FTLA News Update May 2011

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The first round of Junior Landcare Grants in 2011 is closing soon!  Coles has been providing School Garden Grants of up to $1,000 to schools and youth groups to help create gardens in their grounds or community, such as bush tucker gardens, water wise gardens or veggie gardens. More information at http://www.juniorlandcare.com.au/grants-2


Round 2: Coles School Garden Grant Friday 13th May, 5pm (EST)

Round 3: Coles School Garden Grant Friday 5th August, 5pm (EST)




As part of their continuing partnership, Landcare Australia and Woolworths have launched the Woolworths Fresh Food Future program. As one element of this new program, Woolworths is providing $150,000 of funding towards a grants program to help farming groups develop or implement sustainable farming practices.


Successful projects will support farmers in the adoption of technology or practices to improve water use efficiency, nutrient management and their carbon footprint. The grants will be awarded to farming groups and each grant can be up to a maximum of $10,000 to implement a project which addresses one of these key areas.


Applications close on Monday, May 30th and further information, criteria and application forms can be found http://www.landcareonline.com.au/?page_id=4476




Caring for our Country’s business plan for 2011-12 was released this week. Up to $178 million is available from Caring for our Country to invest in projects that can be completed by June 2013. This year’s business plan has been adjusted to take account of community feedback.


Applications for regional base-level funding close on 16 May 2011 and open-call applications close 30 May 2011.  Details on the application process and eligibility guidelines are on the Caring for our Country website www.nrm.gov.au 




$1 billion has been provided to the Regional Development Australia Fund (with $573 million of this being subject to the passage of the Minerals Rent Resource Tax). The Regional Development Australia Fund will fund projects that support the infrastructure needs, and will enhance the economic and community development, of Australia’s regions.  Program funds will maximise outcomes through effective partnerships across all levels of government, and the business and not-for-profit sectors.  

Regional Development Australia committees will play a key role in identifying projects to be supported, and confirming that proposed projects align with their Regional Plans.  The first round closes on 13 May 2011.  Funding from $500,000 - $25m is available.  Please go to http://www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs/rdaf.aspx for further information or contact RDAF@regional.gov.au or contact the Department’s Infoline on 1800 00 5494.


To obtain a copy of your RDA Regional Plan please contact your local RDA Committee by accessing the contact details via this link http://www.rda.gov.au/states/ 






Discussing the weather is always a popular topic for farmers. Everyone has their own thoughts about the weather, especially as to whether or not our climate is really changing. Even though medium to long-term weather forecasting is still not very reliable, scientists and meteorologists are now able to accurately explain the key factors that determine our weather and the implications for agriculture.


A number of Landcare groups and VFF branches are presenting sessions on the factors that impact our weather and better prepare attendees to manage their land for future conditions.


Mornington: Saturday, 7/05/2011, Main Creek Catchment Landcare Group and Mornington VFF,

Mornington: Sunday, 8/05/2011, Devilbend Landcare Group

Toora: Tuesday, 10/05/2011, Franklin River Landcare Group http://www.sgln.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1&Itemid=2


Tarwin Lower: Wednesday, 11/05/2011, Tarwin Landcare Group



Bunyip: Thursday, 12/05/2011, Bunyip Landcare Group

Wodonga area: Friday, 13/05/2011, Wooragee Landcare Group,

Loddon (North of Bendigo): Wednesday, 18/05/2011, Loddon Vale Landcare Group,

Tallarook (near Seymour): Thursday, 19/05/2011, South-West Goulburn Landcare,

Wangaratta / Beechworth: Monday, 30/05/2011, Hodgson and Horseshoe Creek Landcare, Namurkah: Thursday, 16/06/2011,


Contact Alisa Gibson via agibson@vff.org.au or on 03 9207 5563 for further information


There also a number of other events on similar topics including:



Friday, 13 May, 6.30pm, 7pm start

•           Prof. David Karoly (School of Earth Sciences, Melbourne University)

      What is needed to minimize dangerous climate change?

•           Matthew Wright (Executive Director, Beyond Zero Emissions)

       Zero Carbon Australia – How to decarbonise and secure Australia’s climate and

       energy future.

RSVP by 9 May Call Moira – 5774 7569 or  mawj@bigpond.com

ALEXANDRA Shire Hall, All welcome, RSVP for catering purposes         No cost



FarmDay is when a farm family hosts a city family for a day of real hands-on experiences and a greater understanding of the day-to-day life of the farming family. On Australia’s annual FarmDay, held on the weekend of 28 and 29 May 2011, farmers across the country are encouraged to open their gates and welcome a city family to spend a day on their farm. For more information or to register to host or attend please go to http://www.farmday.com.au




The twelfth annual Project Platypus plantout series will be held throughout July in the Wimmera. Help other volunteers to plant and guard plants. Camping available. Jobs for all abilities.

Dates are Saturday 2nd July (Jallukar), Saturday 9th July  (Concongella ), Sunday 17th July  (Crowlands), Sunday 24th July  (Northern Grampians), Saturday & Sunday 30-31st July (Great Western).


For more information or to register for plantout 2011 contact:



PO BOX 838


PHONE: 5358 4410 FAX: 5358 4441




ONLINE REGISTRATIONS http://www.platypus.org.au/plantout-registration.php




Landcare in Victoria will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2011! Go to http://www.landcarevic.net.au/25years for information and resources to assist your group participate in this major milestone. There is also an event calendar, so if you are planning a celebration please put it in the calendar!






The Australian Framework for Landcare was released during Landcare Week.  The framework is intended to guide Landcare over the next ten years and form the basis of a Landcare Action Plan. The Action Plan can be downloaded via http://www.daff.gov.au/natural-resources/landcare/the_australian_landcare_framework  if you would like to take a look. Submissions on the action plan are due 17 June 2011.


The FTLA will be making a submission, as we did for the framework and during the consultation process, highlighting the unique role of Landcare in sustainable land management and the importance of local decision-making and peer-to-peer learning. We would welcome input from members to include in the submission. We would also encourage you to make your own submission to the process.





ABC Open is a new initiative that will see 45 new ABC producers working in regional Australia to help create and share your stories and ideas. Over the next few months, ABC Open will invite you to get involved in lots of different ways using digital media. Each region has producers to help you develop and share the skills you need to engage in the project. 32 regions are currently open. It's an opportunity for you to tell the stories you care about, and to share the issues and ideas of regional Australia with the world. For more information go to http://open.abc.net.au/regions 


Consultation On A Proposed National Ecological Community Listing –

Lowland Seasonal Wetlands Of Southeastern Australia


The Federal environment department is assessing the Lowland Seasonal Wetlands of South-eastern Australia for potential listing as a threatened ecological community under theEnvironment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).


The assessment follows two public nominations to list these wetlands. Following discussions with experts familiar with these wetlands, a draft description of the ecological community has been developed. The draft description and original nominations are currently open for public consultation and can be downloaded from the department’s website at:



The department would welcome any comments you and your group may wish to provide on the proposed listing. Comments are due by 12 May.


To summarise the main characteristics of the proposed national ecological community:


- They are seasonal wetlands that occur in localised depressions and gilgais and are not connected to rivers, creeks or floodplains. They typically fill up for a few weeks to months after rain in winter and spring, then dry out. In wetter years they might stay wet for longer. During prolonged drought they may remain dry for well over a year.


- The wetlands are native grasslands, sedgelands or herbland with a characteristic suite of native species that tolerate wet sites and are distinct from any surrounding native dryland grassland or grassy woodland. They have been variously described as freshwater meadows, shallow freshwater marshes or grass/sedge swamps. Lists of characteristic species, corresponding vegetation and wetland units (e.g. Victorian EVCs) are noted in the draft description that can be downloaded from the weblink above.


- They are limited to lowland plains below about 500 m above sea level and to the 400 to 800 mm/year rainfall zone.


- The ecological community mainly occurs on the plains of Victoria, mostly in the Victorian Volcanic Plain and Riverina with patches in the Gippsland, Otway, Warrnambool and Glenelg Plains, the wetter parts of the Wimmera region and lower slopes of the Goldfields, Central Victorian Uplands and Dundas Tablelands that adjoin the plains.


- Patches are also likely to extend into SA and NSW. In SA, it most likely occurs in the lower south-east close to the Victorian border. In NSW it is limited to the far south of NSW, roughly between Deniliquin and Albury.


- The listing proposes to only protect remnants that remain in good condition. Condition is based on the presence of certain indicator species and where the vegetation cover is dominated by native grasses, sedges and wildflowers associated with wet sites. A method is also proposed to identify when the wetland ecological community is likely to be present during prolonged drought. This is detailed in the draft description.


- It’s recognised that these wetlands mostly occur as very small patches. A minimum patch size threshold of 0.5 ha is proposed. This applies to single wetlands or a complex of closely spaced smaller wetlands (e.g. in gilgai landscapes).


- The draft descriptionexcludes permanent to semi-permanent wetlands, wetlands associated with rivers and streams, brackish and saline wetlands, wetlands influenced by coastal, limestone or very sandy situations, and peatlands. Sites that have a high weed/non-native cover or can no longer support a native wetland are also excluded.


At the end of the draft description is a standard set of questions to help guide your response.  You are welcome to forward this email to colleagues or other people who you consider are able to give constructive feedback to improve the description of the national ecological community.


A listing would: build awareness of the value of remnants of this ecological community and the key threats (e.g. weeds); become a specific target for NRM funding (e.g. Caring for our Country, including Commonwealth funding through CMAs/NRM Groups); and, trigger the referral and assessment provisions of the EPBC Act for certain significant changes in land use. Triggers may include mining, roadworks or housing developments. Continuing land use and routine farming activities do not trigger but changes to on-farm use that may have a significant impact may trigger (e.g. significant land levelling/filling; major drainage changes). An information guide for farmers would be released if and when this ecological community is listed and we would seek your feedback again on that at an appropriate time.







Nominations are now open for the 2011 State and Territory Landcare Awards, giving everyone across Australia the opportunity to honour the people who make a positive difference to their local environment. Nominations for the 2011 Victorian Landcare Awards will be open from the 2nd of May until Friday the 1st of July 2011. Please go to http://www.landcareonline.com.au/?page_id=4244 for more information.


The prestigious Landcare Awards recognise the invaluable work done by committed volunteers across the country on a daily basis protecting and restoring our natural resources. All winners from the 2011 State and Territory Awards will go forward as nominees in the biennial National Landcare Awards which will take place in 2012.


2011 Landcare Photography competition


The Victorian Landcare and Catchment Management Magazine’s 2011 Landcare Photography Competition is open now and you can upload your entries on the Gateway at http://www.landcarevic.net.au/resources/magazine/vic/2011-landcare-photography-competition or by emailing or posting it to the Landcare Magazine.


The competition was announced recently in our 50th Issue. Entries are invited in three categories: sustainability, water and ‘what Landcare means to me’. There will be a general prize in each category and prizes for primary and secondary students.




Applications are now open for 2011 NSW Farmer of the Year and Young Farmer of the Year Awards, with prizes of $10,000 and $5,000 going to the winners. The awards recognise excellence in agriculture through management skills, the use of innovation, profitability, environmental sustainability and community involvement.


For more information go to http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/aboutus/news/events/foty/foty2011


Entries close Thursday 9th June 2011.