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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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ecological restoration

Reseeding the Alpine Ash and Mountain Ash forests

There is no doubt that our fire seasons are getting longer and more intense and this is starting to have potentially landscape changing impacts. There is concern that Alpine Ash forests could be wiped out in some areas where fire comes in multiple waves before the recovering trees can set seed. Parts of north eastern Victoria have been burnt three times in a decade. Mountain Ash forests face similar threats.

It is tragic that fires are so frequent and intense that we face the prospect of seeing these vegetation communities collapse. There are many ways we must respond: acting decisively on climate change, and protecting these forests from wildfire and over logging. Aerial seeding programs also aim to help these forests survive.

Continue reading “Reseeding the Alpine Ash and Mountain Ash forests”

The Environment Recovery Project – post fire observations

As many burnt areas reopen, it is now possible to get into much of the High Country and surrounding foothills. The impacts of this fire season are obvious across so much of the Alps, the mountains of the ACT and East Gippsland.

The Environment Recovery Project is an online tool that allows people to pool their observations about nature with other people on the iNaturalist Australia website. A new project allows you to contribute your observations about ecological recovery in recently burnt areas.

Continue reading “The Environment Recovery Project – post fire observations”

Registrations for this summer’s Hawkweed survey program in VIC Alps are now open

Hawkweed is a highly invasive pest plant species which could cause major environmental damage in alpine and sub-alpine areas of Australia if not eradicated early. For several years there has been an annual volunteer program held on the Bogong High Plains. Volunteer recruitment for the 2018/2019 season of the Falls Creek Hawkweed Eradication Program Volunteer Surveys is now open.

Continue reading “Registrations for this summer’s Hawkweed survey program in VIC Alps are now open”

Bringing the Mountain Pygmy Possum back from the brink

The Mountain Pygmy Possum (MPP) is Australia’s only hibernating marsupial. It has been declared by the IUCN Redlist as being Critically endangered. In 2000, the population estimate was less than 2,000 individuals from the three combined isolated populations that exist across the Australian Alps.

A number of ski resorts have been running possum recovery programs. They are delivering some excellent results and represent true good news stories for this critically endangered species.

Georgina Boardman is the Technical Services and Environment Officer at the Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board, where she and the rest of the Environmental Team work to protect the Mountain Pygmy Possum population on the mountain.

You can read about her story and work to protect the possum here.

English Broom volunteer weekend

Parks Victoria is organising a weekend working bee near Omeo to tackle the invasive English Broom, through helping to release biocontrol agents (beetles and mites). It will happen over the weekend of 24th – 26th November.

Continue reading “English Broom volunteer weekend”

Fears over Snowy River’s health without independent monitor

The Snowy Mountains scheme, built between 1949 and 1974, diverts the water of the Snowy River and some of its tributaries, much of which originally flowed southeast onto the river flats of East Gippsland, inland to the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers irrigation areas. This has caused the health of the Snowy to decline dramatically.

Following long running campaigns, the Snowy Water Inquiry was established in January 1998. The Inquiry recommended an increase to 15% of natural flows. In 2000, Victoria and NSW agreed to a long-term target of 28%, requiring A$375 million of investment to offset losses to inland irrigators. It has been hoped that this increase in flow will help the health of the river system improve.

However there have been ongoing fears that the flows are not being properly managed in a way that will maximise environmental benefits. In 2013, the NSW Government abolished the Snowy’s scientific monitor and a replacement body, announced in 2014, has not yet been established. As pointed out recently by ecologists, without an independent monitor, there is a risk that the health of the river will go backwards.

Continue reading “Fears over Snowy River’s health without independent monitor”

Alpine Ecology Course 2017

The Research Centre for Applied Alpine Ecology is pleased to announce details of its 2017 Alpine Ecology Course.  This is an exciting opportunity to learn about the plants, animals, land-forms and soils that make up alpine ecosystems. The course is designed for people who are involved in natural resource management or conservation activities in alpine and other natural environments.

It will be held on the Bogong High Plains from the 5th – 10th February 2017.

Further information available here.

Restoring the West Kiewa

The following report outlines the excellent weed removal and restoration of indigenous species which has been happening along the West Kiewa River in the section above and around Mt Beauty in north east Victoria.

It comes from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Continue reading “Restoring the West Kiewa”

Ecological restoration in the NSW Alps

Mountain Journal has previously profiled Elizabeth MacPhee, who has been working to restore damaged sections of the NSW Alps since 1990.

She has worked to restore ski runs, walking tracks, grazing damage, post fire repair and damage from hydro electric schemes.

Continue reading “Ecological restoration in the NSW Alps”

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