Mitchell River Review

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					                                    M I TC H E LL RI V E R W A TE RS H E D M A N AG EM E N T G RO UP I NC         NEW S L ET TE R

                                          Mitchell River Review
                                                                                                 December 2005
Inside this issue:

Fire project update     2
                                  Bellyache bush update –trial spraying
                                  In our last Mitchell Review                                                      and Fiona from
Weedbuster week in      3
Irvinebank                        we talked about the mas-                                                         the Mitchell
                                  sive problem posed by                                                            Group. Apart
Bar Barrum cross        3         bellyache bush (Jatropha                                                         from providing
cultural workshop                 gossypiifolia ).These infes-                                                     advice on the
Working with Cape       3         tations are unique, no                                                           process, the
York                              where else in Queensland-                                                        research staff
What’s happening        4         does bellyache bush grow                                                         were involved to
around the catchemnt              only within the high banks                                                       gather informa-
                                  of the river. This situation                                                     tion to get off-
                                  poses many challenges as The low, dark plant within the river bank   is Belly-   label registra-
       For yo ur                  it means the plant is very ache bush on the Palmer River.                        tion for the her-
    informatio n :                quickly spread when the                                                          bicides. Cur-
                                  river is in flood, it also     trial aerial spray on the              rently, to use these sprays
• Envirofund –Round 8 will open
  for applications in February    means the plant has the        Palmer River and we will               requires a huge amount of
  2006. Community groups          best conditions for grow-      be respraying in April.                paperwork (not to mention
  and individuals can apply
                                  ing (this is why it can        The project involved four              lots of money!). We also
  for grants of up to
  $50,000 (GST inclusive) to      flower and seed all year       Tropical Weed Research                 put in a joint submission
  undertake local projects        round). It also means it is    Centre staff, Russell Gra-             for funding under the De-
  aimed at conserving biodi-
                                  very difficult terrain to get  ham and Trevor Meldrum                 feating Weed Menace
  versity and promoting
  sustainable resource use.       in there and do the work.      from Cape York Weeds                   Program. We will continue
                                  In mid November we did a       and Feral staff, Wendy                 to keep you informed as
• Wild Rivers
        Rivers—want to know
                                                                           Seabrook from                the project progresses.
  more about this legisla-
  tion and what the nomina-                                                Peninsula Pastor-            We will be really chasing
  tion means, how to make                                                  alist Landcare               this issue as bellyache
  a submission ?
                                                                           Committee, Leon              bush spreads for more
  Go to :                                                      Kingsley and Ma-             than 81km on the Palmer
  wildrivers                                                               goo from Mt Mul-             River.
                                                                           grave and Deb
• Are you in the ‘shared’
  Mitchell area? Did you          Aerial spraying starts at the upstream extent
  know that Peninsula Pas-
  toralists Landcare Com-
  mittee also have funding
  for computer training,
  Grazing Land Manage-
  ment, and land rehabilita-
                                  Rivers – health check for the lifeblood of our landscape
  tion projects                   Rivers and streams are the              agricultural activity. One    cern ed about possible im-
• JAMMARR Nursery -
                                  lifeblood o f any region,               way to assess and monitor     pacts from some of the old
  Congratulations to JA-          and the quality and diver-              the health status of the      mines so that is one impact
  MARR who have received          sity of life is dependent on            catchment is through a        that will be tested for. Da-
  funding from Northern           their health. Waterways are             water quality analysis, so    mien will also be seeking
  Gulf and Gambling Com-          only as healthy as their                Damien Burrows from the       local feedb ack to link his
  munity Benefit Fund to          catchments, and the upland              Australian Centre for         research to current commu-
  build a nursery in Mt
  Molloy –well done Rupert        Mitchell River catchment                Tropical Research will        nity concerns, so that an-
  & Juliana !
                                  lies in an area of high                 conduct some assessments.     swers to the most pressing
                                  population pressure and                 We know people are con-       questions can be addressed.
Page 2                                                                                                  Mitchell River Review

Fire Project Update —                       Peter Thompson, Coordinator Fire Project

The 2005 fire season is almost over         satellites have been withdrawn from        improving land management prac-
but a week before Christmas it is still     service, replacements have gen erally      tices. As an example approximately
hot and dry and there are many big          maintained or improved the effective-      20,000 hotspots were record ed in the
fires burning. Predictions that we          ness and reliability of the information    Mitchell Catchment in 2005 with
would have a difficult year have been       over time and this can be seen when        1000 recorded in one week in Decem-
borne out. The map below shows fires        we compare the records. What has           ber.
have occu rred over large areas, most       changed is the level of use and the
notable have been extensive fires in        community expectation that all fires       Next year the fire program will be
the middle reaches o f the catchment,       will be detected and that the informa-     expanding activity to include the pur-
particularly north o f the Mitchell         tion will always be available. There       chasing of Aster satellite imagery to
River itself. Proactive burning was         are many reasons why the current sat-      assist in the development of property
limited because land managers were          ellite system misses some of the fires     scale mapping and working closely
justifiably worried about the potential     that do occur, including cloud cover       with the DPI Grazing Land Manage-
severity of the 2005 season and what        and exactly when the satellite passes      ment Project and landowners in devel-
could happen to the limited feed av ail-    over (you can find an explanation o f      oping sustainable management prac-
able. Maitland Downs did an early           some of these reasons on the fire web -    tices. We are also hoping to develop a
season aeri al burning program and this     site under “ Help – Background” in the     network o f interested people to pro-
proved effective in halting September       main menu). However the Fire Project       vide better access to timely informa-
fires.                                      has survived funding difficulties and      tion to their neighbours/local commu-
                                            continues to provide the only available    nity. It is expected that these keen
Quite a few people have commented           mechanism to monitor fire activity         people would receiv e a small annual
that they thought there was a decline       across the large areas o f North Queen -   contract payment as well as appropri-
in the sensitivity of hotspots in detect-   sland and provide detailed ongoing         ate training so that your community
ing fires. While it is true that ageing     mapping of burnt areas to assist in        has resources at its finger tips.
                                                                                                                               Page 3

Weedbuster week in Irvinebank
 For most people weeds are nothing        Congoo (NR&M Land Protection Of-
short of hard work, but activities or-    fi cer) visited the school to talk about
ganised during Weedbuster week, in        weeds. Andrew and the kids (along
the second week o f October, help get     with their teacher Belinda and Donna
the message out there that weeds are      from Irvinebank Land care) walk ed
everyon e’s problem.                      around the school grounds and identi-
                                          fi ed what weeds are there. Using this
Weedbuster week is a national pro-        inform ation, they will develop a plan
gram that aims to raise awaren ess and    to address the weed issues. One of the
increas e public understanding about      school’s worst weed problems is
the problems weeds cause.                 Mother of Millions.
                                                                                 Andrew Congoo from Natural Resources and Mines
The students of Irvinebank school         Well done Irvinebank, it is activities
showed their enthusiasm tackling en-      like this that foster community owner- talks to the students about costs and other impacts
                                                                                 of weeds.
vironmental issues when Andrew            ship of problems.

Community Awareness grant—Bar Barrum cross cultural workshop
More exciting news for the Bar Bar-       combine Indigenous traditional
rum community at Emuford. Not only        knowledge with science to help get
have they received funding from the       Aboriginal youth back on country.
Foundation for Rural and Regional
                                          The program will provide an ex-
Renewal (FRRR) to buy a second wa-
                                          change of knowledge on natural re-
ter tank, but they have also received
                                          source management including issues
funding from the Department of Natu-
                                          such as fire management and biodi-
ral Resources and Mines. This $2500
                                          versity. In October several commu-
Community Awareness grant is one
                                          nity members completed a tourism
of only 21 in Queensland. So well
                                          course and the May workshop will
done to the Bar Barrum mob.
                                          also provide young people with skills
This grant will be used to run a cross-   to support a cultural tourism venture
                                                                                         Tourism course graduates- include Lily Max
cultural workshop in May that will        on Bar Barrum country.                         and Rob and course teacher Marcy front (L)

Working with Cape York
In early December we had a meeting        Northern Gulf natural resource man-            us a call and we will help you with
with the groups involved in the           agement regions. At this meeting it            some ideas and information and what
‘shared’ area of the Mitchell Catch-      was decided that to make it easier for         to do next so you can get your pro-
ment. What the ‘shared’ area really       people who live in this area , that the        ject happening. (N.B. PPLC provided
means is that people who live on the      Mitchell River Group would be a first          some money towards the Palmer bel-
north side of the Mitchell River have     point of contact. So if you have an            lyache project and Dept of Commu-
the opportunity to access project         idea or a project you would like to do         nities have also provided some funds
funding across both Cape York and         but aren’t sure what to do next give           for catchment management services)
                                                                              Next Mitchell meeting:

    Our Postal Address :
                                                                              January 25 9.30am—2.30pm Dimbulah Bowls Club, Dimbulah
    Mitchell River Watershed Management Group Inc
    PO Box 646N Cairns Q4870                                                  Come along and have your say about management in the Mitchell
    You can find us at :                                                      catchment, raise your issues, find out about funding and hear about ;
    208 McLeod St Cairns
                                                                              Tilapia –Stirling Peverell will tell us how to identify a tilapia, what
    Phone: (07) 4031 3432Fax: (07) 4031 3049
                                                                              to do and who to contact if you have caught one.

                                                                              Wild Rivers– Robin Clark, NR&M Wild River Coordinator will tell us
    Sustainable Management of the Mitchell Catchment.
                                                                              what this legislation really means.

                                         For more information and project updates
                                      Check out our website :

What’s happening around the catchment
•    Mit chell River Wat er Resource                Republic Gold has been doing ex-                  •    Peninsula Past oralist s Landcare
     Plan                                           ploratory work around Northcote and                    Committ ee (PPLC)
                                                    Tregoora for some months to work
The planning is progressing well.                                                                     The PPLC have been very active and
                                                    out how much gold they can recover
There have been three community                                                                       have lots happening on the ground.
                                                    using a process called heap leach-
reference panel (CRP) meetings held                                                                   Properties already involved in GLM
and there will be a fourth meeting in                                                                 ($avannaPlan) include Bamboo, As-
Mareeba in March. This meeting will                 There is a useful website where you               trea, Artemis, Strathburn, Strathmay
be the opportunity for the CRP to                   can find out more about mining                    and Kimba, with lots more interested.
review and provide comment on the                   leases and tenure, go to:                         The computer training is proving very
Draft Water Resource Plan .                                       popular. This joint project between
                                                    webgis/webqmin                                    Landcare and the Fire Project that pro-
Want to find out more, go to:
                                                                                                      vides one-on-one training. If you live                     •    Gully Erosion and Riparian
                                                                                                      on Cape York and would like to be
•    Mining                                                                                           involved call Debbie Gostelow
                                                    There are many projects happening                 40951434. PPLC also have funding for
As commodity prices increase and
                                                    that will increase our understanding              a range of land rehabilitation projects
methods for extracting minerals be-
                                                    of the processes affecting the water-             There has been nearly $300,000 al-
come more efficient there is often an
                                                    ways . Andrew Brooks from Griffith                ready provided for projects. As part of
increase in the level of mining activ-
                                                    University will use satellite photos for          the building the Landcare Ethic project
ity and we are seeing this happen at
                                                    mapping and classifying areas of                  PPLC will also be purchasing tables
the moment around the Mitchell
                                                    gully erosion. This project will study            and chairs for the Lakeland hall - Land-
catchment. Many of you will be
                                                    the Mitchell and Coleman Rivers                   care has something for everyone !
aware that the Alice River gold mine
                                                    (and three others outside the re-
is really picking up and you may
                                                    gion) and will help to work out
have seen the semi trailers carting
                                                    some of the underlying processes
gear in there as the mine and accom-
                                                    that are adding to the erosion, sedi-
modation is being re-established.
                                                    mentation causes are not just about
Wolfram Camp is another site where                  land use. Another project will be
there is a lot of activity happening.               recording information about the
The company has been doing a lot of                 condition of the riparian area
drilling to establish how much mo-                  (between the high banks) of the
lybdenum and wolfram is still avail-                rivers. These projects will help pro-
able and exactly where it can be                    vide information for management
found.                                              and record how well are rivers are Joe Rolfe, Michelle & Margie Innes, Anne & Ashleigh Raymond,
                                                    doing over time.                        Clinton Innes & Rodney Raymond inspect pastures on Kimba as
                                                                                            part of $avannaPlan

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Description: Mitchell River Review