Welcome to Upfront Outback
We always knew our field team were a talented lot, but we never thought it ran to paleontology. Their recent sojourn at The Australian Age of Dinosaurs (AAOD) included comfortable, air conditioned accommodation (thanks AAOD), as well as a personal tour of the fossils in the preparatory workshop with George.
Thirty minutes later, while spraying prickle trees at the base of the jump-up, Jason Dolgner held up a rock to Jason Smith and said, “Hey, isn’t this the stuff George just showed us?” In his hand, he held what AAOD founder, David Elliott, thinks is a fragment of sauropod hip bone.
David believes it was unknowingly turned out of the earth by a machine when they were fencing off the AAOD jump-up some years earlier. However it came to be exposed, it is the first fossil discovery on AAOD land where their multi-million dollar museum is currently in its final stage of development. Most of their fossils come from 50 kilometres away on David’s property, Belmont.
Editor’s note: funding from DCQ was instrumental in the site being fenced off after it was donated to AAOD by Peter and Carol Britton.
Despite the dramatic 2014 loss of funding in the sector, Landcare is still doing great things, and D C Solutions is proud to have been able to showcase a recent effort to the world. Our digital producer, Alun Hoggett, travelled to Newcastle Waters for a Barkly Landcare producer workshop.
Twenty-five producers covering 6,530,000 ha across the Barkly Tablelands the Roper River and Victoria River (on the WA border)turned up to get their hands on sustainable production research, knowledge networks, resources and information that they wouldn’t normally be able to access.
Alun captured the action and cut it into another quality video, now on our Youtube channel, available to people who couldn’t make it on the day, and the rest of the world. If you’re interested in how to manage Mitchell Grass, you should watch this.
While our HEAT (High-value Environmental Area Target) program has been simmering along in the background for most of the year, it came to the boil with our recent work on Mountain View, Mount Landsborough and the Australian Age of Dinosaurs (AAOD) land.
All three are upstream of Bladensburg National Park, so controlling the declared pest plants Parkinsonia and Prickly Acacia, both of whose seeds are water-borne, offers the Park major protection against reinfestation.
AAOD provided the field team with quality accommodation for their sojourn, and Peter Britton of Mount Landsborough and Mountain View contributed half the chemical used on his properties.
Our HEAT program protects high value areas such as vegetation communities or species listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, properties abutting National Parks, migratory species habitat, or refugia crucial in a changing climate.
Even though we’ve been busy on other things, our passive pig monitoring system of remote, motion-sensing cameras spread at strategic spots across the Channel Country, has been quietly recording numbers. A recent field trip to change the memory cards and batteries has delivered a trove of images to be processed – these will tell us how many pigs are where, so we then know where to focus our culling efforts to give the best result.
Our next shoot will cover 12,00 hectares on the lower Cooper, not just preventing feral pigs from progressing downstream to the RAMSAR listed Coongie Lakes and other valuable wetlands, but also protecting local Grey Grasswren and Painted Snipe habitats from destruction and predation.
Like all our projects, we work closely with landholders, and really appreciate their hospitality, smokos, chopper fuel, local knowledge and ongoing support.
Three proactive organisations in the fight against Prickly Acacia have combined their knowledge, experience and drive to further their aim of eradicating this insidious weed from the highly productive grasslands of the northern Lake Eyre Basin and the southern Gulf of Carpentaria.
After years of research, development and on ground action, perfecting their individual, successful approaches, Desert Channels Queensland, Southern Gulf NRM and Biosecurity Queensland joined forces at a recent meeting in Longreach to launch their combined assault.
The need to protect the productive and environmental values of the Mitchell Grass country and surrounding areas has long been recognized. The agreed framework, which combines the over 40 years experience and expertise of the three organisations, is a clear roadmap to achieving this. Momentum will build as producers and other Government organisations join the cause.
This collaboration, armed with an ever-increasing set of innovative techniques, will deliver immediate benefits. Coordinated action across the whole of northwest Queensland is aimed at increasing productive pasture to support our regional economies, and protecting the environmental health of the region’s rivers and waterways.
The goal of eradicating Prickly Acacia from our grasslands is ambitious and challenging, but remarkably achievable. By combining the strengths of the three organisations, and working together with landholders, we can achieve far more than any of us can by ourselves.
Together, we can do this!