It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve recently completed a Masters and commenced PhD study at ANU. On ground Landcare activity at Flood Creek has continued, but I haven’t had the time to write about it. Also, to be honest, I’ve been a bit disheartened of late for various reasons and my engagement has dropped off proportionately. However, as I say, there have been on-ground developments and I hope to provide a few updates over the next little while. As always, please email any contributions you may have: icare(at)nonnativistlandcare(dot)org
Right now I’m just posting to point out that South East Local Land Services has put out a call for comment on its new “Strategic” Weed Management Plan. If you like the English language, and have a preference for clear communication, you’ll hate the form they’ve provided to direct your input. But please have a go. Read the plan here. Comment (you can skip the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ section if you want) here.
I’ve already provided my own feedback and will copy and paste this below. There are plenty of other comments to be made, but I don’t have that much time to donate. Also, given how much effort they’ve clearly put into directing the feedback they receive, I doubt they have the organisational capacity to authentically engage with their community.
Despite this, hopefully others will be able to mention the wider benefits of a more ecological approach to environmentalism and agriculture, and spare a word for the obvious dangers of herbicides and aerial baiting programs, etc…
Here is my own brief comment which I hope makes a point about ongoing willow destruction activities in the southern part of the SELLS management region, as well as recent disastrous activity near Braidwood.
“On the content of the strategic document, I don’t have a lot of time to donate, so will stick to one main point: why are all salix species listed as weeds to be targeted?
These trees provide both productivity and environmental benefits, including (but not limited to) essential riparian habitat for many native species as well as shade and fodder for stock. Given recent record-breaking heat waves and a continually warming global climate (surely we’re all scientists at SELLS aren’t we?), both stock and native wildlife will increasingly rely upon the dense shade provided by riparian willows as heat refuges.
As such, I am dismayed to know that SELLS and other similar organisations are continuing to provide taxpayer-funded incentives to landholders to allow the destruction of these landscape assets. I realise there is funding made available for SELLS to do so, however I question the ethics of this course of action given the realities I have spelled out above. Landholders who retain riparian willows will see dramatic benefits from a productivity and wildlife habitat perspective compared to those whose trees have been destroyed using funding which is actually intended for environmental benefit.
As I say, the fact that this funding is available does not make willow destruction an appropriate course of action. It is up to the managers currently working within SELLS to formulate a clear policy which foregoes ongoing destruction of riparian vegetation and actively discourages well-meaning, but horribly misguided landholders from pursuing this counterproductive activity.
The Flood Creek Non-nativist Landcare Group has commenced a trial of non-destructive revegetation along Flood Creek near Braidwood, NSW. We have received much support and approval from sections of the community who would not normally bother to interact with SELLS or respond to requests for feedback such as this one. We would be delighted to host any representative of SELLS who wanted to come and see how very easy it is to simply reintroduce native species without first destroying the existing non-native habitat or disturbing the mixed ecology that currently stabilises so many of our riparian systems.
In summary: Please remove or substantially amend your current blanket reference to all salix species as weeds of concern. Please reconsider your current funding of environmentally destructive vegetation removal in our region’s riparian systems. Please come and see for yourself how easy it is to achieve agriculturally productive environmental outcomes through non-destructive Landcare activity by visiting us at Flood Creek in Braidwood. My phone number is 04XXXXXXXX. I’d love to hear from anyone in your organisation willing to see and learn something new. Regards, Ben”