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January 2024

E-news


Hello Tamar NRM Community,


Welcome to a new year that will fly by again with plenty of activities and action from Tamar NRM. I hope you all had a pleasant Christmas – New Year and were able to take some time for a break.

One of the key take aways from our 25th Anniversary celebration was how we create, empower and support community. It was truly inspirational to hear so much positivity from everyone on how much this organisation means to people and how much we have achieved. From this strong foundation, we can proudly move forward with a strong culture of making a real difference.

Our annual Ragwort Raids are underway across the region and with good rains and growing conditions there appears to be more Ragwort than in previous years. This highlights the need for long term, continuous weed management, so please join us if you can.

The next major event is the Tamar NRM Sustainable Living Festival on the 2nd of March, and I encourage you all to attend and support this wonderful initiative and participate in the wide range of activities that will be on offer.


Ben Hooper

President







Closing date approaches for sustainability awards nominations


Time is running out to nominate outstanding businesses, individuals and community groups to nominate for Tamar NRM’s Sustainable Business and Community Awards. Aligned with the upcoming Tamar NRM Sustainable Living Festival, these awards honour and celebrate Tasmanian trailblazers committed to the principles of a circular economy. To be part of this inspiring occasion and honour those who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to sustainability, submit your nominations before the closing date.


The deadline for nominations has been extended to the 26th of January, so act now to ensure your nominees are considered. Tickets to the awards night will be available soon.




 

Save the Date - Upcoming Events


Final raid, Saturday 27 January – Ragwort Raids - Nunamara

All hands are needed on deck to help control ragwort. This year we have witnessed an increase in incidences so please come and join us at Nunamara this Saturday.


Friday, 2 February, 9.00am - 3.00pm – World Wetlands Day, Tamar Island Wetlands Centre

This year the UN World Wetlands Day theme is “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing”. At the Tamar Island Wetlands Centre, Parks and Wildlife Tasmania and Tamar NRM will contribute a variety of activities to connect the public with our wonderful wetlands. 


Monday, 19 February, 9.30 - 12.30pm - Nature Journal Workshop (WAITLIST ONLY)

A free workshop presented by Dr Paula Peeters and the Great Tamar Tree Trail project funded by a grant from the Great Regional City Challenge.  Engage with the UTAS Nature Connection Storytelling Project and learn about the research being undertaken to understand how Australians connect with nature. Just bring your journal and 2B pencils. and discover the amazing Swamp Forests of the Tamar Wetlands.




Saturday, 24 February, 9.00am - 4.00pm - Exeter Show

As part of the Great Tamar Tree Trail Project when you we are giving away a free tree seedling. We would love to hear about your favourite tree and nominate it for inclusion on our Tree Trail. Learn about the diverse environmental and educational projects that Tamar NRM deliver to the Tamar Valley region. We look forward to seeing you there! 


15 - 29 February - Satellite events in the lead up to the Sustainable Living Festival (WATCH THIS SPACE)

There are 18 different events across the Tamar in the lead up to the Sustainable Living Festival that celebrate sustainability and circularity. Details will be announced shortly.


Nominations close 26 Jan. Tickets to go on sale soon. Come and honour and celebrate Tasmanian trailblazers committed to the principles of a circular economy.


Saturday, 2 March, 10.00am - 4.00pm - Tamar NRM Sustainable Living Festival - Going Circular

This is our biggest event of 2024, with a great program of events, speakers, and activities. The festival will be held on at the Inveresk Precinct, with Craig Reucassel from the ABC's War on Waste actively participating. Come along, participate, and learn about the Circular Economy and Sustainability.


Tuesday, 12 March, 9.30am - 2.30pm - Gorse Achievements Field Day

Join us to witness the remarkable results of the three-year Pipers River Catchment Gorse project. The day begins at Pipers River Fire Station, where you can enjoy tea and coffee before a bus ride takes you on a tour of a number of the gorse sites throughout the catchment. Afterward, we will provide lunch at the Lock Shop Café in Lilydale before travelling back to Pipers River. 




SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE


Tamar Valley Farm Discussion Group

The group continues to meet on the first Thursday of each month, supported by Tamar NRM. Meetings regularly attract 12-15 attendees, with farmers taking it in turns to host a meeting. The first meeting for 2024 will be held on the 1st of February and will have guest speakers talking about Trees on Farms and Farm Robotics.


Please get in touch with Nick Flittner at nick.flittner@tamarnrm.com.au if you are a farmer who would like to join the group.


 

WEEDS

Weeds Action Fund

We have two multi-year weed projects, Towards Gorse Eradication in the Piper's River Catchment and the Besom Heath Eradication Project. These projects are funded by three-year grants from the Tasmanian Government's Weeds Action Fund, which will end in June 2024. Although significant progress has been made, Tamar NRM is looking for ways to extend the life of the projects to ensure that follow-up and maintenance work is effective in the future. It usually takes up to ten or more years to tackle invasive weeds, and continuous engagement with landowners, whether they are private or government, is critical.


 

Ragwort Raids 2024

Image includes volunteers standing by a table while Nick Flittner marks on a map the locations for the Ragwort Raid to occur. There is a White Tamar NRM van in the background.
Nick Flittner marks out the roads to be surveyed and raided by volunteers.

The annual Ragwort Raids are now in the 25th year and incredibly, some volunteers have attended almost everyone!

As this newsletter goes out, we are in the middle of the 2024 Ragwort Raids – East and West Tamar are completed, with Blessington and Nunamara to come this week. Signs are that there is a bit of Ragwort out there this year – as some farmers are reporting a bad season. Well done everyone and thanks for taking part in the 25th anniversary Ragwort Raids!

Nineteen volunteers at the East Tamar event, and 15 volunteers at the West Tamar event collected 23 bags between them – amounting to just under 400 kg!
 

Serrated Tussock

The regular annual monitoring and control work in the Mt Direction area continued this period, with on-site activity over 4 days in September and November. Less than half the usual number of bags of Serrated Tussock were collected this year, which is testament to the work of Kay Bailey, Greg Lundstrom and the volunteer monitors.  

This program will continue over coming years, with complete eradication of serrated tussock in the area a distinct possibility. 
 

Sea Spurge – BOAGS Beach Blitz  

A wonderful Corporate Volunteering Day on Monday 2nd October was organised for nearly 40 personnel from BOAGS Production Team. 

Based at Greens Beach Golf Club for a welcome, induction and briefings the crew formed into teams for mapping and hand-pulling Sea spurge along the length of Greens Beach and foreshore area.  

Project Officers Jonty, Kate, Isabella and Megan led each team and assisted with the collation of data and managing equipment. Boags organised a chartered bus and catered for lunch with a team BBQ.  

Tamar NRM provided morning tea and equipment, and Greens Beach Golf Club provided the venue free of charge. West Tamar Councillor Josh Manticas attended and welcomed the group.  

 Marine ecologist Dr Megan Grant delivered a talk on shorebird ecology and the impacts of microplastics, and George Town Councillor Jason Orr gave a short presentation on Sea Spurge and participated in the weeding activities.  

 

If your organisation would like to engage with our environmental work, please contact kirstin.seaver@tamarnrm.com.au 



Nearly 40 personnel from BOAGS Production Team had a corporate volunteering day removing sea spurge at Greens Beach.

 

SUSTAINABLE LIVING


L to R: Mayors Matthew Garwood, Christina Holmdahl, Greg Kieser being photographed with the ceremonial lettuce by the Examiner

Launch!


An informal but official event was held on 18th October at the Inveresk Community Garden to officially launch the Sustainable Living Festival and the Sustainable Community Working Group.  

With terrific support from the Tamar Valley Councils represented by the 3 Mayors, City of Launceston Mayor Matt Garwood re-potted the Ceremonial Lettuce to mark the official launch of the 2024 Sustainable Living Festival.  

This was followed by a quick tour of the site by Festival Coordinator Sandy Astill to show people what is planned and where and how the site will work on the day. 

This event is an initiative of Tamar NRM’s Sustainable Community Working Group made up of members from Tamar NRM, Transition Tamar, Plastic Free Launceston, City of Launceston Council, West Tamar Council, George Town Council and the Launceston Chamber of Commerce.

2024 Sustainable Living Festival - Going Circular

The Sustainable Living Festival is set to return to Launceston at the Inveresk Precinct in March 2024, with a central theme of "Going Circular". There will be stalls, talks, information and demonstrations, music, food, and even tram rides around the site during the festival, celebrating the three tenets of a circular economy: designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.


Date: Saturday, March 2nd, 2024 – with associated events leading up to the main event

Location: Inveresk Precinct, Invermay. Main venue The Tramsheds

Time: 10 am – 4 pm

Cost: FREE!!


The Festival will be headlined by Craig Reucassel, the renowned television personality and environmental advocate from the ABC’s War on Waste.

 

Tamar & Meander Valley Community Gardens


Open Day

This was the second Community Gardens Open Day – held on Saturday 11th November. Across the Tamar and Meander Valleys, 14 Community Gardens opened their doors to the public from 10am to 2pm. Each Garden organised its own activities, which included plant and flower sales, music, BBQs, sausage sizzles, kids’ activities, frog watching, seed swaps, tours and composting demonstrations.

Gardens reported a steady flow of people through the doors – and there is agreement that the Open Day is an event worth staging each year.

 

Network  

Activity with the newly formed Community Gardens Network continues apace.  The Spring meeting was held at Beaconsfield Community Garden, which is run through the Beaconsfield Neighbourhood House, on October 5th. There were a good number of attendees representing 8 Community Gardens – we were treated to a tour of the Garden and were witnesses to the arrival of the new lawn mower!  The Summer gathering will be on February 8th at the MACS Community Garden in Ravenswood. 


Donations of Compost

Tasmania Feedlots is consistently donating tons of composted cow manure to the community gardens located in the Tamar and Meander Valleys. This will not only help in improving the soil quality but also contribute to the local community's sustainability efforts. The main drop-off point is the UTAS Community Garden in Inveresk, which is an open site and allows other community garden members to access the compost. Another site is at the George Town Council depot.

It's great to see initiatives like Tasmania Feedlots donating composted cow manure to the community gardens in the Tamar and Meander Valleys.


 

Tamar Valley Leaders Lunch

The fourth and final Leaders Lunch of the year was held on Wednesday 29th November at the Hotel Grand Chancellor Launceston and attracted 45 guests.

Dr Tony McCall from the Office of the Coordinator General and Cameron McLennan from the Department of Premier and Cabinet presented on the topic Sustainability in Business – compliance or competitive advantage? This was a look at what sustainability and the transition to a circular economy might mean for businesses, and how to transition to Tasmania Positive.

It was encouraging to hear that the Tasmanian Government is very supportive of this agenda, with high-level policy development for both Sustainability and the Circular Economy. You can hear more about this at the up-coming Sustainable Living Festival, where Dr McCall will be available for one-to-one conversations about transitioning businesses or organisations to a sustainable and circular footing.

Sustainability is about choices. The choices we make today impact our local communities, our state, and the world around us. They are the foundation of our wellbeing and the wellbeing of future generations -www.sustainability.tas.gov.au.

The Tamar Valley Leaders Lunch is a joint initiative of Tamar NRM, Launceston Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Central Launceston, and the Hotel Grand Chancellor Launceston. Special thanks to Velo Wines for its ongoing sponsorship of the event.


 

We were delighted by the nimber of community groups and schools that got involved again in 2023!

Catch it in the Catchment

709 participants, collecting 1147.5 kgs of rubbish!

 

Catch it in the Catchment 2023, in its fourth year, gathered groups from across the Tamar Valley to collectively work towards reducing the amount of rubbish in and along our local waterways and, in doing so, prevented it from entering the network of creeks, rivulets and rivers that flow into kanamaluka.  

 

In partnership with Clean up Australia, Catch it in the Catchment has become an important event in the Tamar Valley and it continued to attract new groups to participate.  

 

2023 saw an emphasis on little pieces of rubbish that are often overlooked - especially plastics “breaking up” into smaller plastic pieces. Children from local schools took up the challenge to see how many little pieces they could pick up. At both Riverbend Park and Punchbowl reserve, which both appeared to be litter free, the students initially estimated they would pick up a few hundred pieces - over 700 little bits of rubbish (again mainly plastics) were picked up at Punchbowl and approximately 1000 from Riverbed Park! Good work kids!  

 

Participating groups  

· Hillwood Progress Association · Tasmanian Divers · Launceston Field Naturalist · Friends of Redbill Point · Kelso Fire Station volunteers & community members · Friends of Low Head Penguin Colony · St Finn Barr’s Primary School · East Launceston Primary School · Soroptimists Launceston · Plastic Free Launceston · NRM North-Tamar Estuary and Esk Rivers (TEER) Program staff · East Tamar Landcare · Scotch Oakburn College · Newstead Christian School · Punchbowl Primary School · Friends of Riverside, · Friends of QVMAG · Northern Suburbs Community Centre · Free to be Girls - Youth group from Beaconsfield  


Sites targeted for clean up events  

· Lagoon Beach - George Town · Low Head · York Cove- George Town · Redbill Point · Hillwood · Beaconsfield · Greens Beach · Riverbend Park · Windsor Park · Heritage Park · St Leonards Park · Hobblers Bridge Park · Punchbowl Reserve · Royal Park · Swan Bay · Garden Island · York Town Rivulet · West Arm · Northern suburbs park land · Kings Meadow Rivulet · North Esk River  

 

Catch it in the Catchment relies on community involvement and many groups, seeing the benefits and the importance of this event, are keen to continue to support it. A special thank you to Jason Orr who rallied and supported several groups from the East Tamar area. 

 

BIODIVERSITY


City of Launceston Reserves Project

A regular newsletter is distributed to keep the community and stakeholders informed of the progress after the working bee sessions held on the first Thursday and first Saturday of each month. About 90% of the Cambridge Street Reserve has undergone initial weed removal, and the improvements are encouraging. Jonty Dehnert and Kirstin are responsible for organising the monthly working bees and publicity.

Guided spring wildflower walks were conducted on October 28th at Cambridge Street Reserve to celebrate spring and the first anniversary of this project. On Saturday, November 25th, guided walk and talks were held at Carr Villa Reserve to launch the next phase, attracting potential local volunteers. All parties are looking forward to building interest and momentum with volunteers, residents, and community groups.


For more information about the Friends of Cambridge Street Reserve, please contact Roy Skabo on 0458 696 639 or Dale Luck on 0438 431 447.

Community members are welcome to attend monthly working bee sessions on the first Thursday and Saturday of every month.

The City of Launceston Reserves Project aims to preserve and manage bushland reserves in Launceston. It is a joint effort between Tamar NRM, the City of Launceston, and the Australian Plant Society Tasmania.



 

Great Southern BioBlitz 2023

This annual event was held as a Tasmania-wide collaboration between 24-27th November. 

Talks, walks and activities for schools and community were developed and conducted by our Project Officers: Kate Richards, Jonty Dehnert, Dr Megan Grant and Isabella Kingston. These were located at Carr Villa Reserve, Trevallyn Reserve, Tamar Wetlands and Low Head/East Beach.  

 All records were uploaded to iNaturalist under the Umbrella Project set up by GSB 2023 organisers.

Legacy project material has been uploaded and shared to schools and our community on our website for all to enjoy.  See Tamar NRM blog: Are you searching for fun nature-based activities to do with your children during school holidays?

The Great Southern BioBlitz - Tasmania had the 3rd highest participation rate in the world. Well done Tamar Team! 

 

Great Tamar Tree Trail  

On Saturday 9th December, a Tree Walk and Talk event was held at Flowery Gully led by Kirrilli Kent. The event covered various topics such as seed collection, propagation, irrigation, tree planting, protection and maintenance. Each participant was given a free tree and some resource material. They were also encouraged to share their favourite tree and a story related to it.


This event was a part of the Great Regional City Challenge Project, and more tree-focused workshops will follow soon.



 

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

AUSMAP Surveys

AusMap is a national citizen science project that aims to map and monitor the microplastic pollution in Australian waterways and coastlines. It involves volunteers, researchers, educators, and environmental groups who collect and analyse samples of microplastic from various locations around the country.

AUSMAP visited the Tamar Valley in late October last year, and provided a Community Talk, Community Day and Training sessions with the first quarterly surveys by Tamar NRM to commence in January at four sites on the Tamar estuary.

The first survey took place on Sunday 21st January, the weather was perfect for an educational session and survey at East Beach to demonstrate the process of mapping microplastics for AUSMAP with an enthusiastic group of environmental volunteers from the Bass Greens and Launceston Field Naturalists Club.

We surveyed within two randomly chosen 50cm Quadrats along a 50-metre x 4-metre transect, finding one piece of Microplastic around 2-3 mm diameter. All Macroplastics (over 5mm in size outside of the quadrats and within the transect) were removed and recorded for submission to Tangaroa Blue Foundation.

Many of the beachgoers engaged with the group and were encouraged to join in. A picnic lunch and an afternoon foreshore walk with the Launceston Field Naturalist Club made it a great day for building awareness, doing more litter clean-up work and valuable citizen science.


If you are interested in joining our quarterly AUSMAP sessions around four sites around the Tamar, please contact kirstin.seaver@tamarnrm.com.au



 

Source to Sea 

At the end of 2023 Trish was also involved in the Source to Sea program which is an excursion that takes participants on a hunt for the Kings Meadows Rivulet. The excursion starts from its source in Kate Reed Reserve and ends in the North Esk river near Queechy Lake, from where it flows down the Tamar into the sea. Spring is the most popular time for the excursion when the weather turns warmer. There were a number of trips organised towards the end of last year. Schools such as Sacred Heart Primary, Riverside Primary, Summerhill Scouts, Australian Christian College, and John Calvin School participated in the program.

Many schools are now customising the excursion to suit their curriculum needs in subjects such as science, environmental science, and geography.

We expect more trips again this year, mainly in the second half of the year. 



Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Community Connection Working Group (CALD CC)

The group has been very active, in part thanks to the funding support from the Great Regional City Challenge which has provided $4000 for transport and interpreters. 

 Trips and activities have included: 

  • Catch It In the Catchment - 15 members of the CALD CC Working Group took part in the Catch It In The Catchment clean-up of Riverbend Park on Sunday 5th November. With the aid of an interpreter, the Catch it in the Catchment Coordinator Trish introduced members to the idea of rubbish and plastics in the waterways and asked them to pay particular attention to small pieces of rubbish.  Members worked for 2 hours and collected 5 bags of rubbish.  

  • Family Fishing trip to Clarence Point on 12th January 

  • An environment and arts day to Meander and Deloraine on 14th January 

  • A Little Penguin Night Trip on Sunday 21st January.  

 

The group is certainly having a busy summer, getting to experience and learn about our wonderful environment, and making connections with some new people too.  Thanks to the Great Regional City Challenge for the funds to allow these activities to take place.  



 

Plastic Free Launceston 

Plastic Free Launceston continues to deliver educational sessions and complement aspects of the Australian Curriculum for school-based delivery. The educations sessions highlight practical ways to be weaned off unnecessary and single use plastics as well as looking at interesting new designs in materials to eliminate fossil fuel derived plastics. Participants are also introduced to the idea of Micro and Nano plastics and unfortunately Pico plastics! Using the citizen science AUSMAP equipment for school-based workshops, students sieved and searched beach sand to identify microplastics and this led to discussions as to how microplastics have become so ubiquitous in marine environments and what are some positive actions to respond.  

Plastic Free Launceston Is now in its 6th year and in that time, we have seen a huge shift in the way our community thinks and talks about plastics.

It would be safe to say, most of our community knows about the problem – Plastic Free Launceston is proud of the public education it has delivered, but the need to nudge behavioural changes continues! 



Tamar NRM 25th Anniversary celebration!  

 

2023 was a significant milestone for Tamar NRM – it marked the 25th year of operation.  

 

The Tamar Region Natural Resource Management Reference Group developed the Tamar Region Natural Resource Strategy in 1999 as part of the Tasmania – A Regional Approach project. The project was funded by the Natural Heritage Trust and Tasmanian Government, with financial assistance from the Launceston City, West Tamar and George Town Councils, and prepared in consultation with the Tamar community.  

 

The Foreword to the original document is countersigned by the three Mayors of the Tamar Valley at that time – John Lees (Launceston), Max Burr (West Tamar) and Lawrence Archer (George Town). 

 

They comment... 

 

‘The Tamar region now has a comprehensive, cooperative, community-driven and Council supported approach. The Tamar Region will be seen as a leader in natural resource management in Tasmania.  

 

...We three Mayors are proud to support this Strategy and look forward to its implementation. ‘ 

 

And here we are, 25 years later, still going, still supported by the three Councils, still providing leadership in regional natural resource management.  

 

To mark this occasion a special celebratory event was held after this year’s Annual General Meeting on November 22nd at the Gunners’ Arms in Launceston. Many old and some new faces came along and heard stories about the good ol’ days and how things used to be. Despite being allocated 10 mins Roger stayed on his feet for over 30 until he was force fully ejected when the hot food arrived! 

 

We’re now into Year 26 – we look forward to the ongoing support of our three Councils and the local community for another 25 years. We’ll keep doing the work as long as the community wants us to!  

 

The latest Tamar NRM Annual Report is available to download here...


 

Big thanks to our team who help to bring everything together...

  • Ben Hooper - President, Tamar NRM - 0.2 FTE

  • Nick Flittner - Program Coordinator: 0.8 FTE

  • Kirstin Seaver - Program Coordinator: 1.0 FTE

  • Jessie Stanley - Communications and Administrations Officer: 0.4 FTE

  • Kay Bailey - Weeds Project Co-ordinator – work as required, including Ragwort Raid, Boneseed Blitz, Nassella project; and Project Co-ordinator of the Piper's River Gorse Eradication Project

  • Trish Haeusler - Catch it in the Catchment, Plastic Free Launceston, Source to Sea

  • Denis Giasli - Project Coordinator of the Besom Heath Eradication Project

  • Anthony Randall – Field Officer of the Besom Heath Eradication Project

  • Sandy Astill – Sustainable Living Festival Coordinator

  • Kate Richards - Casual Project Officer (Source to Sea, Schools BioBlitz & Community Projects)

  • Jonty Dehnert - Casual Project Officer (CoL Reserves, Biodiversity & On Farm Forums)

  • Dr Megan Grant - Casual Project Officer (Environmental Education, AUSMAP & Biodiversity)

  • Isabella Kingston - Casual Project Officer (Tamar Trees, Biodiversity & On Farm Forums)

  • Joshua Steer - Intern Videographer (0.2 FTE Term 2, casual as required)

 

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