Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 440
Macquarie ACT 2614
Dear Ange and Penny
Re: invitation to comment- Review of the Ginninderry Conservation Corridor Management Plan 2018– 2023
Friends of Grasslands (FOG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of natural temperate grassy ecosystems in south-eastern Australia. FOG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with the conservation of native grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on-ground work. FOG is based in Canberra and its members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.
FOG was invited to be a member of the Ginninderry Bush on the Boundary group (BoB) at its foundation and is proud to continue to engage in discussion through that forum. In this way, FOG has been made reasonably familiar with many facets of Corridor Management.
FOG did find the on-line survey from the invitation too difficult to manipulate for an organisation like ours. Instead we submit the following short written submission and hope this can be threaded into the review process.
In FOG's opinion, the interim Management Plan (POM) is an impressive document and a fine place to start for drafting the new 5-year POM.
FOG will not offer superfluous advice about the conspicuously aged parts in the 2018-23 POM. However, we want to suggest that the following be added to the review topics to be covered by the next 5-year POM:
1. Make clear which of the interim planned actions are now implemented, fully or partly, and which remain for the future. Almost everything in the NSW part of the corridor is still for the future.
- As an example, the first of the walking trails has been built in the corridor across to Shepherd's; it is a wonderful example of a track and trail that is sensitively made and in such an interesting location - consequently it is very well patronised. FOG fully supports means to enforce the intention to exclude cycling from this walking trail.
- Another example is the exclusion of dogs, off or even on leash, in this conservation area - locals and visitors (similar to those in most of Canberra's nature areas) tend to neither read nor comprehend signs!
- A third is the attempt to have the grazing cattle-herd fitted with tracking collars that can be used to geofence, lessening the need for robust, expensive and intrusive post-and-wire fencing. While this had to be shelved for now, it is a project worth specifying in the Plan.
- Finally, feral animal management should be detailed to build on experience with establishing the ACT portion of the Corridor. One of the major issues in FOG's view is the control of feral Deer, a group that has boomed locally since the Interim Plan was written. In the new POM it needs to be clear how Deer control will be done, by whom, and how will it operate across the ACT-NSW border, also bearing in mind that the conservation area lies in a major river valley with many other land managers nearby. Other ferals possibly need to be considered likewise.
2. Fire Management for hazard reduction and biomass management. FOG understands discussions are ongoing with authorities at the moment. Also, a plan to trial small cultural burns has not proceeded due to the La Nina years but is essential if grazing can be reduced or removed in the future.
3. The Visitor Centre in the ACT section is still very much in its planning stage and its scope reduced due to cultural artefact discoveries. However, it looks really promising and the Aboriginal Advisory Group is very well linked into that process.
4. Other highlights of the Trust's work have developed since the interim POM and deserve to be included:
- NTG sowing and PTWL habitat creation in the scrape site;
- Brown Snake relocation and tracking;
- Relocation of Eastern Long-neck Turtles from farm dams of the residential footprint. This of course had the nice spinoff of contributing to good data about age spread in the natural populations;
- The appointment to the Trust team of Tyson Powell, the Aboriginal Project Officer, and also of the staff with Asian-subcontinent heritage who promote the connection to the significant new resident groups with Indian, Pakistani, etc origins; and
- The connections to the community, not only in Strathnairn and Macnamara, but also further afield. The interaction with GCG was clear in the interim POM and was the basis to forge a strong link. The interaction with FOG and COG was not specified but has become well established too. The successes of the walk and other activity programs of the Trust testify to its skills in outreach and communication.
5. One item informally floated with the BoB group is the location name in the corridor title. FOG completely supports any move to change from Ginninderry to a name with significant meaning for one or more of the local first nations.
FOG thanks the Trust for the opportunity to contribute to this Review and looks forward to seeing the draft of the new POM and commenting further after its release.
Professor Jamie Pittock
21 April 2022