Environmental Grants Progress Report



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Board Meeting: March 2012

Agenda Number: 12 (ii)

File Ref: Various


LORD HOWE ISLAND BOARD

Business Paper
ITEM
Environmental Grants Progress Report
BACKGROUND
The Board has been successful in obtaining a number of major externally funded grants. A summary of these grants is shown below:


Funding Body

Project Name

Total Project Value (excl. GST)

Caring for Our Country (Australian Government)

Eradication is the Key. Facilitating the exodus of weeds from LHI.

$400,000 (over 2 years). Final report due August 2013.

Caring for Our Country (Australian Government)

Managing World Heritage Values of Lord Howe Island

$414,263

Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority

Lord Howe Island – Protecting Island Biodiversity 2012-13

$55,000

Final report due May 2013.



NSW Environmental Trust

Progressing the Eradication of weeds from World Heritage LHI to protect Island Ecology

$1,432,705 (over 3 yrs) NOTE funding has only been received for year 1 of this grant which needs to be reported 30th April 2013 to release the next yr of funding

NSW Coastal & Estuary Management Program

Coastal Hazard & Management Study for Lord Howe Island

$80,000

A progress report on the Rodent Eradication is provided in a separate paper.


COMMENT
Progress reports for each project for the period between December 2012 to 22 February 2013 are provided in Attachment A.
RECOMMENDATION
It is recommended that the Board note the attached information.

Prepared David Kelly Manager Environment & Community Development

Endorsed Stephen Wills Chief Executive Officer
Attachment A


Program Name:

Caring for Our Country 2012-13

Project Name:

Eradication is the Key. Facilitating the exodus of weeds from Lord Howe Island

Grant Reference No:

X0000002847G

Maximum Funding Amount:

$400,000 (+GST)

Expenditure (22 Feb 2013):

$332,482 – Balance: $67,518

Funding Term:

April 2012 to June 2013 with reporting due August 2013

Brief Description of Project:

This project is generally focused on weeds within the LHI settlement area and specific projects such as removal of ground asparagus on Transit Hill, abseil control of weeds and helicopter operations

Activities completed during the reporting period:

  • Rope access search and control of weeds undertaken on the Nobbin cliffs by contractors. Weed totals = 14 mature ground asparagus, 20 juveniles and 110 seedlings; 1 mature cherry guava and juvenile.

  • Rope access search and control of Ground Asparagus from the cliffs between Blinky Pt and Clear Place commenced by contractors. Work planned for 9th March will be rescheduled for June due to desiccation of cliff line asparagus from extreme high seas. Note plants will reshoot again in favourable conditions; therefore treatment will be rescheduled.

  • About 38 hectares worked through Settlement with bush regeneration contractors working alongside LHIB staff.

  • At least 11 Madeira vine sites visited in the settlement with 165kg of tuberling and vine mass excavated, along with treatment of aerial vines.

  • Note: $47,000 allocated towards aerial control of bitou bush and asparagus from cliff lines due for Aug/Sept 2013.

  • X 2 volunteers engaged.


Program Name:

Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority

Project Name:

Lord Howe Island – Protecting Island Biodiversity 2012-13

Grant Reference No:

NR-IS-12-13-AT3

Maximum Funding Amount:

$55,000 (+GST)

Expenditure (22 Feb 2013):

$36,414.56 Balance: $18,585.44

Funding Term:

October 2012 to May 2013 with reporting due May 2013

Brief Description of Project:

This project is focused on Bridal Creeper in the Northern Hills / Malabar; follow-up control of Coastal Morning Glory from Phasmid habitat at Balls Pyramid, remote area weed surveillance and control and community education.

Activities completed during the reporting period:

In January 2013 Board staff visited Balls Pyramid to control the exotic Coastal Morning Glory Ipomoea cairica from the vicinity of the known LHI Phasmid habitat/food plant of Melaleuca howeana. The extent of the infestation has significantly reduced since the last visit undertaken in May 2012 in which the tree was near smothered by the vine (90% cover). Less than 5% cover of vine was present on the return trip; and a noted 40% reduction in vine cover across an area of 50m2. Repeated trips funded under this project will enable a broader landscape and bush regeneration approach to reduce the extent of the vine and increase the regeneration of native species such as Sporobilis virginicus; rather than just focussing control effort directly around the immediate habitat tree. Follow-up trips are to be completed before 30 April 2013. The ledge above the main habitat plant needs to be accessed to undertake control of Morning Glory.
Community education and further remote area work will be rolled out to complete targets identified under this grant by 15th May 2013.



Program Name:

Caring for Our Country 2012-13

Project Name:

Managing World Heritage Values of Lord Howe Island

Grant Reference No:

X0000002620G

Maximum Funding Amount:

$414,263 (+GST)

Expenditure (22 Feb 2013):

Balance: $160,581 (TBC)

Funding Term:

February 2012 to 30 June 2013

Brief Description of Project:

This grant involves a number of distinct projects including:

  1. Employment of the Manager Environment/World Heritage to develop and implement programs to protect the World Heritage values of LHI for 1 year (1 Jul 2012 – 30 Jun 2013). Includes MERI and administrative support ($142,887).

  2. Implement a strategy to eradicate African Big Headed Ant (ABHA) infestations on LHI over 2 years ($ 195,000).

  3. Preventing the establishment of Phytophthora and Myrtle Rust on LHI ($46,376).

  4. Improve biosecurity / quarantine awareness at LHI entry points (airport/jetty)($15,000)

  5. Design and construct helicopter mounted directional spray unit to control weeds located on steep cliff lines and inaccessible terrain.

Activities completed during the reporting period:

  1. The MEWH has been developing and implementing programs to protect the World Heritage values of the island in accordance with the position description, grant obligations and legislative responsibilities. Hank Bower is currently acting as the Project Manager for the Rodent Eradication program. This has created a vacancy in the MEWH position. The Board has backfilled the position through a contract arrangement with Theresa Adams and former MEWH Mr Terry Wilson. The position coordinates projects within the Environment Unit including the Weed Eradication Strategy, Rehabilitation Plan, Quarantine strategy and progresses targets identified in the LHI Biodiversity Management Plan. The position also promotes environmental initiatives and information to the broader community through newsletters, community forums, media releases and provides reports to federal, state and regional NRM bodies and key stakeholders




  1. The Board have surveyed 105 ha and have currently treated 16 ha for ABHA’s. Monitoring of the Island for ABHA’s has now been completed with a total recorded infestation of approximately 18-20 ha. Leaseholders on Portion 208 & 209 have raised concern regarding the use of pesticide on their lease. The leaseholders have advised that they wish to gain organic certification of their property and are concerned about the impact the eradication methodology will have on gaining organic status. The leaseholders have requested that the Board only use bait stations throughout their lease. The Board has developed a revised method in consultation with the CSIRO as a trial to treat the affected leases using a ‘bait station’ approach. This is seen as a cooperative step to address the requirements of the NSW Plant Diseases Act 1924 and acknowledge the lease holders concerns regarding the use of pesticides (prior to taking further action under the Plant Diseases Act). It is noted that the ‘bait station’ approach involves a significant additional cost and it has been recommended that the leaseholder contribute 50% of these costs.

A formal agreement has been prepared, and is currently being reviewed by the Boards legal advisor. An ABHA information brochure has also been developed as part of the Boards broader Quarantine awareness program.


  1. Dr. Bob Makinson, from Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney lead three well attended Myrtle Rust training courses targeting both LHIB staff and the wider community. A Quarantine and Biosecurity information pamphlet has also been developed with specific Myrtle Rust and Phytophthora information. A strategy has been developed to install boot scrub facilities at start of Max Nichols Track at Old Settlement, start of Malabar Track at Neds Beach, and the Board’s research facility and depot. Quotes have been sort and designs have undergone minor modifications to improve maintenance. Six smaller Phytophthora boot dipping and myrtle rust treatment units are currently being developed for lodges and the golf club.




  1. A three part series of brochures has been designed and printed for placement and distribution at the airport/jetty entry points. The brochures focus on Quarantine and biosecurity issues including risks associated with illegally importing plants, the potential to introduce Myrtle Rust and Phytophthora and the control and eradication of the introduced ABH Ants. The draft Plant Importation Policy also includes improved risk assessment and treatment requirements for persons wishing to import plant material to Lord Howe Island.




  1. The design and construction of a helicopter mounted directional spray unit is well progressed and is at the testing stage. It is anticipated the unit will be available for use on island by winter 2013 in order to target Bitou Bush.


Program Name:

NSW Environmental Trust

Project Name:

Progressing the eradication of weeds from World Heritage Lord Howe Island to protect Island Ecology

Grant Reference No:

2011/MG/008

Maximum Funding Amount:

$1,432,705 (+GST) pending yearly reporting. Year 1 $416,962

Expenditure (22 Feb 2013):

$201,482 Balance: $215,120

Funding Term:

Jun 2012 to Aug 2015

Brief Description of Project:

This project aims to deliver eradication targets for at least 15 priority invasive weed species including 4 Weeds of National Significance (Bitou Bush, Bridal Creeper, Ground Asparagus and Lantana) from the Lord Howe Island Permanent Park Preserve.
The project requires 450ha of landscape to be systematically searched and controlled of priority weeds each year for 3 years (1350ha total).
Other milestones:

  • Address new and emerging weed threats;

  • Identify and remove weeds in remote and complex terrain (aerial surveillance and control);

  • Targeted control of Glory Lily

  • Community Education (focus group sessions, establish project partners with LHI businesses, visitor survey, media etc)

  • Secure funding – establish philanthropic trust fund

  • Monitoring and Evaluation (ongoing data mgt; quantified landscape scale weed mapping; formal review of eradication outcomes and direction, by 2015)

Activities completed during the reporting period:

  • Continuation of search and control of weed management blocks on the northern flanks of Mt Lidgbird (lower to mid slopes). Isolated mature Cotoneasters removed. Isolated patch of Bridal Creeper found in block LN014 (below the Nobbin). At least 85 hectares has been searched and controlled of weeds since the last Board meeting; however a number of larger and quite arduous blocks are in progress and nearing completion.




  • Continuation of remote area search and control of weed using helicopter access is planned for first week of March 2013 (subject to suitable weather conditions).




  • 4 volunteers engaged for 3 weeks.




  • Significant project promotion, community engagement and scoping of alternative funding resources needs to be rolled out to address grant targets by the 30th April 2013.






Program Name:

Coastal Management Program 2011-12

Project Name:

Preparation of Coastal Hazard Study and Coastal Management Study, Lord Howe Island

Grant Reference No:

2011-12-CM-0051

Maximum Funding Amount:

$ 80,000 (i.e. contribution of $20,000 from LHIB and NSW MPA over 2 years)

Expenditure (22 Feb 2013):

$48,613 Balance: $31,387

Funding Term:

March 2012 to October 2013

Brief Description of Project:

In March 2012, the Lord Howe Island Board (LHIB) received funding under the NSW Government’s Coastal Management Program to prepare a Coastal Hazard Study for Lord Howe Island.

The study will improve our understanding of the coastal processes and hazards that affect the coastline, define areas at risk from coastal hazards and identify management options.




Activities completed during the reporting period:

  • LiDAR surveys have been completed. A second flight is required to capture incomplete areas on Mt Lidgbird and Mt Gower, generally above 500 metres in elevation.

  • OEH has completed initial detailed photogrammetric analysis, which is fundamental to understanding coastal processes on the Island.

  • This photogrammetric data is being analysed by Haskoning Australia – a report on the analysis will be released in March 2013

  • Literature review report will also be completed in March and circulated to Steering Committee

  • Sediment analysis has been completed and is being reviewed- a report on the analysis will be released in March 2013

  • Preliminary Draft Coastal Hazard Study due 28 March 2013


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