Our Biodiversity assets encompass the full variety of life found in our region, including all species of plants, animals, fungi, microorganisms and the ecosystems in which they live.
Land assets encompass topography and the soils that support agriculture, plantation forestry and natural ecosystems, the vegetation that covers and protects these soils, and cultural heritage values.
From rivulets to estuaries, saltmarshes to the sea, the coasts and waterways in Southern Tasmania are a vital part of a healthy, productive environment and we work in a number of ways.
Feral cats have contributed to the extinction of at least 22 Australian mammal species since colonisation and are continuing to drive biodiversity declines across Australia. Removing cats on a landscape scale remains an ongoing challenge in Australian conservation. Islands such as Bruny Island can be valuable safe havens for biodiversity. Island-based cat management programs that work towards eradication can have lasting positive outcomes for wildlife in these landscapes.
There is a lot that is still not understood about Tasmania’s Wedge-tailed Eagles in Tasmania. NRM South is working to address some of these knowledge gaps through the Wedge-Tailed Eagle Offset Fund for Cattle Hill Wind Farm. This fund is supporting high quality ecological or other relevant scientific research on Tasmania’s Wedge-tailed Eagles, the results of which will assist with their management and protection.
The Tasmanian Quoll Conservation Program (TQCP) comprises an Australia-wide group of institutions that manage the breeding of Eastern and Spotted-tailed Quolls to directly support wild populations within Tasmania and provide support for endorsed Eastern Quoll conservation programs across Australia.
Tasmania is home to some of the oldest species of plants on Earth, and our geographical isolation means many of our plants are found nowhere else in the world. This group of sub-projects is addressing threats to a select number of our most at risk plants and plant communities, and includes efforts to boost seed reserves and improve genetic viability, replant and reconnect plant communities, and engage the broader community in conservation efforts.
The critically endangered Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor) migrates annually from mainland Australia to breed in Tasmania. Arriving around springtime, they seek out our flowering blue and black gums, form mating pairs and spend their summer raising chicks. While they often reuse the same nesting sites, they don’t always turn up at the same site over successive years due to variability in flowering from year to year. This unpredictability can pose challenges when it comes to conservation efforts.
Endemic to eastern Tasmania, the endangered Forty-spotted Pardalote survives in small, isolated mainland populations in the south east, as well as on offshore islands including Flinders, Maria and Bruny. It is under threat from the loss of its habitat (principally white gum – a critical feeding resource), its small population size, and the death of nestlings due to the larvae of an endemic parasitic fly that can kill up to 81% of chicks in infested areas.
The critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot is one of 20 priority bird species under the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Strategy. Wild populations have been reduced to a single population that only breeds in one site in southwest Tasmania, migrating annually along the Tasmanian west coast between Tasmanian and coastal Victoria and south-eastern South Australia.
Swan galaxias are listed as endangered under the EPBC Act and the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 and are one of the Australian Government’s priority species under its Threatened Species Strategy 2021-2031. Researchers have identified Swan Galaxias as one of Australia’s most threatened freshwater fish at imminent risk of extinction within the next 20 years.
Red handfish, which are only found at select sites in southeast Tasmania, are considered to be one of the most vulnerable marine fish species in the world. Relying on modified hand-shaped fins to move across the seabed, they are only able to move short distances and can only live in areas that meet very specific conditions – which makes them very vulnerable to extinction.
The increasing occurrence of drought in parts of Tasmanian including the midlands, Derwent catchment and Tasmania’s east coast has significantly reduced seasonal ground cover. Without adaptive measures, these declines will lead to increased soil erosion and soil carbon loss, and a decline in viability of dryland grazing systems. This project aims to help address some of these issues by supporting farmers with more responsive planning tools to improve dryland pasture management decision-making.
The Regional Soil Co-ordinator initiative is an integral component of Australia’s National Soils Strategy, creating nationally cohesive and regionally specific support to build soils capacity for our agriculture and environment.
Increasing awareness and adoption of land management practices that improve and protect the condition of soils throughout Tasmania.
The Tasmanian Weeds Action Fund is a Tasmanian Government initiative, funded for five years from 2018-19. The funds are invested by farmers and other community organisations to tackle weeds that are impacting valuable agricultural and environmental assets.
The Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot is a key part of the Australian Government’s $66.1 million Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Package and will reward farmers for the stewardship of their land, storing carbon and improving Australia’s biodiversity. NRM South is the local NRM partner helping the government to implement the pilot in our region, helping to ensure it works for our landholders.
NRM South’s Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF) forms part of a nationwide network of facilitators who engage with their local agricultural sector to help improve sustainability, productivity and profitability for farmers.
The Derwent catchment is one of Tasmania’s driest regions. The low rainfall conditions create unique production challenges, especially when managing dryland pastures during times of drought. Through the Derwent Pasture Information Network (PIN), NRM South is supporting farmers management of dryland pastures – particularly on north-facing slopes – using a range of approaches to provide locally relevant information.
The Blue Carbon Ecosystem Restoration project will assist in understanding the diverse benefits of restoring a large area of stranded temperate saltmarsh community, including what happens to adjacent areas of habitat such as seagrass, or surrounding land-based vegetation and ecological communities.
Tasmania’s seafood industry uses adaptive management strategies informed by scientific research to make the industry as sustainable as possible. NRM South is working in partnership with the Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council to support industry-based training, school education and habitat restoration through the Tasmanian Smart Seafood Partnership.
North West Bay is a popular recreational fishing area that is home to important seagrass communities. Seagrass is nursery habitat for fish and squid, and can be damaged by traditional chain mooring systems, which scour the seabed. This project is engaging recreational fishers to adopt and advocate for a transition to Environmentally Friendly Moorings
Situated at the northern end of Great Oyster Bay on Tasmania’s east coast, Moulting Lagoon and the nearby Apsley Marshes are important wetland areas. They provide critical habitat for waterbirds (including migratory species), are important fish nurseries, and filter water running off the land into the sea. The land surrounding these Ramsar-listed sites is also important for agriculture and tourism, and the waterways themselves are important for aquaculture.
A legacy of changing land use, land clearing and livestock grazing in and around saltmarsh at Pitt Water-Orielton Lagoon has changed landscape function. Sections of saltmarsh have become stranded from tidal inundation, altering the connectivity of fish habitat and exposing waterways to increased nutrient inputs. This has knock-on effects for many of the recreationally important fish that depend on this site, including mullet, Australian salmon, and greenback flounder.
Australia’s shellfish reefs are an endangered marine ecosystem, with only 10% of native rock oyster and 1% of native flat oyster reef remaining today, based on historical reef distribution. The only known remaining native flat oyster reef is in St. Georges Bay, at St. Helens, on Tasmania’s east coast. We are restoring native flat oyster reefs in the Derwent Estuary and D’Entrecasteaux Channel, where this type of habitat was previously extensive.
posted 6 February, 2021