Town Crown Reserve and the Roadside project sites.
The workshop was heavily promoted throughout the three local government areas (see Attachment 3 to 5)) and attracted 20 attendees on the day (including presenters). An additional 4 people had
registered but did not attend, likely due to inclement weather caused by an East Coast Low. Hunter Councils and the presenters were exceptionally happy with the turn out, considering the workshop
went for over 4 hours, on a weekend, during poor weather.
Key outcomes for Hunter Regional
- 20 rural landowners attended the weekend workshop (Attachment 1 to 2)
- Increased awareness of local endangered fauna that are known to occur on private property in the Martins Creek, Duns Creek, Glen Oak and Maitland Vale area. Many of the
- participants were not familiar with some of the more cryptic species including; Brush-tailed Phascogales, Squirrel Gliders, Feather-tailed Gliders, Swift Parrots, Speckled Warblers and Grey-crowned Babblers (anecdotal evidence)
- The workshop provided an opportunity to register new Bushcare/Landcare volunteers, with one participant expressing interest in joining a local Landcare or Bushcare group in the Glen
- One participant offered to promote similar events through the Dungog Science Hub, as they felt the information would be well received by that audience
Additionally, and importantly, the workshop leveraged a 2-year Environmental Trust Rehabilitation and Restoration Project facilitated by Hunter Councils (titled “On-ground works to improve the condition and protection of 15 remnant Endangered Ecological Communities Roadside reserve sites”) which involved both community education and on-ground restoration activities. The use of fauna surveys and project outcomes at this community workshop ensured landowners understood the location of important sites managed by Councils, and that the fauna discussed at the workshop were actually found in the local area. The tailoring of the workshop to the local area made it much more personal for the attendees.
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