MLC project update - December 2012

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From the K2C Groundcover newsletter. By Lauren Van Dyke

Monaro landscape connectivity

This project has had some very well attended workshops recently and some not so. We are now winding down our workshop phase where we have been encouraging landholders to sit with us for a few hours to learn about this great project.

Our workshops in the Michelago and Googong regions were all full to the brim. Workshops in Cooma, Bungendore and Nimmitabel were a little on the light side and unfortunately we had to cancel the planned Adaminaby workshop (due to lack of attendees).

Our goal for the MLC Project is to engage 18 land managers to protect/enhance 240 ha of threatened ecological communities ie native grasslands and box gum woodlands . While we can meet the required number of landholders, it is challenging to find suitable vegetation quality and size to meet our criteria. So, if any natural resource management on - ground operators or landholders themselves are familiar with people in the broader Monaro region who may have these vegetation types on their properties, and not already under a covenant or incentive plan, then we would be really keen to hear from you.

Many landholders at the workshops and/or at our many site visits have been really impressed with Rod Mason’s perspectives on native landscapes and how and where we and the animals fit into them. Rod has brought a very valuable element to this project. One common traditional practice espoused by Rod is the patch burning of vegetation to let the earth breath and/or to rejuvenate existing species. See our TLMP report highlighting a trial burn we performed on a property early this year in Carwoola, NSW.

On a recent site visit to a Yaouk property called “Cloud Range” the MLC team learned about how freshwater mussels that live in the mud on the bottom of the Murrumbidgee River are dug up by native water rats ( Hydromys chrysogaster) who then bring them to shore for consumption. We were also delighted to be shown some pristine ephemeral lakes on the same property. These shallow crystal clear lakes are just metres from the Murrumbidgee River. Upland ephemeral lakes are recognized by both the state and federal governments as threatened vegetation communities.

MLC project site visits

Photo on left: Michael Adams (Landholder), MLC Project team: Felicity Collins (MCMA), Rod Mason (Indigenous Land Manager) and Geoff Robertson (K2C President) being shown freshwater mussel shells brought to the bank of the Murrumbidgee River by native water rats. Photo on right: Ephemeral lake located on the “Cloud Range” property.