Connector Newsletter – Issue 6

JULY – SEPTEMBER 2015


Reporting on the state of the Western Port Biosphere Reserve

We were joined by Cr Neil Rankine (Bass Coast Shire), Cr David Young (Cardinia Shire Council), Cr Mick Morland (City of Casey), Michael Papageorgiou (Frankston City) and Cr David Garnock (Mornington Peninsula Shire Council) at the launch of our Pilot Report Card on 23rd June. Duncan Malcolm, Chair of the Western Port Biosphere Foundation, said “This Report Card has been an opportunity for us to work together as a region. This is a Pilot Report Card showcasing what we are all doing to work towards sustainable development for the region.”

“The Western Port Biosphere Reserve is unique, encompassing five diverse local government areas and French Island. Whilst recognising and valuing the differences and individuality of each council, across the whole there are values common to everyone” Mr Malcolm said. “We have an opportunity to work together as a region to protect and conserve, while also fostering a vibrant economy and a rich social fabric.”

The Pilot Report Card provides a snapshot of how we are doing against environmental, social and economic indicators. It is a step towards sharing the story of Western Port Biosphere, the region in which we all play a part in its health and sustainability.

The Biosphere was designated in 2002 under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme and has recently successfully undergone a 10 year review by UNESCO.

The strategic plans of our member Councils address the environmental, social and economic development of each municipality. All five of our member Councils have plans in place to reduce emissions, with actions such as moving to renewable energy for Council buildings and the replacement of street lighting with energy-efficient lights already underway. These are practical demonstrations of their commitment to foster sustainable development in the Western Port Biosphere.

The Western Port Biosphere’s Pilot Report Card provides a focus for discussion about how we live in this region and work to foster sustainable development within the Biosphere Reserve. In future Report Cards we will refine the measures we use to report against economic, social and environmental indicators.


Become a Water Steward on Watson Creek

We are inviting horticultural farms, plant nurseries, chicken and livestock producers and schools along Watson Creek and within its catchment to be at the forefront of Water Stewardship. The Watson Creek catchment encompasses parts of Baxter, Langwarrin South, Pearcedale Somerville and Tyabb.

Water Stewardship is a form of catchment and water management which can be applied at a site or catchment scale, and can be externally accredited. It builds on existing works and planning that a site manager has already undertaken and is easily developed and implemented.

Lance Lloyd, our Water Stewardship Project Officer will work with you to develop a Site Water Stewardship Plan. Specifically, Lance will provide you with:

  • a site visit to assist you identify site conditions and actions required,
  • a template to build the plan,
  • information on catchment conditions,
  • field days to see how other Water Stewardship plans are being developed and benefiting landholders,
  • information how your other work on farm or your site (such as existing or planned works including whole farm plans or other site water management) will be built into, or integrated with Site Water Stewardship Plans, and
  • specialist training from Water Stewardship Australia which will help you develop and implement your plan.

The Watson Creek Water Stewardship Project uses the AWS International Water Stewardship Standard as a tool for businesses and land mangers that use water to address the shared and site-specific challenges of the catchment. The benefits of being a Water Steward include:

  • cost savings through more efficient water and fertilizer management;
  • a more secure water future;
  • recognition of good practice through a documented Water Stewardship Plan;
  • accreditation as a Water Steward; and
  • the potential for funding for on-site works.

The Watson Creek Catchment is the initial focus for developing Site Water Stewardship Plans with landholders, organisations and businesses (eventually we will be offering opportunities across the Biosphere area). A Reference Panel supporting the project includes representatives from the Western Port Biosphere Reserve, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority, Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water, South East Water, Inghams Enterprises, and Water Stewardship Australia.

To become involved or for further information, contact Lance Lloyd, Water Stewardship Project Officer, Email: lancel@biosphere.org.au or call on Mobile: 0412 007 997 | 03 5979 2167.


Keeping track of native and pest animals

The Western Port Biosphere invites residents of Yaringa, Cannons Creek, Warneet and Blind Bight to join in an animal survey which starts in late July this year.

“We need baseline data about what animals are living in this area” said Cecelia Witton, Executive Officer of the Western Port Biosphere. “Residents of this area can help us with this important work by recording what native and pest animals they see on their properties and in neighbouring areas.”

The Western Port Biosphere is using motion sensing cameras in reserves and has been able to record birds, wallabies, echidnas and possums; as well as foxes, dogs and cats. However, the Biosphere is keen to extend the range of data collected, and observations by residents can be a vital data source.

The data about native and pest animals is used to develop pest animal control programs. This animal survey program is part of the Western Port Biosphere’s work as a partner in the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority’s “Protecting the ecological values of the Western Port Ramsar site” project, which is funded by the Australian Government.

Interested residents can join this animal survey by downloading forms from www.biosphere.org.au or by contacting Sally Jacka, Project Officer on 5979 2167.


Big turnout for our Biodiversity Planning forum

Over 90 people attended our Biodiversity Planning Forum in April. We were delighted to see representatives from community groups, Councils, private landholders and businesses.

We launched our Draft Biodiversity Plan and have received positive and constructive feedback on the Draft Plan since it went online.

Landcare groups and our Growing Connections partners presented updates about their work, which gave our audience a good overview of what is happening across the Biosphere Reserve.

Dr Paul Carnell, from Deakin University, presented a fascinating talk about the role our wetlands and mangroves play in carbon sequestration.

The presentations from the Forum are available on our website at MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from “secure.etools.com.au” claiming to be www.biosphere.org.au/news-media/news/growing-connections-biodiversity-planning-forum-april-2015.

The Biodiversity Planning Forum was presented as part of our Growing Connections project, which is supported by the Australian Government.

Lifesearch

We will be running our Lifesearch program from Saturday 17 October to Sunday 25 October this year. We hope you will join us to track and record what birds and animals are living in your area. Check out our website or Facebook pages to find out about events in your area.

Become a member of the Biosphere Foundation

Become a member of the Biosphere Foundation and you will be supporting our goals of bringing people together to foster conservation and sustainable development.

Membership costs $25 and includes invitations to Biosphere events, the latest Biosphere news and the opportunity to network with like-minded people.


Upcoming Events

Schools’ Tree Day
Date: Friday 24 July
More details: http://treeday.planetark.org/schools

Victorian Agribusiness Summit
Date: Thursday 30 and Friday 31 July
Location: Lindenderry at Red Hill
142 Arthurs Seat, Red Hill
Booking Enquiries: Emma on cab@agribusinessyarravalley.com or 5962 9423

10,000 Steps Walking Challenge
Date: Monday 27 July to Sunday 13 September
Location: Cardinia Shire
More details: Healthy Together Cardinia Shire and Monash Health Community invite workplaces, including schools, early childhood services and community organisations, in Cardinia and Casey to participate in a six week 10,000 steps challenge, with the chance to win some great prizes. Call 1300787624 to register.

Cutting Business Costs with Solar
Date: Tuesday 4 August
Time: 6 – 7:30pm
Location: Cardinia Cultural Centre
More details: This workshop will feature presentations from local businesses that have installed and are benefiting from commercial rooftop solar electricity systems.

Wonthaggi Make it, Bake it Market
Date: Sunday 9 August
Location: McBride Avenue, Wonthaggi
More details: www.visitbasscoast.com.au

Mornington Peninsula Birdlife
Date: Wednesday 12 August
Time: 10am
Location: Warneet Nature Reserve, Warneet
More details: Meet 10.00 at Tennis courts near Warneet Road and Rutherford Parade intersection. Warneet Road accessed off Baxter/Tooradin Road. Mel 142 F11. Tel: 0429 947 893.

Western Port Catchment Committee
Date: Thursday 20 August
Time: 9.30am – 12pm
Location: RBG Cranbourne
Corner of Ballarto Road and Botanic Drive, Cranbourne
More details: Contact ian@biosphere.org.au to book.

Callistemon and Melaleuca Workshop
Date: Sunday 13 September
Time: 9.30am – 3.30pm
Location: RBG Cranbourne
Corner of Ballarto Road and Botanic Drive, Cranbourne
More details: Callistemons and melaleucas are very important and popular plants for a variety of reasons and they will be fully explored in this all-day workshop. Their value for gardens and the broader landscape, habitat for wildlife, essential oils and other aspects will be covered. A range of very experienced presenters will explore the botany, horticulture, propagation, cultivation and landscape design as well as their utilisation in other areas. Email: bookings@rbgfriendscranbourne.org.au. Tel: 8774 2483.

Mornington Peninsula Birdlife
Date: Sunday 20 September
Time: 9:30am
Location: Bittern Reserve (Devilbend), Tuerong
More details: Meet 9.30 at car park to Bittern Reserve on Hodgins Road; approximately 2km from junction with Derril Road or from Stumpy Gully/Hodgins Roads intersection. Mel 153 B9. Tel: 0429 947 893.