Attention happy snappers

Lachlan Catchment Management Authority’s (CMA), Photographic Competition has just opened so why not take a snapshot or look at one you have taken recently and be part of the fun – you may even become a prize winner!

This is the sixth year of the annual competition for the Lachlan CMA. This year the theme is “Gotta love the Lachlan” with an additional category “Schools”. The theme was chosen to encourage people to capture the beauty and diversity of the Lachlan Catchment in a photograph and to share their vision of what living in the Lachlan means to them. We are looking for entries that reflect our theme.

So have you captured any photographs reflecting the area of the Lachlan you live in? Then we’d love to see your images. Lachlan CMA is a locally driven organisation that coordinates management of the Catchment’s land, water and other natural assets and helps the community to identify and address issues facing the Catchment. The photographic competition has provided a great opportunity for the Lachlan CMA to reach the broader community.

Lachlan CMA Chairman, Mr Rob Gledhill recently launched the competition, “It is great to open the 2011 Photographic Competition and more importantly it is great to be able to offer  free entry so all our Lachlan Catchment community members can participate”, Mr Gledhill said.

The competition encourages all ages to get involved and will accept black and white and colour entries, entries must be received in digital format as per the competition rules. A separate entry form must accompany each photograph – these are available at all Lachlan CMA Offices or via the website.

It is hoped the competition will highlight the diversity of the catchment and the people who live in it. There is some great prize money up for grabs and entry is FREE! So if you are a keen photographer or just want to be part of the fun grab a copy of the competition rules and entry form and submit your photograph at any Lachlan CMA Office.

“We have allowed competitors unlimited entries” Mr Gledhill said, “and everyone is eligible to enter except the Judges and professional photographers”. Entrants are reminded that they do need to limit their subject matter to within the Lachlan Catchment.

Further information on the photographic competition can be obtained from any Lachlan CMA office. For more information on the Lachlan CMA and our office locations please contact 1800 885 747 or visit our Website – www.lachlan.cma.nsw.gov.au. Happy snapping!

Carp face casualties in Condobolin Cage

The carp cage trap is now in place to help eradicate carp from the Lachlan River system.By Dominic Geiger

A Condobolin business has been working with the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority (LCMA) recently to help eradicate carp from the Lachlan River system.
The trap, which was built by Condo Steel, will now be placed in Bumbuggan Creek, south east of Condobolin.
Condo Steel manager, David Salter, said the trap had been designed to exclusively trap carp and not native fish.
“Basically, it’s two cages,” he said.
“The first cage has a funnel in it (to allow the fish to enter) and the only way out is over a hurdle where the fish has to jump (into a second cage).
“Native fish are given to diving whereas carp are given to jumping and the initial trap is closed so the carp are forced to jump into a holding cage and that’s where they stay until the cage is attended to.
“The native fish that are waiting in the first cage are periodically released by an electric driver mechanism that allows them to escape out the bottom.”
NSW DPI Project Officer at Narrandera Fisheries Centre, Martin Asmus, said large numbers of adult carp will be captured in the cage in August and September, leading up to the spawning season.
“The cage installed at Bumbuggan Creek is the second cage to be put in the Lachlan River catchment, along with Island Creek near Condobolin,” he said.
“The cages are positioned on the exit gates of fishways used by native and exotic fish to move past weirs.
“A lot of research and development has been undertaken during construction of this second cage to fine tune its operation and maximise its catching ability.
“So far hundreds of thousands of carp have successfully been removed from the Lachlan catchment and plans are now in place to install a third carp separation cage at Booligal and possibly a fourth at Lake Cargelligo.”

Landholders encouraged to help native fish

The Lachlan Catchment Management Authority (CMA) in conjunction with Industry and Investment NSW (I&I NSW) are encouraging landholders in the Lachlan Shire with creeks on their property to make all weirs and road-crossing fish friendly.
A recent audit on the Mid-Lachlan creeks near Condobolin found 42 weirs and road-crossings in the region were having a severe impact on fish movement.
I&I NSW Senior Conservation Manager, Sam Davis, said native fish populations in the Murray-Darling Basin have declined by 90% over the past 200 years.
“What we’re now doing is encouraging landholders who might have a structure on their property that’s inhibiting fish movement to apply for grant money which is available to make the structure fish friendly,” she said.
“Even things like fences going through creeks can have an adverse effect on fish that need to travel up and down stream to feed and breed.”
Ms Davis said although there were other factors contributing to a decline in native fish numbers, such as competition from introduced species, it was important to first fix habitats to give native species a chance to increase their numbers.
“It’s all about putting together the pieces in the puzzle,” she said.
“Once the habitats improve, native species will be able to compete against introduced species.”
For more information about a weir or crossing on your property, contact Michelle Crossley at Lachlan Catchment Management Authority on 6967 2897.

Local Authority warms to new fire strategy

Examining the potential of new controlled burning practices: Dr Milton Lewis, Wiradjuri Elder and project partner Aunty Evelyn Coe and Russell Hill. DGBy Dominic Geiger

The Lachlan  Catchment Management Authority (CMA) has announced it will be trialling a revolutionary long-term approach to controlled burning in the Condobolin region.
Speaking at an information evening on the 15th of this month, Dr Milton Lewis outlined how new controlled burning methods being used in northern Australia would be coupled with traditional local Aboriginal knowledge to create more sustainable burning practices in the Lachlan Shire.
Dr Lewis said he hoped the change in burning practises would lead to an increase in native flora and fauna in the Lachlan Valley, as it had done in the Northern Territory.
“In my work with the Gouldian Finch, we discovered fire played a major role in what food was available for the bird to eat,” he said.
“The bird’s numbers were decreasing dramatically and no one knew why; no one thought that it might simply have no food available.”
Dr Lewis said a change in the way fire had been managed in the Northern Territory since European settlement had led to many native species becoming threatened.
“When I came back from the Northern Territory I felt the southern states were facing the same problem,” he said.
“People were burning but they didn’t know how to burn.”
Dr Lewis also said the change in fire use in the Northern Territory had led to better results for cattle graziers.
“People in the N.T were able to increase beef production by not burning a certain type of grass,” he said.
The CMA will be looking for ten local land owners to allow long-term controlled burning experiments on their properties.
Catchment Officer Russell Hill, who also spoke at the information evening, said the project would work with the local Aboriginal community to offer employment opportunities.
“We’re trying to engage Aboriginal people with the land owners and land managers and increase their understanding of fire,” he said.
Russell also said the CMA would be working closely with all interested parties in the community on this project.

Funding available for efficient irrigation

Lachlan Valley Water and Lachlan CMA are currently looking to engage irrigators in the Lachlan catchment through their role as a delivery partner in the Australian Governments “On-farm irrigation efficiency program”. The program aims to assist irrigators within the catchment with the implementation of on-farm infrastructure projects which improve efficiency and productivity of on farm water use and management.
With very little river water available over the last 10 years many irrigators will now be facing the challenge of getting their system up and going again.
Mary Ewing from Lachlan Valley water said “This is a fantastic opportunity for people looking to upgrade their systems or move to new technology to gain assistance with the cost of the development”
Lachlan CMA and Lachlan Valley Water are currently delivering projects under earlier rounds of this program which has attracted $5.3 million in funding commitments for the Lachlan catchment.
Local irrigator Gary Johnston was successful in gaining funding with an innovative pilot project which he used to construct a 300 megalitre storage and installed pipe and riser technology. “ It is good to see the Australian Commonwealth Government partnering farmers to deliver a broad range of irrigation improvement and new technology. It has been a worthwhile process working with the delivery partners, Lachlan Valley Water and Lachlan CMA to deliver the first National Program locally under the Water for the Future Program.It is a win win situation to improve Water Use Efficiency and leaves valuable capital and work for contractors and suppliers in the region and saves labour on farm and is great for the environment”, said Mr Johnston.
Lachlan CMA and Lachlan Valley Water offer experienced staff who can provide further information on the program guidelines and application process.

Native Fish Awareness week

By Sally Willoughby
Natural resource groups converged on Condobolin last Thursday as part of Native Fish Awareness week to communicate local strategies aimed at rehabilitating the native fish population and habitat.
The Native Fish Strategy is an initiative of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to rehabilitate native fish species over a 50-year period.
Native Fish Strategy Coordinator Charlie Carruthers from Industry and Investment NSW said a study found that in 2004, when the strategy was first implemented, estimated levels of native fish species at just ten per cent of those pre-European settlement.
“The goal of the Native Fish Strategy is to bring native fish stocks back up to 60 per cent of their pre-European levels over 50 years.
“Today allows us to get into the community and raise awareness of native fish habitats, barriers to fish passages, riparian clearing, desnagging and water quality,” Charlie said.
Ongoing projects that complement the education and awareness strategy are the Lachlan River Revival Project, Fish on the Move which is a fish passage barrier project and Wetlands on Farms which are all currently implemented within the Lachlan region.

Condobolin High School assist the Lachlan River Revival Project by planting treesStudents support Lachlan River Revival
Condobolin High School students did their bit for the environment last Thursday planting 100 trees along the Lachlan River as part of the multi-partnership Lachlan River Revival – Habitat Restoration Project initiated by the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority (CMA).
Catchment Officer with the Lachlan CMA, Geoff Minchin, said the success of the River Revival project relied on community engagement, education and awareness.
“Our focus is to really engage the community in river health and look at our good fish habitat and work to protect and improve on that,” Geoff said.
Students were educated in the threats to native fish species in the Lachlan River and their habitat to further increase awareness of the situation.
With various river restoration projects instigated over the last five years the Habitat Restoration Project was first implemented earlier this year and includes educating landholders and the community in erosion control, fencing off rivers and creeks and stock water supply.
Geoff said a key element of the program was to build an environment where native fish are resilient to aquatic pests like carp.
With recent studies indicating that carp dominate fish communities throughout the catchment making up 76 per cent of the fish biomass in the Lachlan River alone, the LCMA looks to reduce this population using initiatives including Cleanup a Lachlan Carp Day held earlier this year and commercial fishing.
“Keith, our commercial fisherman [contracted by Lachlan CMA], fishes upwards of 1000 tonnes of carp annually and he believes there’s an overseas market for up to 10000 tonnes,” Geoff said.

LCMA bring zoo to school

Zoo Education Officer Rob with Condobolin Public School and Tullibigeal Central School studentsLast Monday the Taronga Zoo visited Condobolin Public School with students treated to fascinating information and great stories about our native wildlife, put on by Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo.
The Zoo team included a well known storyteller who told students stories of the Dreamtime.
The Animals of the Dreaming combines the excitement of meeting native animals with the mesmerising Dreamtime stories, for an engaging and educational experience

River Revival Cleanup a Lachlan Carp Day

River Revival – Lachlan River Carp Cleanup is a multi-partner project initiated by the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority (CMA) will be held in Condobolin on 30 April in response to calls from the community to reduce the overall numbers of carp in the lower Lachlan Catchment.
The density of carp in the Lachlan Catchment is among the highest of any catchment in New South Wales. Recent studies have found that carp dominate fish communities throughout the catchment, making up 76 per cent of the fish biomass in the Lachlan River alone.
By three years of age, female carp can produce up to one million eggs per kilogram of body weight and the species can spawn several times a year. So take an average 2.5 kg female, with potentially 2.5 million eggs produced per spawning event, spawning twice a year and that’s potentially 5 million juvenile carp per year produced by just one average sized female- that is more than the population of Sydney.
The River Revival project has recently concluded its benchmarking stage, which gathered information on the carp population size, Lachlan River health and current social attitudes towards carp.
The benchmarking phase, in addition, saw the trial of carp separation cages in wetland channels. Carp separation cages work because migrating carp tend to try to jump over when faced with a barrier, a behaviour that native species of fish generally do not exhibit. When carp jump over the barrier they land in a holding cage. Carp trapped in the holding cage can then be collected and processed to be sold commercially as pet food or fertiliser.
Recreational Fishing Events are considered a vital component of the River Revival Community Engagement Strategy, providing ideal opportunities to catch up with keen anglers from across the catchment while removing carp from the system. In 2010 the River Revival Team are hosting the inaugural Cleanup a Lachlan Carp Day on the 1st May. This is to be an annual event held at various locations across the Lachlan Catchment.
A number of weigh-in sites are being run by local community groups across the catchment over the weekend. Registered sites include:
Lachlan River at Darby’s Falls Saturday, 1st May 2010 Darby’s Falls Progress & Urban Landcare Group – Janet Saurine 02 6345 1804
Condobolin 4pm Friday, 30th April Condobolin & District Landcare – Showground 2010 Kate Kirk 02 6895 1108
Lake Cargelligo Foreshore Saturday, 1st May 2010 Lachlan CMA – Michelle Jefferies 0428 634 758
Lachlan River at Hillston Saturday, 1st May 2010 Lachlan CMA – Michelle Jefferies 0428 634 758
Lachlan River at Booligal Weir Saturday, 1st May 2010 Lachlan CMA – Michelle Jefferies 0428 634 758
If you are a member of a community group interested in hosting a site in your local area please contact Michelle Jefferies, Carp Cleanup Coordinator with the Lachlan CMA on 0428 634 758 by the 23rd April 2010. Registered sites will be eligible for support and a range of sponsorship options.
Individuals wishing to participate in the Cleanup a Lachlan Carp Day should register on the day at a nominated weigh-in site.
If you are not near a registered weigh-in site please contact Michelle Jefferies, Carp Cleanup Coordinator with the Lachlan CMA on 0428 634 758 or via email carpcleanup@cma.nsw.gov.au to register your participation.
All participants, whether they submit their catch information at a nominated weigh-in site or through an individual registration within two weeks of the day, will go in the draw for a range of terrific prizes proudly supported by the Lachlan CMA.

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