A Meeting of the Minds – NRM Forum in Cloncurry June 2021

Kristy Gooding of LGAQ (center) with, Claire Hobbs (left) and Kayler Plant (right), event sponsors from Southern Gulf NRM.

Southern Gulf NRM recently had the opportunity to come together with other likeminded organisations, Government bodies and key stakeholders to discuss all things Natural Resource Management; the good, the bad and the ugly.

Attendees represented both a large percentage of Local Government area throughout the Southern Gulf and the keen interest of Federal, and State governing bodies that assist with funding the management of natural resources in the region

Councillor for Richmond Shire Council and SGNRM Director, June Kuhl, discussing mapping strategies with representatives of the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.

Topics on the agenda were varied but informative ranging from flying fox management and the management of threatened species in Gulf estuaries, to river rehabilitation, wetland management and new biosecurity control agents.  Plans for environmental management, regional aquifer water and state resilience were also unveiled.

Hostess of the event Kirsty Gooding, Lead – Natural Resource and Environment Manager for the LGAQ, feels that the day provided an excellent opportunity for the flow of vital information between representatives of the region and the funding bodies on whom NRM projects rely. 

“It was excellent to hear from such a diverse range of speakers around the tools and planning opportunities that support action in the NRM space.” she said. “We are grateful for the involvement of Southern Gulf NRM for providing information on how Councils can partner and collaborate for future NRM activities.”

Mark Crawley, Carpentaria Shire Council CEO, delivering a presentation on Coastal Management in the Gulf.

Turn out for the event had more than 20 people representing over 11 different organisations, sharing updates and information on current and planned projects that are key to the environmental sustainability and biodiversity. Ms Gooding, who has run this forum over multiple locations, was thrilled with the number of attendees. “The attendance at this forum has been the highest number we have had so far, which is great!” she said. 

Some travelled a significant distance to attend; Mark Crawley, CEO of Carpentaria Shire Council, made the 430km journey from Normanton to attend and present.  Recapping on the day he said, “The format for the day was excellent, the content was topical and relevant to the issues we deal with on a daily basis”.

CEO and spokesperson for Southern Gulf NRM, Geoff Penton, echoed the sentiment. “The forum was a great opportunity to focus on regionally strategic issues for the environment and the economy” he said.  Southern Gulf would like to thank the LGAQ for the opportunity of being involved with the forum.

Birds Banding Together!

Carpentarian Grasswren (Amytornis dorotheae). Photo: Henry Stoetzel.

Southern Gulf Project Officers Lyndy Skea and Kayler Greenfield have been lucky enough to work closely with PhD Candidates Henry Stoetzel and Patrick Webster from The University of Queensland as part of our Carpentarian Grasswren Conservation project.

We’ve been getting down and dirty, colour banding some tiny Carpies, which is an important step in the conservation of these birds, as a method of tracking individuals, learning about their habitat requirements and obtaining other valuable data.

Project Officer Lyndy, who is a new member of the Southern Gulf team described the experience as “surreal”! “The first little Carpie we caught was a male, Henry had to lure him down the hill into the trap using recorded audio of their calls, which took around 15 minutes. Henry was like Tigger, jumping up and pouncing as soon as the bird came into the net area, it was an incredible experience” she said.

Further steps in the program will include radio-tracking as many Grasswrens as possible to ensure the most amount of data can be gathered.

This project is supported by Southern Gulf NRM through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the Southern Gulf NRM Environment Fund.

PhD Candidates Henry Stoetzel and Patrick Webster, with their assistant for the day Kurt Skea, banding a Carpentarian Grasswren and recording vital information about the bird. Photo: Lyndy Skea.
Henry Stoetzel with two, recently banded, Carpies. Photo: Henry Stoetzel

Birds of a Feather; Collective Carpentarian Grasswren Conservation!

Carpentarian Grasswren (Amytornis dorotheae) image from Anthony Woodbine for Southern Gulf NRM.

The 2021 Bird Life Northern Queensland survey has revealed that the endangered Carpentarian Grasswren is on the rise!  A total of 21 volunteers participated in a survey of over 80 sites throughout northwest Queensland this May.

Photo: Justin Reid

Great news for the Carpentarian Grasswren as sightings were recorded at 44 sites which are more than double the surveys of the previous two years.

The sites were methodically mapped to establish long-term monitoring, including additional sites identified by Henry Stoetzel, PhD Researcher at University of Queensland, who has created a unique model for predicting their habitat.

Most interestingly, eight groups of Carpentarian Grasswrens were spotted with more than two birds, which indicates a successful breeding season.  Survey participants believe that the high numbers of offspring will help populate habitat close to parent territories.

Photo: Justin Reid

Volunteers that have been involved in the surveys since 2008 commented that this survey has resulted in the highest number of Carpentarian Grasswren records since the commencement of the surveys.

The positive survey results show promising outcomes for improving the trajectory of the endangered species and successfully showcases the biodiversity benefits of regional fire management planning.

This project is supported by Southern Gulf NRM through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the Southern Gulf NRM Environment Fund.

Click here to see a video of the survey team as they tell you more about why this project is so important!

Bridging Borders; A New Biosecurity Plan for the Region

In partnership with the North West Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (NWQROC), Project Officer Robyn Young has been busy working on the development of a new concurrent joint Regional Biosecurity Plan. 

In early June, representatives of the Gulf Catchments Pest Taskforce assembled, in Cloncurry, to assist with the formulation of the plan. The day boasted attendance of not only Council representatives but also field experts from the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries as well as local Landcare groups.

Representatives of Mount Isa Landcare, Mark Van Ryt (Left) & Gary Baker (Right), 
Cloncurry Shire Council, Morris Thompson (Centre Left) and Southern Gulf NRM, Charles Curry (Centre Right).

Pest and weeds are a significant social, economic, and environmental burden for our region, negatively impacting our economy, environmental biodiversity, public health, and cultural values. 

Rubber Vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora) infestation of local flora in Cloncurry River.

Biosecurity planning is a vital resource in the management of pests and weeds and a regionally focused plan will improve coordination and collaboration, increase opportunities for strategic investment and target investment towards regionally agreed priorities, and increase regional capacity sharing.    

Previously, each council developed and implemented individual biosecurity plans, however, pests and weeds do not respect council borders, so the NWQROC decided to develop a concurrent single joint plan that could be adopted and implemented by all participating councils.  Southern Gulf NRM has been tasked with the development of the plan and has been meeting with councils and stakeholders to commence the consultation process.  Following initial engagement, a draft plan will be drafted, and used as a base document during extensive stakeholder consultation.  

The Biosecurity Plan will set out the strategic direction of all stakeholders in a cooperative and collaborative way so that all efforts are directed towards the same agreed priorities.  The plan will guide local government in the management of pests and weeds and how they will evaluate and review their progress.  

Article by Brodie Crouch- July 2021

Community Grant Writing Seminar – A Stellar Success!

Samantha Morris of Wombat Creative, leading the seminar.

Thanks to Southern Gulf NRM, with funding from the National Landcare Program and the Rotary Club of Mount Isa South West, a staggering number of representatives from Mount Isa’s sporting, community and cultural groups were given the opportunity to attend a fully funded, hands-on, grant writing seminar aimed at assisting these groups to win funds and influence panels.

Grants and creative marketing expert, Samantha Morris of Wombat Creative, was flow across from the Gold Coast to ensure the night a clear success.

The highly engaging seminar was uniquely targeted to suit the needs of community groups that often have more hurdles to overcome when trying to access much needed funding.

Clearly a demonstration of how necessary the evening was to the community, numbers for the event were at maximum capacity with a waiting list of those eagerly trying to nab a spot! Samantha Morris was thrilled with events attendance and was moved by the passion these organisation representatives had when talking about their work in the community.

“Towns like Mount Isa would be drab and dull if it weren’t for the scores of volunteers working to support people and Country,” she said. “These community groups are the lifeblood of the Southern Gulf. I can’t imagine what life would be like here without the passion and commitment of their volunteers.”

Representatives from 5 separate community-based groups, coming together to share experiences.

Among the attendees were several different sporting groups, Council departments, Qld Police Service and other arts and hobbyist groups who all toasted the evenings success.

Teresa Littlemore, of Parkside United Junior Football Club, had high praise for the event. “Seeing so many members of our town here, all willing to give even more of their own volunteer time was incredible. It is fantastic that these clubs have been given the opportunity to learn how to make the most of grant writing. It’s not an easy task but Sam has certainly changed my perspective!” she said.

The evening was proudly funded by Southern Gulf NRM and The Rotary Club of Mount Isa South West, both of whom had a strong presence at the event, to give back to the community in which they reside.

Community Litter Clean-Up Project is a Go!

Environment and Great Barrier Reef Minister, Meaghan Scanlon, has announced 28 community-driven projects which are funded by the Palaszczuk Government and are aimed at cleaning up the state’s beaches, rivers, and creeks.

Southern Gulf NRM are thrilled to be a part of the initiative and will be undertaking 24 litter clean ups over two years in through our region which are high profile, with high people traffic and with high biodiversity value, engaging community groups and volunteers.

Not skipping a beat, we were excited to take part in a community clean-up earlier this month in a combined effort with nearly 30 staff of the Mount Isa City Council. The day was a huge success with the removal of a whopping 4 tonnes of rubbish from the Leichardt Riverbed between Casey Street and the Isa Street Bridge.

Councillor for Environmental Management, Waste Management and Environmental Health, Paul Stretton, said the activity achieved “an excellent result and everyone involved should be commended for their hard work in what was a significant operation.”

The clean-up involved  a team of 6 Southern Gulf NRM officers, as well as crews from Council’s Parks and Gardens, Local Laws, and Water and Sewer departments.  Mount Isa Police Officers were also in attendance providing support for the event.