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Rare glimpse of our remarkable emblem bird

Remarkable video footage of our local icon species, the Mallee Fowl has been attracting plenty of interest on social media.
These amazing little birds are currently in their breeding season, with females laying one egg at a time over several weeks -- meaning the chicks emerge at different times from early November through to about March.  While the male does most of the work tending the nest, once the young hatch, they leave the nest immediately and are on their own.
Find out more about these little Mallee treasures in this issue

In your January newsletter...

Funding for 80 Mallee environmental projects

It's fabulous news that dozens of local environmental projects are receiving funding for works on farm and in the community. 
This money will fund nearly 30 local community projects and on-farm work at about 50 sites.
Landholders and groups will receive a total of $397,502 for a range of activities to control rabbits and pest plants, improve habitat for native flora and fauna, create corridors of native bushland through revegetation and erect fencing to protect woodland communities.
The Regional Environmental Grants will provide $130,573 to help landholders do dune reclamation work, undertake salinity plantings and build stock containment areas to help improve biodiversity in the Mallee landscape.
These grants are supported by the Mallee CMA, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.
The Australian Government is investing $1 billion to help support better natural resource management across Australia through the National Landcare Programme. This includes more than $450 million directed in regional funding through to Australia’s 56 natural resource management organisations.
For more information about the National Landcare Programme go to www.nrm.gov.au
Pictured: An operational stock containment area

Have your say on Mallee flood management

People across the Mallee have until Friday 3 February to have their say on local priorities for flood management.

Work is underway to develop a Floodplain Management Strategy for the Mallee, which will provide a single, regional planning document and a ‘rolling’ three year works program to guide future investment priorities.

To inform this, community members and stakeholders have been asked to provide advice on local flood risks, important infrastructure that may be impacted by floods, and mitigation options.

By completing an online survey, people can provide input on the following areas to help identify both regional and local priorities for flood management:
  • Local flood behaviour (flooding caused by both riverine and/or stormwater) including flood risk areas and hot spots;
  • Important infrastructure (e.g. utilities, transport, recreational) and social/cultural sites that may be impacted by flooding; and
  • Flood mitigation works that could reduce risks and/or impacts.
The online survey is available at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/malleefloodrisks

The information that is collected will be used by the Mallee Floodplain Management Strategy Steering Committee to discuss and prioritise flood mitigation options.  They will be outlined in a three year work plan, which will be made available for comment in 2017.

The development of the strategy is being coordinated by the Mallee CMA with partner agencies in the region.

For more information on the Mallee Floodplain Management Strategy contact the Mallee CMA via info@malleecma.com.au, or phone (03) 5051 4377.

Little treasure in our own back yard!

It's nesting season for one of our iconic local species, the Mallee Fowl.

Mallee fowl are one of few birds that do not settle for sitting on their eggs to incubate them, instead they have worked out how to make an oven to keep their eggs warm.

Each autumn Mallee fowls dig a deep hole, fill it with vegetation, then allow rain to fall on the vegetation. Once wet they cover the vegetation over with sand and wait for the vegetation to decay.

The rotting vegetation creates heat, which the Mallee fowl monitors to get the right temperature for egg incubation– 33 degrees. Once the mound’s temperature is stable, the female will lay eggs, between September and February. The male will then maintain the incubation temperature until the chicks hatch.
Check out our video of these amazing little creatures on YouTube

Hattah fox baiting program underway

The roll-out of poisoned baits is underway in the ongoing integrated research and feral animal control project reducing the impact of foxes on turtle populations in the Mallee’s RAMSAR-listed wetlands, the Hattah Lakes.

The lakes’ healthy population of Eastern Long Neck Turtles is under long-term threat from predators, but a three-year project is reducing fox numbers while adding to researchers’ knowledge about the best methods to control the pests.

This project is supported by the Mallee CMA, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Programme.

Turtles at the lakes are currently in their breeding season. Female Eastern Long Neck Turtles come out of the lakes during summer and lay their eggs in shallow nests in the sand on the lakes’ shores.  To foxes, the eggs are hidden delicacies and relatively easy pickings, but in the long-term, presenting a threat to the population.The project used hidden cameras to monitor some artificial nests containing quail eggs, finding fox predation of turtle nests could potentially be as high as 93 percent.  

The project was in a phase of ‘free feeding’ the foxes in December and early January, but is now in the poisoning phase, with baits at 180 sites around the lakes.  Virtually every bait taken amounts to reduced pressure on the turtles and their nests, but monitoring after the project is completed will compare fox numbers before and after, to allow the impact of the program to be quantified.

Visitors to Hattah are warned with prominent signage around the park.  Baits are prepared by a specialist company in Melbourne and laid directly into a soil mound – a false nest – so there’s very little handling of the baits on-site. In the Mallee, foxes and cats are the only two carnivorous animals that will dig, so soil mounds are used meaning only foxes or cats will access the baits. The  bait sites are located some distance away from the lakes, but if you are bushwalking and do notice a small mound of disturbed soil, please leave it alone.

Pictured:  Malcolm Thompson from the Mallee CMA places a 1080 Poisoned Liver Bait into a small mound, in the sandy soil at Hattah National Park. The bait has a very strong odour, foxes smell it, dig it up and eat it, which is fatal.

Walkabout News - out now



Aboriginal people across the Mallee have direct input into managing our land, water and biodiversity.

The Mallee CMA's Aboriginal Reference Group and the recent finalisation of the region's Indigenous Participation Plan are just two examples of how the advice and input of Aboriginal people are being harnessed in natural resource management.
The latest issue of Walkabout News contains stories about the activities of Aboriginal stakeholders across the catchment. 
  • Meet Darren Brown, the Mallee CMA's Natural Resource Management Project Officer
  • Outfoxing the foxes at Hattah Kulkyne National Park
  • Bringing community back to The Living Murray
The Walkabout News is supported by the Mallee CMA, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Programme.

Get the latest newsletter or to subscribe to Walkabout News here:

Call for contributions - Mallee Farmer Newsletter


The Mallee Farmer newsletter is produced twice a year to showcase some of the innovative and exciting research, trials and demonstrations underway across the region.
 
It's inspiring to see each issue come together from the contributions of people committed to the farming sector and improving our future in agriculture.

If you have a suggestion, story or contribution you would like to make to Mallee Farmer Newsletter, please contact Kevin Chaplin at Mallee CMA on 0428 370 175.

The newsletter will be out in March.  If you would like receive a copy direct to your inbox, or a hard copy, email us here.

The Mallee Farmer Newsletter is supported by the Mallee CMA, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Programme.

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