Land Care Group engages community in local environment issues

Tilba Tilba and South Narooma Land Care Group members recently spent an afternoon discovering the significance of remnant saltmarsh areas along Tilba Tilba Lake foreshore.

Dr Michael Hughes, who has been researching the saltmarsh, came from Sydney in March to discuss his work with the group on a guided walk.

Saltmarsh in estuaries provides an important habitat for a variety of animals and plants, but is threatened by a range of developments and pollution. Monitoring is important to identify threats and help with management decisions.

Dr Hughes, Principal Research Scientist and Senior Team Leader Water and Wetlands, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and his team, have been undertaking experiments and observations on saltmarsh areas for the past couple of years. In particular they are assessing the impact which recent fencing and revegetation works have had on saltmarsh in intermittently opening and closing lakes and lagoons such as Tilba Tilba Lake.

President of Tilba Tilba and South Narooma Land Care Group, Geoff Pryor said the group was shown a wide variety of saltmarsh plants and inspected the installation of various pieces of equipment testing greenhouse gas emissions or sequestration and groundwater levels.

Mr Pryor said, “Our Land Care Group aims to work collaboratively with other local groups and individuals to increase our appreciation of the district’s natural landscape, waters and ecology as well as our cultural heritage. This saltmarsh walk is just one step in this direction. It also demonstrates our relationships with local and State government bodies working in the area.”

“We are planning to work with the community over the next few years to try to identify the aspects of our natural and cultural environment which make our region such a special place for us all, whilst supporting the sustainable use of these outstanding assets.”

Specific initiatives being developed in the coming year include:

· A workshop on a weed identification app.

· A forum on ideas underpinning regenerative agriculture.

· Working with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment on taking water samples along the catchment of Victoria Creek to assess the impact of work being done by landowners and Local Land Services along that watercourse. That project could lead to identifying bird and fish species in the watercourse.

Mr Pryor said that it was rewarding to see membership of the Land Care Group increasing fourfold in the past eight months as residents, farmers, business owners and others contribute to its future direction. “As the group grows, we welcome locals becoming group members,” he said.

As its name suggests, the Group focuses on positive long-term sustainable outcomes for the land and waters bounded generally by Wagonga Inlet to the north, Gulaga Mountain to the west, Montague Island to the east, Dignams Creek to the south west and Walaga Lake to the south east.