|Long-haired Rat Rattus villosissimus, just one of several uncommon species that may be found in the vicinity of ASCC.|
LfW in Alice Springs, now approaching our 10th year, currently has more than 350 member properties which accounts for more than 15,500ha of private and publicly owned land under the best sustainable and conservation management practices.
|Matt Le Feuvre setting a line during the last controlled burns on airport land.|
The fire season in Alice Springs is far from over and many land owners are now busily putting in breaks. One Land for Wildlife property that has been staying on top of their fire regulation compliance from the start, is the Alice Springs Airport.
Bushfires NT volunteers and Low Ecological Services staff have been out with airport employees on a few occasions already over the last few weeks, burning and grading in breaks across the property.
Today this work will continue, when Merv and Simon and the boys will again head out with volunteers from LES and staff from Bushfires NT to continue prescriptive burning to the north of Deep Well Rd and around the eastern parts of the airport property. It may be another long night, but all for a good cause and there may be time to bung a chop on a shovel over the nearest burning log if we’re lucky; volunteering has to have its perks!
On a serious note, it’s important that these breaks get put in before any more fires break out. Fire authorities and volunteer units have been working long hours to burn breaks in around Alice Springs. Larger fires can send burning embers to start spot fires kilometres from the fire front. In these situations, pre-burnt and accessible fire breaks are the best chance that fire crews will have to contain wildfires.
So don’t be alarmed if there is a bit of smoke heading up from the Todd River end of the airport property – that’ll just be us. The whole operation is expertly supervised and we are fully equipped with water tankers and grass fire units.
|What’s all this twittering about?|
We’ve searched high and low, far and wide, but it seems that Land for Wildlife in Alice Springs is now the first of the regional LfW groups to use Twitter.
It seems many of these social networking applications take some time to fully mature, but Twitter has been widely adopted by many in the conservation and NRM world so it was time that LfW took the plunge. It turns out to be a great way of receiving up-to-the-second information about community events and local news.
We’re hoping that through our use of Twitter we’ll be able to keep our members better in touch with relevant local issues and remain better connected to the NRM community in Alice. It is already proving its worth in spreading the word about the energetic work of voluntary conservationists in Central Australia; our account is being followed by Alice Springs Mayor, Damian Ryan and the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard. If nothing else, it will be nice to know that messages will be flashing across a screen somewhere in Canberra each day about Mexican Poppy control, buffel-busting, or wildlife corridors through our desert town.
If you’re hooked up to Twitter already, you can follow us by looking for @LFW_Alice in your Twitter account – otherwise you can go and investigate by clicking this link to see our profile. If you’re not already using Twitter, but might be interested, it’s dead easy to sign up and doesn’t cost a penny. You can have a look for yourself at http://www.twitter.com/
|Spencer’s Burrowing Frog Opisthodon spenceri.|
That’s right folks! It’s Land for Wildlife biodiversity survey time again and this year promises to be as interesting as ever. The project we have planned will involve 3 nights of trapping at 4 Land for Wildlife properties along Roe Creek – some with excellent Buffel control, and some with extensive Buffel growth. All of the properties around this area have had some interesting mammalian visitors this year so let’s see what we find.
We’ll start on Sunday the 9th of October and set traps each night through until the Tuesday and finish with our last check on the Wednesday morning. Volunteers with all levels of experience will be needed to help with the setting and checking of Elliot trap lines, pit traps, and funnel traps and the documentation of all that juicy data. Photographers are more than welcome as we will very likely find a few interesting critters along the way.
If you’d like to help out we’d love to hear from you. Give Jesse or Chris a call on 89 555 222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
No, it’s not what you think. The weather hasn’t gone that crazy – yet. Long time Garden for Wildlife supporter Dave Price has sent in some more of his stunning photographs, this time of an often overlooked desert flower known as Desert Snow Macgregoria racemigera.
|Desert Snow Macgregoria racemigera – picture by Dave Price.|
This is a species which grows on the sandplains after good rains and may also be found in small depressions that might have a bit of shallow ground water.
Dave tells us, “These little beauties are growing at Kirrirdi south of Yuendumu. I’m told they grow next to the haul road at the Granites and near the bore field. They’re called ngapa-taraki-taraki in Warlpiri (ngapa means ‘water’ and also ‘rain’) and I’m told that they are an indication of water not far beneath the surface and worth the digging.”
|More Desert Snow by Dave Price.|
Thanks again for some more great images Dave.
|Volunteers from Low Ecological Services putting in fire breaks that have already proved crucial in fighting fires to the west of Alice Springs.|
We’ve already seen predictions of large fires for Central Australia vindicated in the past few weeks. Many people have been donating their time and putting in long sleepless nights to protect private property and conservation reserves around Central Australia. Due to the tireless work of regular and volunteer firefighters, there have been no injuries resulting from any of these fires and no loss of housing. The fire season is far from over though, and we may have just received a taste of what is to come.
This should be no cause for alarm for property owners around Alice Springs, but should provide ample motivation for the production of fire plans for all properties.
Your fire plan should be simple to follow and known to everyone who is resident on the property. Information about fires in your area can be obtained by listening to ABC Local Radio (783 AM) or by checking the Bushfires NT website.
Land for Wildlife can help you to develop a fire plan for your property, but the important points to cover include;
1. In the event of a fire alert, will you stay on the property or leave – everyone should decide in advance.
2. If you need to evacuate, everyone should travel by the same, pre-determined, safe route.
3. Prevention is better than cure – your fire plan should include all relevant measures to protect your property from being threatened by fire in the first place; fuel reduction burns, fire breaks, and safe access routes.
4. In the event of small spot fires, the fire plan should detail the location of fire-fighting hand appliances and fire extinguishers.
5. The fire plan should have the phone numbers of all relevant emergency authorities that you might need to contact in the event of an emergency.
For more information you can visit the following websites;
North Australian Fire Information – NAFI
|The detailed spatial and temporal fire information that NAFI provides can be very useful in staying abreast of the changing situation at a local level.|
Alice Springs Landcare are having their 2nd Annual Buffel Busting Day on Sunday the 11th of September from 9am to 11am.
It’s going to be happening at the Sturt Terraca Arboretum between the Stott Terrace Bridge and Undoolya Rd on the east bank of the Todd. This site has some regenerating native plants and the ongoing removal of Buffel Grass will help these along and allow them to become better established.
Local legend Peter Latz will be delivering one of his famous talks on controlling Buffel Grass. Tools and gloves will be provided and the morning will be spent ripping up weeds and removing litter. Following the Buffel Busting the ASL AGM will occur.
All you are required to bring is as many bodies as you can muster, a hat, water bottle and an enthusiastic Buffel Busting attitude!
|Photo – Yanjing Lu, wikicommons|
The Invasive Animals Centre for Cooperative Research has announced its Feral Photos competition. This is a great chance to learn more about how invasive animals impact the equilibrium of our ecosystems and perhaps win a little something along the way. The winning photo will be featured in the 2012 calendar.
All of the details can be found on the Invasive Animals CRC website at; http://www.invasiveanimals.com/feral-photos/
Briefly though, you just need to submit your photograph that features one of Australia’s pest animals and its impact or even the monitoring and control measures targeting them.
Surely someone out there can round up a great feral mouse photo from Alice Springs this season!