In early August 2017, the Port Phillip and Westernport CMA hosted five Catchment Action Round Tables (CARTs) across the region.

These annual workshops bring Landcare groups and networks, local government, and NRM agencies together to identify opportunities for collaboration and coordination.

Over the course of the workshops, they develop a shared understanding of each other’s roles, actions and plans, built strong relationships and designed high quality biodiversity conservation projects for their catchments.

Below is a wrap up of each CART. For more information contact Sarah Halligan (Mornington Peninsula and Western Port) on sarah.halligan@ppwcma.vic.gov.au or 0427 492 990 or Anthony Dufty (Werribee, Yarra, Diamond Creek/Middle Yarra and Northern) on anthony.dufty@ppwcma.vic.gov.au or 0439 003 765.

Please note that the CART for the northern region has been postponed until September 2017 (UPDATE: the Northern CART was held on 20th September 2017. Read a wrap up of this event).

Mornington Peninsula

  • 25 participants
  • 10 Landcare groups and Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network attended
  • Other NRM organisations included Vic Roads, Trust for Nature, Western Port Biosphere, Agriculture Victoria and PPWCMA
  • Projects discussed on the day focused around managing roadside vegetation. The main issues being identified were lack of funding by Mornington Peninsula Shire and VicRoads, lack of education (consultants/contractors, road managers, community). Vic Roads attended the CART for the first time and will feed information back to their organisation.

  

Diamond Creek/Middle Yarra

  • 18 participants
  • 10 community groups and two Landcare Networks (Nillumbik Landcare Network and Middle Yarra Landcare Network) attended
  • Other NRM organisations included Melbourne Polytechnic, Nillumbik Shire Council, Melbourne Water, Wurundjerri Narrap Team and PPWCMA
  • Projects discussed on the day included:
    1. Reducing woody weeds in forests and woodlands proposed by Nillumbik Landcare Network
    2. Protecting large old trees that contain hollows from decline and destruction from firewood/grazing pressure/dieback proposed by Arthurs Creek Landcare Group, Christmas Hills Landcare Group and Nillumbik Landcare Network
    3. Controlling weeds and pest animals on upper tributaries of the Arthurs Creek proposed by Melbourne Water
    4. Protecting native vegetation on grazing properties from overgrazing and erosion proposed by Yarra Valley Equestrian LG and Nillumbik Horse Action Group

   

Werribee

  • 17 participants
  • 7 community groups and Moorabool Landcare Network attended
  • Other NRM organisations included DELWP, Melbourne Water, Southern RuraL Water, Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative, Wyndham Shire Council, Moorabool Shire Council, Parks Victoria
  • Projects discussed on the day included:
    1. Controlling deer, pigs and goats in parks and adjacent land by trapping and shooting proposed by Parks Victoria
    2. Controlling woody/high threat weeds in high quality vegetation in Wombat State Forest and around Blackwood proposed by Melbourne Water

   

Western Port, Bass Coast and South Gippsland

  • 28 participants
  • 8 Landcare groups and 2 Landcare networks (Western Port Catchment Landcare Network and Bass Coast Landcare Network) attended
  • Other NRM organisations included Cardinia Shire, Phillip Island Nature Parks, Parks Victoria, Trust for Nature, Agriculture Victoria, Cardinia Environment Coalition and Emtrain Fire and Community Safety
  • Projects discussed on the day included:
    1. Improving food habitat for the Brown Butterfly
    2. A potential overlay for the Southern Brown Bandicoot in the Bunyip, Tynong and Garfield townships
    3. Habitat for the Warragul Borrowing Crayfish
    4. Eucalypt decline
    5. Pittosporum taskforce
    6. Conservation corridor along Cardinia Catchment from Healesville to Phillip Island
    7. Indigenous training for young Landcarers
    8. Citizen Science initiative
    9. Wildlife corridors
    10. Weed and feral animal control

   

Yarra

  • 28 participants
  • 8 community groups and Yarra Ranges Landcare Network attended
  • Other NRM organisations included Swinburne University, Yarra Ranges Shire Council, Melbourne Water, DELWP, Wurrundjeri Narrap Team, PPWCMA (Yarra4Life)
  • Projects discussed on the day included:
    1. Undertaking weed and pest animal control and revegetation to restore He Ho, Leadbeaters Possum native riparian vegetation proposed by Macclesfield Landcare Group
    2. Running a soil/pasture conference to help reverse depletion of organic matter from topsoil
    3. Undertaking weed control to restore Yering Backswamp proposed by Melbourne Water
    4. Controlling feral animals especially Deer in Sedge rich Eucalyptus camphora forest at Coranderrk proposed by Friends of Leadbeaters Possum

  

 

The CARTs are supported by the PPWCMA, through funding from the National Landcare Programme and the Victorian Landcare Program.
For more information on CARTs see the Building the Capacity of Landcare Groups page on this website.

On Tuesday 25th July 2017, nine women from the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA’s Women in Sustainable Agriculture (WiSA) group met with Farming Together consultant Kerry Anderson to discuss business and marketing plans for their agriculture businesses and to develop a plan for WiSA.

The group were successful in receiving the expert advice thanks to the support of the PPWCMA’s Sustainable Land Management Coordinator, Sarah Halligan. The Farming Together program, delivered by Southern Cross University, is a two-year, $13.8 million initiative from the Australian Government designed to help agricultural groups value-add, secure premium pricing, scale-up production, attract capital investment, earn new markets and secure lower input costs.

Sarah said being able to work together was the key to WiSA’s success.

“Members of the group recognise a clear need to develop better support networks. Working collaboratively with other like-minded primary producers helps to ensure that their products are marketed to the best advantage.”

Farming Together project director Lorraine Gordon said that their program can support agriculture from the ground upwards and WiSA’s involvement was good example of it’s direct impact.

“The program is farmer-driven and has attracted unprecedented levels of engagement. In barely 10 months we have had interaction with 16,000 farmers, fishers and foresters across the country and across many commodity groups.”

For those interested in being involved in WiSA, join the WiSA Facebook group and follow the group on Instagram.

For more information on the Farming Together program go to www.farmingtogether.com.au

WiSA is part of the Sustainable Agriculture project. The project is supported by the PPWCMA, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme. For more information contact Sarah Halligan on 03 8781 7900.

 

Farm paddock trees are an iconic image across our rural landscape, however many paddock trees are reaching senescence and there is very little recruitment of new trees. Grazing pressures, nutrient build up, soil compaction, insect attack and ring barking by livestock are leading to their premature mortality.

If something isn’t done now to reverse this loss research shows that most paddock trees will be lost in the next 50 years.

On Sunday 11 June 2017, 15 people took part in a trial on a property on French Island to promote the germination of farm paddock trees.

They experimented with two different trial methods used to promote germination of soil-stored tree seed, these methods include scraping and dense planting of black wattles.

Guest speaker Gidja Walker demonstrated how indigenous species have seeds that persist in the soil for decades. Black Wattle grow fast and rapidly colonise disturbed land and fix nitrogen in the soil.

Farmers attending the event have increased skills and knowledge to trial these methods on their own farms, ensuring the survival of paddock trees and maintaing productive farms through quality shade and shelter for livestock.

This event was part of the Sustainable Agriculture project. The project is supported by the PPWCMA, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme. For more information contact Sarah Halligan on 03 8781 7900.

The Port Phillip and Western Port Women in Sustainable Agriculture (WiSA) leadership group has provided women in our catchment, ongoing opportunities to develop, enhance and share their skills, knowledge, confidence to promote sustainable agriculture in the Western Port region.

Since the September 2016 leadership workshop, the women of diverse commodities have organised events and tours in agriculture and sustainable food production, in their key areas of expertise.

The group has a very active and growing Facebook group, with more women from the Western Port region coming on board.

WiSA met on Friday 31 March for a tour of some successful agribusinesses on the Mornington Peninsula. The group visited Pure Peninsula HoneyRed Hill Cherry Farm and Peninsula-Fresh Organics to discuss marketing and social media. The tour was organised by two women in the group, that work in Agriculture, Lisa Brassington (Peninsula Fresh Organics) and Karina Charlesworth (Red Hill Cherry Farm).

Praise for WiSA

“My experience with WiSA so far is that of connection to and networking with women who are on the land, and making all efforts towards more sustainable methods of farming. Programs such as WISA go a long way towards making this happen. I am very grateful to be part of WiSA and to journey with a group of women towards their stated needs and goals.”
Holly Desmond – Education Permaculture Inspiration Community Inc (EPIC)

“WISA, for me, has been all about networking, sharing knowledge with like minded people and learning new and exciting skills which can be adapted to my own sustainable farming and business practices. I’m often in awe of the talented, knowledgeable and inspirational people who form this group. The program format enables all of us to contribute and to receive. It’s all about getting the word out….it’s doing a good job.”
Melissa Vanin – Fielderberry Farm

“WISA has introduced me to vibrant women in different fields of agriculture. Learning about the benefits and the ins and outs of social media has been fascinating. Training in leadership and communication has been carried over to the 4 other voluntary groups I am with. Thanks to the team.”
Lyn Link  – Grazing Farmer

“The feedback from the women who have been involved in the group has been amazing. I am really pleased with how knowledgeable, passionate, caring and sharing the women are with each other which provides a tremendous support and friendship. The group has also provided a platform for women in agriculture to learn, grow and expand their land management and agribusiness skills whilst stepping outside their comfort zone in a safe environment”.
Port Phillip & Westernport CMA’s Sustainable Land Management Coordinator, Sarah Halligan

What’s next

The group will continue to be supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme through the PPWCMA agricultural district until June 2018 to assist the them to carry out their action plans and achieve their goals.

The group also recently received additional expert support through the Australian Government and Southern Cross Universities Farming Together program. The program has been well received by WiSA members and related well with the ‘invisible farmer’ principles of sustainability, connectivity, community, capability and honouring the contributions and leadership of farming women of the past, in the present and into the future.

 

For more information on the WiSA program, contact PPWCMA’s Sarah Halligan on 03 8781 7908 or sarah.halligan@ppwcma.vic.gov.au.
Image by Jenny O’Sullivan.

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