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Category Archives: Ecosystem Regeneration

Protecting and Restoring K’gari’s Pandanus

In record time, the introduced insect responsible for Pandanus dieback, Jamella australiae, spread across the eastern shores of Fraser Island, leaving a wake of destruction.

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Panel Session: K’gari (Fraser Island) Community, Culture and Collaboration Conference 2019

The final session at the 8th Biennial K’gari (Fraser Island) Conference was a Q&A forum.

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Citizen Scientists for K’gari

Twenty-one recipients have been awarded a Queensland Citizen Science Grant, with more than $580,000 funding committed over three years to help increase Queenslanders’ participation in citizen science. 

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Eurong Native Plant Nursery

The Native Plant nursery at Eurong was an initiative of FIDO’s, John Sinclair, in collaboration with QPWS. John saw the need for the residents to replace their introduced plants with locally sourced and grown Fraser Island plants.

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Getting Together on K’gari

FINIA was founded on K’gari in 2005 and meeting on the island at least once a year has become an important part of the group’s calendar.  Aside from the opportunity to spend some time looking at the issues and progress on-ground, it also provides an opportunity for us to renew our commitment to the island, share knowledge, meet new partners and discuss approaches as we face emerging challenges – like myrtle rust and visitor management.  The 2019 trip, held on 7-8 May, was no exception. 

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Zero Chemical Weed Management Project

Over the last two working bees, Fraser Coast Regional Council Community Environment Program volunteers and staff have contributed a total of 199 hours of work in Happy Valley.  (more…)

Twelve years of collaboration

Looking back after over 12 years of FINIA’s operations, we can sometimes forget the achievements of the group and its partners. These were brought home at a recent FINIA partner meeting held on Fraser Island (K’gari) to check field sites in addition to identifying new challenges for the World Heritage property. (more…)

National Standards for Ecological Restoration

SERAThe National Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration in Australia  have just been released by the Society for Ecological Restoration in Australia (SERA) board’s Principles and Standards Reference group in close collaboration with the following partners and advisors:

Australian Association of Bush Regenerators (AABR), Australian Instituteof Landscape Architects (AILA), Australian Network for Plant Conservation, (ANPC) Australian Seed Bank Partnership (ASBP), Bush Heritage Australia (BHA) Gondwana Link, Greening Australia (GA), Indigenous Flora and Fauna Association (IFFA), The Nature Conservancy (TNC) (Advisor), Trees For Life (TFL), Trust for Nature Vic (TFN Vic) , WetlandCare Australia (WCA).

For anyone in the practice of ecological restoration, The Standards list (i) the principles that underpin current best practice ecological restoration and (ii) the steps required to plan, implement and monitor restoration projects to increase their chance of success. The Standards are applicable to any Australian ecosystem (whether terrestrial or aquatic) and any sector (whether private or public, mandatory or non-mandatory). They can be used by any person or organisation to help develop plans, contracts, consent conditions and closure criteria.

To download a copy of the document for yourself –National Restoration Standards.

Fraser Island to Benefit from Commonwealth Funding for Green Army Projects

The Fraser Island Defenders Organization has been provided with funding as Project Host as a result of Green Army funding for two projects from the Department of Environment and Heritage. The service provider for these projects will be Conservation Volunteers Australia.

The project, Restoring the balance in weed and erosion management on Fraser Island, will commence in late February and again in mid-August and run for 20 weeks. The six participants will range from 17 to 24 years old, and will be provided with training, including Occupational Health and Safety, First Aid, chemical use and the management of small motors. They will gain hands on skills in weed management, erosion control and will be fortunate to have advice and information from the QPWS rangers who will direct the work plan.

The participants will have their training at Hervey Bay and spend four days a week on Fraser Island working on different parts of the island. Other potential work may include:

  • Easter Cassia management around Happy Valley and south to Yidney scrub
  • Jamella – egg raft collection (and wasp release if training were provided), monitoring and leaf stripping
  • Giant Rat’s Tail Grass control
  • Eurong nursery – plant propagation and re-potting, including of Pandanus
  • Great Walk track maintenance
  • Track building
  • Site stabilisation through erosion control and weed management on Indian Head (Takky Wooroo).

The project provides a unique opportunity to have work carried out on Fraser Island over the period of a year that would possibly take many years otherwise.

The team will work with a number of different groups on the island, including the Butchulla people, to learn about the culture and management of the island.

Libby Gardiner, Regional Manager Southern Queensland, CVA

Propagating Natives instead of Weeds

Since Fraser Island’s World Heritage nomination was prepared 25 years ago, the number of identified weeds has grown from 40 to 200.  Most of the additions to the weed list are garden escapees or alien grasses and pasture plants.

Most of these alien grasses and pasture plants have arrived on K’Gari as hitchhiking seeds stuck in the under-bodies of vehicles that haven’t been cleaned adequately before going to the island, or in the luggage and freight brought inside those vehicles by island visitors.  This is evident by the fact that the epicentres for the invasion of almost all of the grasses and pasture plants, such as Green Panic and Siratro, are in the township or camping reserves.  By diligence, we are whittling away at these weeds that arrived essentially as stowaways.

A more difficult challenge is countering the weeds that were deliberately taken to Fraser Island as garden plants.  Landholders sought to establish hardy plants that could thrive on the island with little care or attention when they were absent for long periods.  Thus they came up with a group of plants that were ideal to survive if they got loose in the Fraser Island bush.   Roses and many of the more classic garden plants just can’t survive on Fraser Island.  However, garden plants like Clivias, Coral Creeper, Singapore Daisy, Easter Cassia, Mother-in-Law’s Tongues, Glory Lily, Mother of Millions and Fish-bone Ferns, which looked attractive around the houses and required little care, all escaped their garden enclosures and ran riot on the island.  Because these plants are so hardy they are now very difficult to eradicate.

seed collecting

Coolum-based volunteer, Suzanne Wilson, gathering seed for the Eurong QPWS nursery. These are attractive plants that can be grown by Fraser Island landholders

Landholders are being encouraged to plant and cultivate attractive native plants.  However, sourcing those plants has been a major problem. The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has a nursery, but lacks the staff to operate it as a supplier of plants on demand to landholders who are told not to take any plants at all onto the island.

Now, as another FINIA collaboration, FIDO and the Fraser Island Association are building up a stock of plants to entice landholders to opt to grow natives that are grown from seed collected on the island, and which, with a little tender loving care to establish them, can do just as well as the weeds we are working to eliminate.  As well as purchasing pots and other nursery supplies, FIDO has been scrounging cleaned used pots and recruited a very experienced seed collector to help build up the nursery.

The resorts at Eurong and Happy Valley have set the tone by purging their properties of weeds and establishing wonderful rich gardens of natives.   FIDO is prepared to cooperate with other landholders to replace exotic plants with plants from the Eurong Nursery as part of a long-term strategy to reduce weeds on Fraser Island.

John Sinclair (AO), FIDO