Tuesday, 30 July 2013

RCL AGM - President's Report

Riddells Creek Landcare's AGM - President's Report 

Welcome and Thank You

Welcome everyone to Riddells Creek Landcare’s AGM.

Firstly I want to thank all of our members, for without their support Riddells Creek Landcare would not exist.

Most importantly, I want to thank the 2012-2013 committee for their passion and commitment to ensuring the protection, monitoring and management of our local environment. Without them we would achieve nothing! Ross Colliver our vice-president, Gill Best our secretary, Jacquey Booth our treasurer, our past president Russell Best and general committee members Ian McLean and Bill Hall, and David Francis who resigned last year.


Ways we communicate with our members and the community are via our various email broadcast lists, website (www.riddellscreeklandcare.org.au), new blog ‘Nuts about Nature’ nutsaboutnaturercl.blogspot.com.au, Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Riddells-Creek-Landcare/111041205586118 and brochure. We also advertise our events in community newspapers, local school newsletters and flyers.

Our ‘rclmembers’ email broadcast is used within our membership to inform everyone of upcoming events, and for those without email they receive information via conventional post. Our email broadcast list is also there for members to ask questions and generate discussion on sightings, experiences and interesting facts.

This year we have introduced our new newsletter format, aka our blog, ‘Nuts About Nature’. This newsletter format allows all members to contribute their sightings, interesting stories, little known facts and tips on species identifying skills anytime and allows these articles to reach our membership as they are submitted. Thanks to Russell for getting this up and running!

 We also communicate our activities and upcoming events via our website (www.riddellscreeklandcare.org.au) and continue to archive committee documentation on our committee website and google drive.

Our Facebook page now has 56 Likes. Our Facebook pages reaches out to the wider community letting them know what RCL is up to and allows them to interact with us as well via posts onto the page. Thanks Gill for maintaining our Facebook page!

Another way we promote the group and our interest in flora has been the production of RCL’s book “Macedon Range Flora: A photographic guide to Barrm Birrm”. Produced in 2008, it is still selling copies today and I’ll leave the details of that to Jacquey in her Treasurers’ report later. Since 2008 which saw 208 native plants photographed, RCL members have increased this number to 241 and these can be viewed via the NatureShare collection ‘Barrm Birrm Native Plants, Riddells Creek’.


Riddells Creek Landcare has many projects on the go, including NatureShare, species monitoring and management, Barrm Birrm protection, community education and information which includes our walks and talks and weed eradication.


NatureShare was launched in August 2011 after a huge amount of effort and inspiration from Russell Best and Reily Beacom. Since its launch, there has been a lot of input from the wider community and in the last two years 17,626 species, 9,700 observation and 300 collections have been added, phenomenal! This data contributes to our knowledge and appreciation of our Victorian flora and fauna and is invaluable.

Barrm Birrm protection

Barrm Birrm protection was the instigation for the formation of Riddells Creek Landcare. In 2005 ‘A Statement of Significance’ was prepared by Lachlan Milne and Russell Best to characterise and clarify the importance of this parcel of land. In 2009 Stylidium armeria subsp. pilosifolium (Hairy-leaf Triggerplant) was discovered and formally named by RCL members Russell Best and David Francis along with botanist Neville Walsh, adding weight to the significance of this area. In 2009 RCL made a submission to Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s (MRSC) discussion on the inappropriate subdivision of the Riddells Ranges Estate at their council meeting. Council made 5 recommendations, two of which are of particular interest and which still require action. Firstly, that Council request the State Government to explore the possibility of the acquisition of the land in the estate to add to the other flora and fauna reserves in the area and secondly that Council refer to the next budget, consideration of a funding allocation for the purposes of an expert study of the subject land. Both of these motions still require further action and RCL will be following these up more rigorously over the next year. RCL will continue to remove rubbish and weeds, and we will continue to monitor to the flora and fauna, weeds, erosion, traffic and rubbish throughout Barrm Birrm.

Due to the complexities and lack of action on resolving this inappropriate subdivision we decided to invite standing and running councillors to a discussion on the issues just before the last local council elections. This highlighted to those in attendance the complexities involved in this task. We have also been contacted by one of the landowners to help resolve this issue. Another idea from one of our committee members, Bill Hall (thanks Bill!) was to initiate a
collaboration with RMIT via Roger Hadgraft, Innovation Professor in Engineering Education and Sandra Jones, Professor of Employment Relations and Director of the Centre for Business Education Research (CBER) in the School of Management, to provided ~300 students from RMIT’s School of Management‘s unit ‘Strategic Management’ with complex, real-life situations as a case study. The situation with Barrm Birrm was seen to be complex enough to provide a good case.  The primary purpose was to support the students learning, build a relationship with RMIT, and of course for RCL to get some fresh ideas on how to move forward with action on Barrm Birrm Protection. During the semester the students worked on various scenarios of enhancing RCL, Ross Colliver and Russell Best presented RCL background and point of view. Thank you both for this!

The final presentation of a selection of students will be available on RCL’s website soon, but in the meantime here’s Ross’ summary on the final submission of the students...

“To make Riddells Creek Landcare stronger ......

1.  Give your members opportunities to do the things they want to do.  Keep the focus on

     protection of native flora and fauna, education, and support members’ interests and help

     them to form teams around specific projects that they manage themselves.

2.  Make the most of the skills and innovations within RCL, in particular its knowledge of,

     and tools for recording flora and fauna.

3.  Reach out to residents of Riddells Creek who aren’t yet members, and invite them in to your

     activities. Emphasise the values and beliefs behind what you do – that we have a    
     responsibility to look after our environment, and that learning about the flora and fauna of 
     Riddells is enjoyable and part of being a real resident.

4.  Keep track of how happy people are in their projects, because enthusiastic people is will

     spread the word about RCL, and bring in new ideas.

5.  To win protection for Barrm Birrm, find corporate partners willing to fund you for several 
     years to make BB part of a wider wildlife corridor. Don’t wait for government funding to start 
     this process.”

Species Monitoring and Management

Our endangered plant management project focuses mainly on the rail reserves. The threatened and endangered flora species we are trying to protect include Diuris punctata var. punctata,  Dianella amoena,  Geranium sp.1, Senecio cunninghamii var. Cunninghamii and the fauna species include  Trapezites luteus luteus and Jalmenus icilius. To date we have been unsuccessful in our funding applications to implement this management plan, but are currently awaiting an outcome from Caring for Country.

RCL conducted the yearly Diuris punctata survey in November 2012. During this survey plant numbers were again low due to low rainfall. Also towards the end of 2012 the gate restricting access to Biosite 3588 was repaired, Dianella amoena was planted on the rail reserve and Russell made a recommendation to DSE and V/Line to do their prescribed burn in two parts to protect butterfly species.

As well as keeping an eye on threatened species, we are always on the lookout for new species sightings. These are always happening and are now recorded on our blog ‘Nuts About Nature’, there are too many to mention, so I encourage you to check it out for yourself, the photography is fantastic, thanks Russell!

To assist our members monitor and record what species abide in and traverse their own backyards the committee has purchase 5 infrared digital cameras. The committee has been trialling these cameras so we can answer all your questions about how best to use. We will be holding a launch event during the second half of this year to let you know all about them.

Three great reasons why you should have a go and use them....

1. Find out what animals live at or visit your place: Focus on water points or favoured habitat. Do this at different seasons and notice how animal life (for example birds) changes with the seasons.

2. Find out what animals are passing through your place:  Look for animal pathways, breaks in fences, connections to the wider landscape.

3. Share your learning:  Write down and show us some photos of what you’ve found and learned. Post the report on the RCL blog ‘Nuts About Nature’ and share your observations on NatureShare

Here are some of the photos that have been taken on the cameras.....

Community Education and Information

Thanks Russell for leading two very successful and well attended walks over the last year. On September 2nd 2012 we held our annual community ‘Wildflower and Wattle Walk’ and on October 27th we held our ‘Spring Walk through Barrm Birrm’ with RCL and Australian Plant Society Mitchell members. On December 4th 2012 we held an end of year ‘Insect Event’ with the Entomological Society of Victoria. We all joined for a BBQ dinner followed by a walk through Barrm Birrm and the Entomological Society of Victoria put up some moth sheets to attract some night visitors. Unfortunately it was a bit chilly for our insect friends that night so many decided to stay home and missed the chance to show us their glory.

Clean Up Australia Day

In March 2013 we participated once again in Clean Up Australia Day - Barrm Birrm. Thanks to 13 volunteers who spent the morning picking up rubbish to keep our bush clean and safe for both ourselves and our wildlife. We are happy to report that each year the volume of rubbish decreases, but of course there are always those who use it as a dump for household furniture and appliances. We are grateful to MRSC for removing the rubbish we collect.

Landholder Schemes

Information about schemes landholders can apply for are advertised on our website and include the Melbourne Water’s (MW) Stream Frontage Program and Healthy Farms for Healthy Waterways, Trust for Nature and Land for Wildlife. Many of our members participate and benefit from these programs. We have also promoted, and our members have been involved in, Port Philip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority’s (PPWCMA) Small Farm Planning Workshop and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries program, soon to be up and running, Riddells Creek Serrated Tussock Project.

Landholders can also become involved in programs to help MW monitor our local environment. We have members involved in both their WaterWatch and Frog Census projects. Christina Cheers, president of Jacksons Creek EcoNetwork (JCEN) compiles results from all members groups involved in WaterWatch, why not have a look www.jcen.org.au/waterwatch. While things are looking good at Riddells Creek, monitoring by JCEN members has alerted MW to contamination events which have been followed up. If you would like to become involved check out the links on our website.

Rid Riddell of Weeds

We are continuing our weeding efforts on public land in Riddells Creek. Through funding provided by MRSC we have be able to continue our partnership with Greening of Riddell to eradicate outbreaks of Carpet weed/Blanket Weed (Galenia pubescens) as they are observed by the community.  We are also tackling other weed areas.


We have been successful in receiving $800 for weed control from MRSC and $500 from PPWCMA to help with administrative costs, which we use to help cover the cost of insurance for our members. We are awaiting the results of two grants: 1. To purchase sound recording equipment and 2. To implement our Rail Reserve Management Plan.

Political Activity

RCL is a member of the Jacksons Creek EcoNetwork, a network of 11 Landcare and Friends groups along Jacksons Creek and its tributaries. This network allows us to keep in touch with other natural resource management groups more effectively so we can coordinate events, projects, political activism and funding opportunities with greater effect. It also gives us a greater voice with organisations such as MW, PPWCMA and MRSC. We also have representation in Riddells Creek Sustainability and Transition Town Riddell. RCL also has a presence at the Riddells Creek Farmers Market and at the CFA expos. RCL has also made submissions to the Urban Growth Boundary, Riddells Creek Town Structure Plan Issue Paper and NCART and have been active in meeting with councillors.

What can we look forward to over the next twelve months?

·   Barrm Birrm protection: continuing to lobby MRSC to fulfil their commitment to request the 
    State Government to explore the possibility of the acquisition of the land in the estate, to add 
     to the other flora and fauna reserves in the area and to carry out an experty study of the land.

·    NatureShare: continue to encourage community involvment and watch NatureShare evolve.

·    Community education and information: more walks and talks, Clean up Australia Day,     
     WaterWatch and Frog Census.and more involvment with local schools.

·    Species monitoring and protection: continue monitoring our local enviornment for new 
     species and changes to species populations. Source funds to implement the Rail Reserve 
     Manangement Plan.

·    Rid Riddell of Weeds: continued efforts on weed control.

·    Wildlife Corridor: continue lobbying for the establishment of a wildlife corridor from 
     Macedon Park to Conglomerate Gully.

·    Junior Landcare: to establish a RCL Junior Landcare group.

·    Grant applications: source funds to support our projects.

·    And more..........

Once again I want to thank the RCL committee, Ross, Gill, Jacquey, Russell, Ian and Bill, for all their hard work over the past year in continuing the effort to preserve and protect our local environment.

Narelle Sutton