Investing in projects to change practice and build community capacity. Naomi Wilson

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A presentation at the WCCA 2011 event in Brisbane.

A presentation at the WCCA 2011 event in Brisbane.

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  • 1. Presented by Naomi Wilson Landcare Facilitator Investing in Projects to Change Practice and Build Community Capacity _________________________________________________________ Barkly Landcare & Conservation Association Northern Territory, Australia
  • 2. The Barkly
    • Size:
      • 19m Hectares
      • Roughly 15% of the NT
      • NT – 135m Ha
    • Population:
      • Barkly Region – 7,325
      • Tennant Creek – 3,099
      • (ABS 2009)
    • Rainfall:
      • Annual median – 380mm
      • Summer wet season
      • Winter dry season
  • 3. The Barkly = 2.7 Barkly England Size 19 million Ha 13 million Ha Population 7,325 51 million 1
  • 4. The Barkly
  • 5. The Barkly Cyclone Yasi, Cyclone Carlos and extended low monsoonal troughs
  • 6. The Barkly Total annual rainfall for 2008 - 270mm
  • 7. The Barkly
    • Land systems:
      • 89 distinct land systems
    • Broad land types:
      • “ Black soil” – Mitchel grass downs on black cracking clay (includes bluebush swamps and lakes)
      • “ Red soil” or “Desert country” – Spinifex, Acacia and Eucalypts on red sandy clays and red earths
      • “ Hill county” or “Granite country” or “Limestone country” – limestone or granite rocky outcrops and rises
  • 8. The Barkly
    • Barkly Lakes:
      • Five lake systems include Lake Woods, Eva Downs Swamp, Lake Tarrabool, Corella Lake and Lake Sylvester.
      • Some of Australia’s largest inland freshwater lakes.
      • Termination point of nearly all the water courses on the Barkly
      • Considered ephemeral, though some lakes rarely dry up completely
      • Recognised as being of national conservation significance and currently being considered for RAMSAR classification.
      • Balancing conservation and production values in this area is a key challenge for the Barkly community and industry.
  • 9. The Barkly
    • Land Use:
      • Indigenous – 1.9m ha (10%)
      • Pastoral (Beef) – 15.6m ha (81%)
      • Government – 1.7m ha (9%)
      • Nature conservation reserves only cover 0.6% of the Barkly
  • 10. The Barkly
    • Pastoral Land:
      • 37 Pastoral production (beef) operations
      • 31 Corporate owned
      • 6 Family owned
      • Average property size: 420,000ha
      • Average number of cattle per property fluctuates according to season but is about 50,000 head and can be up to 80,000.
  • 11. The Barkly
  • 12. Barkly Landcare
    • Formed:
      • 1995
    • Membership:
      • 37 pastoral land holders (100%) and a number of non-pastoral members connected to the Barkly and industry
    • Staff:
      • 1 Landcare Facilitator (me)
      • 1 Project Manager – Weeds
    • Resources:
      • TNRM Facilitation funding
      • CFOC project funding
      • Private contributions ($1:$4)
      • Fee for service
  • 13. Barkly Landcare
    • Executive committee:
      • Elected from the membership annually.
      • 5 Office bearing positions
      • 3-5 additional committee positions
    • Primary Focus on the Barkly is to support pastoralists to:
      • Adopt BMP techniques
      • Access industry and Govt networks and resources
      • Respond to and prevent degradation processes
      • Improve production values
    • Projects and activities:
      • Weed management
      • Conservation areas
      • Grazing management
      • Soil health
  • 14. Thinking Strategically
    • Vision:
      • We see a bright future for the Barkly that holds unbound potential for a region where:
      • Resilient and productive landscapes successfully balance production and ecosystem outcomes in a climate of change
      • Profitable, adaptive primary industries have the capacity and drive to sustain their managed and natural landscapes
      • Connected communities capitalise on the value of shared knowledge
    • Objectives:
      • We have set objectives that will lead us towards realising our vision:
      • Develop the capacity of land managers on the Barkly to take effective resource management action
      • Implement targeted on-ground works and capacity building projects that are delivering a measurable reduction in threat to key assets, leading to improvements in land and resource condition
      • Develop a robust, prosperous organisation supported by resources that ensure the capacity to deliver valued services to its members and the Barkly region
      • Develop local, Territory and national networks and partnerships that support our organisational and recourse management objectives.
    • Values:
      • At the core of our actions is the high value we place on a resilient, active community, productive local industry and a healthy natural landscape.
      • We recognise the vital role our landscape plays in supporting our region and will work effectively to manage our:
      • Areas of conservation significance
      • Water systems
      • Premium production zones
      • Change buffers
      • To maintain these values we are managing for:
      • Weed invasion
      • Soil quality
      • Water quality
      • Effects of production activities
      • Fire
      • Pest animals
      • Climate variability
    That’s great... but where do we start?
  • 15. Making Decisions About Priorities
    • We developed a series of VERY basic “models” to help us to define not just WHAT but WHERE our valuable assets are and to be clear on WHY they are valuable.
  • 16. Making Decisions About Priorities
  • 17. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds Weeds are one of our most significant management issues, particularly: Parkinsonia Prickly Acacia Mesquite
  • 18. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
  • 19. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
    • Barriers to effective action:
      • Lack of spatial data – where are the weeds?
      • Unable to access reliable knowledge, information and practical advice
      • Competing demands – needed someone to provide consistent drive
      • Difficulty collaborating in a remote landscape
      • Finding and maintaining a long-term focus
  • 20. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
    • Our weed project “formula”
      • Our weed projects essentially include a number of key elements to address these barriers:
      • Aerial survey to map infestations
      • Workshops that directly connect pastoralists weed scientists
      • An initial and comprehensive strategic treatment program that provides action learning opportunities
      • Development of 10-year property weed management plans with a practical focus – what to do, when, where, how and what resources will be needed each year
      • Establishment of long-term monitoring (with a commitment to maintain these sites and communicate learnings from them beyond the life of the project)
  • 21. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
    • Aerial Survey
  • 22. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
  • 23. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
  • 24. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
  • 25. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
    • The Georgina Project
  • 26. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds Strategic Management of Parkinsonia in the Upper Georgina Catchment, NT. Project Area: 3.5m Ha Pastoral Leases: 12 Budget: $153,000 Duration: 12 months Georgina Upper 3,500,000 ha
  • 27. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
    • Surveyed 1590 km 2 or 2500km of watercourse
    • Generated 3 spatial data layers, maps and GPS data
      NLP PASTORALISTS TOTAL R44 Hire $22, 500   $22,500 R22 Hire $4,250 $3,330 $7,580 AvGas   $5,341 $5,341 TOTAL $26,750 $8,671 $35,421
  • 28. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
    • Mapping up front can cost a lot.....
      • ....but it can save you a whole lot more.
    Example: The survey uncovered infestations that land managers didn’t know were there and wouldn’t have included in the treatment program. Unknown and untreated infestations jeopardise investments downstream. 2008 DOWN STREAM INVESTMENT: $140,000 (approx) COST OF SURVEY: $1,700 of a total $35,000
  • 29. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
    • Treatment of Parkinsonia and Mesquite across the project areas was completed by the end of October.
  • 30. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
    • Treatment results
      • Estimated 90% kill rate
      • Drought conditions impacted significantly
  • 31. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
    • Treatment results
      • That following summer....
  • 32. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
    • Likely short-term outcomes
      • Significant changes in the population structure
      • Significant changes in the productivity parkinsonia infestations in the catchment
      • In a typical Barkly season one adult parkinsonia can produce around 5,000 seeds and up to 13,000 seeds if conditions are favourable.
      • Without the 2008 treatment program potential seed production in the Georgina catchment would be in the tens of millions
  • 33. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
    • 3-part workshop
      • Parkinsonia ecology, impacts and management
      • Property weed management planning
      • GIS tools for weed and resource management
  • 34. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
    • Management Plans include
      • Commitment statement
      • Key information for successful management outcomes
      • Outlined management approach
      • Defined management zones
      • Property maps
      • Treatment schedule with specific defined actions
      • Reporting template
      • Addition information on managed species
  • 35. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
    • A total of 60 monitor sites established
      • Established 22 Tier 1 sites to measure changes in surrounding pasture and vegetation
      • Established 38 Population Quadrat sites to measure changes in parkinsonia population and community structure.
    50m 10m 10m Photo Picket Centre Picket Random Quadrat 50m South West Picket A = 3, J = 10, S=8 50m A A A J J J J J J J J J J S S S S S S S S
  • 36. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
    • Value of Long-term Monitoring
  • 37. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds No parki present Most sites well below 50 individuals Only a few sites with significant numbers of adults present BUT Evidence of re-establishment across the catchment
  • 38. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds Numbers of adults beginning to increase Numbers of adults still decreasing Increases in juveniles and seedlings across the catchment warn of potential rapid increase coming
  • 39. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
  • 40. Putting it in Action – Tackling Weeds
    • Working with Indigenous Ranger crews on weed management:
      • Provides opportunity for indigenous participation
      • Builds a practical skill base
      • Builds stronger relationships between pastoralists and the indigenous community
      • And it can have an unmeasurable impact on self-esteem, confidence and pride.
  • 41. Bringing it all together – Tackling Weeds
    • Building towards an entire region under active and strategic management :
      • 2008 – Georgina Catchment (3.5m ha)
      • 2010 – Lake Woods Catchment (1.8mha)
      • 2010 – Lake Tarrabool Catchment (2.6m ha)
      • 2011 – Lake Sylvester Catchment (3.4m ha)
  • 42. Putting it in Action – Alternative Grazing
    • How can we make productivity gains AND improve land condition and conservation values at the same time?
  • 43. Future Challenges and Opportunities
    • For Barkly Landcare, the Barkly region and our landscape:
      • Resource reliability and working beyond the political reality of government investment cycles
      • Building our organisation through succession planning and growth management – being cleaver about how we access the people, skills and knowledge we need to get things done
      • Remaining relevant (to members, community, industry and investors) in an environment of rapid change
      • Increasing global pressures such as climate change, volatile markets, food security, economic instability – and finding the opportunities to innovate within these challenges
      • Providing a platform for innovation at grass roots level
      • Working with science and scientists
    • But the big one for me is our thinking
  • 44.
    • Naomi Wilson
    • Barkly Landcare & Conservation Association
    • www.barklylandcare.org.au