Your monthly update on programs, projects, seasonal advice and more in the Western region
Funding support available to install fish-friendly diversion screens
Landholders in a targeted area of the Western region have a fantastic opportunity to both help save native fish populations and improve the quality of water delivered to their property through the 'Fish-friendly Screens for Efficient Use of Water' project.
This project provides funding support to landholders for the installation of a fish-friendly diversion screen on their pump intakes, helping businesses save water, time, and money, while also contributing to the health of the river system.
The screens don't slow the delivery rate and along with native fish, larvae and eggs, the screens also stop any floating weeds or debris entering the pump, minimising wear and tear and reducing the amount of time required for pump shutdowns to clean secondary filters.
This project follows a successful pilot in 2020 where Western LLS worked with Porker Citrus, with the findings used in the planning for this project. This project is supported by Western LLS, through funding from the NSW Government.
Got a feral pig problem? Meat baiting could be your solution
Landholders in the Western region wanting to control feral pigs are being encouraged to consider meat baiting, with those that participated in the recent control program for wild dogs, or who have undertaken their own control program for wild dogs or foxes in the past six months, eligible to obtain pig strength meat baits.
With our biosecurity officers receiving increased reports of feral pig numbers and activity in recent months due to favourable seasonal conditions, landholders are reminded that pig strength meat baits are available, and a great tool for control.
The use of pig strength meat baits is only available to landholders in the Western LLS region and comes following a research trial carried out by Western LLS in Broken Hill in 2015 and Hungerford in 2017 and 2018.
Following the trials, a permit was issued by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to use 500-gram meat bait with 2.4 ml of sodium fluoroacetate (commonly known as 1080). The permit was granted on 1 April 2019 and expires on 30 April 2024, and comes with strict conditions for use.
For more info about pig strength meat baits, contact your local biosecurity officer on 1300 795 299 or via the LLS website.
First reports of plague locusts received, landholders encouraged to be vigilant
At the start of September our biosecurity officers received the first reports of Australian plague locust (Chortoicetes terminifera) hatchings on a property around 100 km north of White Cliffs.
As many landholders would know, plague locusts are a damaging, recurrent insect pest of pastures and crops throughout Australia, that mostly occurs throughout central and western parts of NSW.
Landholders play a critical role in reporting sightings by continually monitoring the situation on their properties. Landholders that suspect they have plague locusts on their property should report immediately to their local biosecurity officer on 1300 795 299 or via an online enquiry form on the LLS website.
Adults of the Australian plague locust can be readily distinguished from other species by the large dark spot on the tip of the hindwings and distinctive scarlet hindleg shanks. Adult body colour is variable and can be grey, brown or green. Adult males measure 25-30 mm long while females are 30-42 mm long.
Act early to control mice before harvest and minimise associated impacts
As we move into spring, we recommend growers are regularly walking through their paddocks and using chew cards to keep an eye on mouse numbers, so baiting with zinc phosphide can start as soon as its needed.
Controlling mouse numbers in early spring will help reduce the number of mice when breeding generally starts in September. If you're baiting for mice with zinc phosphide, as recommended by the CSIRO, you are advised:
Not to bait ahead of a significant rain event. Ideally, bait should be applied where there is at least three to four dry days forecast.
To put mouse bait out before other pest/nutrient treatments. This gives mice the chance to encounter zinc phosphide before they discover any other new substances in a paddock and reduces the likelihood of a sub-lethal dose being consumed and therefore bait aversion.
To not mix mouse bait with snail/lug bait and do not apply mouse bait with a surface application of urea. Zinc phosphide can be scraped off the surface of the treated grain when agitated with other substances.
Baiting on the ground is more likely to be taken before mice climb plants to eat developing seed heads.
Coordinate baiting strategies with your neighbours for area-wide management and highest impact.
Landholders are also encouraged to visit the RAA website and Service NSW website to see if they qualify for the zinc phosphide rebate as well as the household and small business rebate. Image: NSW DPI.
NSW Wild Dog Fence Extension project update
The NSW Wild Dog Fence Extension project is continuing to work through the assessments for biodiversity and Aboriginal cultural heritage, as well as the approvals pathway, with COVID-19 restrictions in NSW and other states continuing to cause serious challenges.
Recently, the project team have undertaken a substantial amount of work focused on the NSW and Queensland alignment. The project is pursuing a phased approach to approvals and construction along the NSW and Queensland alignment, and have been engaging with all relevant authorities and stakeholders in NSW and across the border to carry out this work. This work is continuing with further updates to be available in due course.
Work is continuing on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the NSW and South Australian alignment. The EIS will be lodged with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and the Environment and put on public exhibition for further comment. We will keep you well informed of how this continues to progress.
While COVID-19 and other issues are impacting on the next phase of construction commencing, the project team is working through the approvals process as efficiently as possible. For further information on the project:
Landholders would have by now received an email from Western LLS with the aerial baiting consent form for the upcoming spring program. If you were expecting one and haven't received it, please get in touch with your local biosecurity officer. Consent forms are due to be returned by Monday 13 September.
Contactless baits now available
Landholders in the Western region and throughout NSW can continue carrying out pest management work with contactless bait collection now available. Through this contactless service, landholders can simply arrange a time with their local biosecurity officer, drive up to a collection point, and their baits will be ready to collect on arrival.
Complete your Vertebrate Pesticide Induction Training (VPIT) certificate online
Landholders are reminded they still need an up-to-date Vertebrate Pesticide Induction Training (VPIT) certification to collect baits through the new service. Before booking an appointment, please check to make sure your VPIT certification is still valid.
COVID-19 restrictions to potentially impact on collaring of wild dogs
The Western Tracks project team and local landholders had put aside September and October to increase their trapping and monitoring efforts in the hope of collaring close to 30 wild dogs in the designated project area.
Despite the planning and work to date, COVID-19 restrictions may limit the work that can be undertaken. The project team is continuing to consider what, if any, work can be done at present, and what measures would potentially be required to ensure the safety of landholders, the community and staff involved.
The project team will communicate the next steps once they've been finalised. To date, seven wild dogs have been collared and of the original seven, two are still alive and continuing to collect data.
Meanwhile, of the 30 feral pigs that were collared in the second half of 2020 as part of the project, 27 are still roaming the landscape, with some of the initial data now able to be provided to landholders and stakeholders.
On 12 November 2020, a male feral pig was trapped at location A and given tag #67. On 23 August 2021, feral pig #67 was trapped at location B, which was 20 km from location A as the crow flies.
Plans are progressing for the three collars that have been removed from deceased pigs to be redeployed back onto another three feral pigs as the collars still have approximately another 12 months of battery life.
If you trap or shoot a feral pig and find it has an ear tag, simply record the tag number and GPS location of the site and give your local biosecurity officer a call and they can tell you where it was first tagged.
A big thanks to the Tilpa pest management group who allowed us to come and film their ground baiting day for wild dogs in May earlier this year. If you are planning to take part in our spring baiting program for the control of wild dogs, please contact your local biosecurity officer today.
Contact via: 1300 795 299 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Surveys lead to over 500 new Aboriginal Cultural Heritage sites recorded
Western LLS and Traditional Knowledge Owners are carrying out critical work to protect Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (ACH) sites in the Willandra Lakes Region, prior to any control works to mitigate the impacts of wild rabbits.
This work, which is a part of Western LLS' Sustaining Willandra — Championing the World Heritage Values project, has enabled Traditional Owners to walk on Country recording and protecting sites of Aboriginal cultural heritage significance. Site types so far recorded include different types of hearths, edge-ground axes, stone quarries, scarred trees and artefact scatters.
With more than 500 new ACH sites recorded across the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage area, this project is helping to reinforce why this area has been world heritage listed for its significant cultural values — the Willandra Lakes Region demonstrates more than 60,000 years of continuous land use and management.
The identification of these new sites and the protection of previously recorded sites continues to reinforce the deep history of the region and the sophistication and skill of the original land managers.
Since the project started in 2018, over 5,000 rabbit warrens across an area of 20,000 hectares have been treated, representing an 85 per cent reduction of rabbit warrens in those areas.
In conjunction with pest animal control, this has reduced rabbit numbers by 70 per cent, significantly improving the protection and preservation of the Willandra World Heritage Area values.
To find out more about this project, contact Western LLS via 1300 795 299 or via the LLS website. Pictured is Lawrence Slade, Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area On-Ground Cultural Heritage lead, doing an ACH survey on a property in the Willandra region.
The project is supported by Western LLS, through the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.
Landholders ready to commence rangeland rehab projects
Landholders that expressed their interest in participating in programs to repair and improve creeks and river floodplains on their properties have begun working with Western LLS to develop their projects prior to commencing on-ground works.
A total of 11 EOIs were received, four for the rangeland rehabilitation program and seven for the Ecosystem Management Understanding (EMU) program.
Participants in the rangeland rehabilitation program will carry out soil erosion works that will improve the condition of vegetation in the Coolibah-Black Box Woodlands endangered ecological community.
Through the EMU program, participants will learn how to understand landscape processes, conditions and trends. The on-ground projects will address ecological sustainability and agricultural productivity.
The Western Division comprises the largest land management area of NSW and consequently the longest travel distances in the state. To assist livestock producers meet their obligations with regards to transporting animals, our district vets have created a resource that lists some of the do's and don'ts.
Apply now for the Fencing Northern Basin Riverbanks Program
Landholders are encouraged to submit an EOI to undertake projects to protect valuable ecological sites and improve native fish habitat under round one of the NSW Fencing Northern Basin Riverbanks Program. Other eligible activities include off-stream stock watering points, control of exotic woody weeds, minor erosion control works, revegetation and river re-snagging to protect native fish and contribute to a healthier river system. Click here to submit an EOI and get further information about the program.
Until next time...
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