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Protecting precious frogs and threatened species

A government and community partnership is sharing knowledge that is helping grow healthy environments and protect threatened plant and animal species. North Coast Local Land Services, EnviTE Environment, Rous County Council and Border Ranges Richmond Valley Landcare Network (BRRVLN) are working together to share knowledge on the best approaches to weed management in riparian areas.

At a recent Field Day hosted by EnviTE Environment and BRRVLN, noxious weed officers and bush regenerators from Rous County Council were shown how to implement management protocols for minimising impacts on frogs and threatened species.

Dr Jai Sleeman, Senior Land Services Officer said of the training, “Participants were given practical hygiene solutions such as disinfecting tyres and footwear to prevent the spread of chytrid fungus - a key threatening fungal pathogen affecting native frog populations.

“Staff also learned about weed control methods that minimise herbicide use and to modify weed control schedules to cooler months when frogs are less active.

“Better identification of frogs, plants and habitats helps to focus restoration programs and prevent ‘off-target’ impacts,” Dr Sleeman said.

Emma Stone from BRRVLN and Whian Whian Landcare shared her experience in developing community guidelines for undertaking weed control in riparian areas.

“It is important to seek appropriate licences to undertake bush regeneration around known populations of threatened species such as frogs, crustaceans and obscure understorey plants such as the vulnerable thorny pea (Desmodium acanthocladum),” Emma said.

The training is part of a broader project partnership between North Coast Local Land Services and Rous County Council that is protecting riparian vegetation throughout Tweed, Kyogle, Lismore and Richmond Valley local government areas.

The project is targeting the eradication and containment of tropical soda apple – also known as ‘the weed from hell’.

“This Catchment Action NSW funded project has seen 16km of stream bank protected and six ha of Lowland Rainforest (a critically endangered ecological community) enhanced/rehabilitated within the upper catchments," Dr Sleeman said.

“This area is home to threatened fauna and flora occur such as the Giant Barred Frog (Mixophyes iterates) and Onion Cedar (Owenia cepiodora).”

Practical field based training events share knowledge so that organisations involved in natural resource management are able to better understand the broader implications of how different approaches influence different outcomes, how different organisations work and how to better integrate to achieve shared goals.

“Ideally, this knowledge is further passed onto landholders, helping them meet their biosecurity duty and guiding them in protecting their land’s natural values," Dr Sleeman said.

“This event was particularly relevant for gaining common ground on some issues and brought together the best ideas and approaches for managing weeds, threatened species and disease biosecurity, all of which are key objectives for North Coast Local Land Services.”

If you would like more information about the training or the protecting riparian vegetation project please contact Dr Jai Sleeman at North Coast Local Land Services on 6623 3917.

Media contact: Dr Jai Sleeman, Senior Land Services Officer, 02 6623 3917

Photo captions:

1. EnviTE Environment demonstrating hygiene protocols to Rous County Council staff that are designed to prevent spread of amphibian Chytrid fungus

2. Stony Creek rrog (Litoria wilcoxii)