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SPIFFA newsletter

Southern Peninsula Indigenous Flora and Fauna Association
Here is the latest version of the SPIFFA newsletter.
February Speaker

Our first monthly meeting for the year is this Monday the sixth of February
The speaker is Harry Breidahl a marine/coastal ecosystems (among other things) expert, prolific author and educator

Tootgarook Swamp

The shire has been very receptive and helpful with the investigations and processes required to make a case for nomination as a Ramsar site. Federal environment department officers have said encouraging things. DSE's official response is less enthusiastic about such a listing at this stage, but these days with DSE it's getting hard to differentiate between genuine professional decisions based on science etc. and ministerial mandated, retrograde positions, on a whole range of issues such as old growth logging, cattle in national parks, the excessive burning of the state's forests (and deserts) etc etc
Supporting an international wildlife treaty nomination, in this instance at odds with a planned freeway to nowhere in particular cutting the swamp in half in the medium term future, will be difficult if not impossible for DSE

Meanwhile the private owner of by far the largest property in the nominal 800-odd hectares of remnant swampland has stated that he'd be happy to have his (newly covenanted) land included in the nomination

The Land Subject to Inundation Overlay

SPIFFA has been asked to submit to the public hearing of the panel appointed to finalise the new flood overlay (amendment C150) To cut a long story short, this new overlay maps and vests final planning consent with Melbourne Water as the authority responsible for waterways and their flood plains. This is probably a good thing... See the attachments for a simple explanation. The map shows how far into poorly zoned areas of West Rosebud the flood plain extends
So things are moving along very nicely...
The last 6 months has seen the profile of this wetland asset irreversibly raised and possibly, incremental infill developments will no longer be seen as business as usual

New Friends

The shire owned reserve areas of the northern swamp now have new allies, the Friends of Tootgarook Wetland Reserves
See their Facebook page here
Great pictures
Their interest lies in the Sanctuary Park reserve surrounding the stalled development site, 9 St Elmos Ave, the Tootgarook Wetland reserve abutting the Truemans Road sports reserve and habitat linkages between them and the coast, along the old creek course. The next monthly gathering is on the 4th of February at Tootgarook Wetland Reserve, via the entrance next to the Sports Reserve netball courts. 10am to 12pm. A good time to look at this little hidden reserve. See you there

Workshops

We ran a Fouress Foundation invertebrates workshop last sunday week featuring entomologist Ian Faithfull and part of his large private collection of insects. We'll be repeating that particular workshop and will notify via email and website when a date is finalised. More workshops are in the pipeline, Stay tuned...

An Australian eco-disaster?

If you haven't heard about Myrtle Rust click here

A sample:

  1. All members of the Myrtaceae plant family are potential hosts of myrtle rust. It attacks young, soft, actively growing leaves, shoot tips and young stems, as well as the fruits and flowers of susceptible plants.
  2. Plants at risk include gum trees, bottlebrush, tea tree, lilly pilly, paperbark, myrtle, guava, midyim, rose apple, brush box and New Zealand Christmas bush.
  3. Under the right conditions, it could slow regeneration of the Victoria's native forests after harvesting or bushfire and even change forest biodiversity.
  4. DPI should be notified immediately of any plants in Victoria suspected of being infected with myrtle rust.

Yes, gum trees... It's fairly new in Oz and has migrated both north and south from the first identified outbreak now been found in at least 3 commercial nurseries on the peninsula, which were closed down for some days while plants were treated. See the attached fact sheets

Housekeeping

Memberships are due at the beginning of each calendar year and can be paid using the paper form in the newsletter and the post or by electronic funds transfer details or PayPal button on this page
Bird brains

Finally, If you'd like some insight into how difficult (and dangerous) it can be to try and protect some little baby birdies in a national park, yes, a national park, see this page... Any volunteers? A total ban on dogs, strictly enforced, in our ocean beach national park seems long overdue...

and don't forget to download the attached news letter

Philip Jensen

SPIFFA Secretary

www.spiffa.org

Below: Burned to enable unexploded ordinance clearance in March 2008, This is the ocean side of Happy Valley in the Pt Nepean National Park. This headland is in a sword sedge and grey Scented Goundsel dominant stage of the fire recovery/succession process. It's likely that eventually a form of Calcareous Swale Grassland will be the "climax community". We can't be sure though. All fires are experiments