Community grants open for priority landscape areas

News article |

More than $110,000 is available for Eyre Peninsula residents to put towards community-based landscape management and environmental protection projects across the region, under the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board’s Grassroots Grants.

More than $110,000 is available for Eyre Peninsula residents to put towards community-based landscape management and environmental protection projects across the region, under the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board’s Grassroots Grants.

The grant program will open for applications on Friday, March 24 and close on April 28.

There are two streams of funding for the 2023-24 grants:

  • Small Community Grants for up to $5,000 (GST exclusive) and
  • Large Community Grants for up to $15,000 (GST exclusive).

Last year the Board funded 11 projects that focused on a variety of landscape management issues ranging from removing pest plants, revegetating habitat, protecting sand dunes and other sensitive areas, re-populating an endangered species, and educational sessions.

One of last year’s projects included $15,000 to help with restoration of Wedge Island, which is off the coast of Port Lincoln. The island, which is one of the larger offshore islands in SA, includes a mix of intact bushland and areas that are regenerating from past farming pursuits.

Community grants open for priority landscape areas
Wedge Island. Photo: Jason van Weenen.

The restoration project has been focusing on managing weeds that are likely to impact the island’s unique biodiversity as well as mapping the footprint of one of SA’s largest colony of White-faced Storm Petrel’s.

Island landholder Jason van Weenen has been working with the management committee to coordinate the project and spent the March long weekend on the island, mapping the White-faced Storm Petrel breeding colony – with surprising results.

“To our amazement, the colony was even more extensive than first thought and included a large number of isolated colonies scattered in unexpected parts of the island,” Mr van Weenen said.

“Understanding how the colony is tracking is important as it is one of the largest for the species in South Australia. It will also enable us to keep an eye on risks to the colony and help us prioritise management areas of key weeds like Boxthorns.

“Along with the Storm Petrel surveys, island-wide monitoring was carried out to detect weeds and to uncover any new species of native plants and animals on the island.

“These surveys proved highly successful with a large number of plants and animals species discovered on the island for the first time, such as the regionally rare Prickly Knawel (Scleranthus pungens).

“These discoveries will help us better protect all the unique things on Wedge and improve our conservation strategies across the island. Some surprising weed incursions were also discovered, and it’s great that management for some of these weeds has already been prioritised.”

The Wedge Island Management Committee is now busy preparing for May control fieldwork of the boxthorn weed. The boxthorn control aims to facilitate bushland regeneration on the island by removing competition for native species in some areas as well as to protect sensitive Storm Petrel breeding habitats from degradation.

Community grants open for priority landscape areas
(left) Metallarcha calliaspis, one of the many new moth species recorded for Wedge Island. (middle) The regionally rare Prickly Knawel, one of more than 15 native plant species discovered on Wedge Island during the surveys. (right) White-faced Storm Petrel burrows.

EP Landscape Board Chair Peter Treloar says the Wedge Island project is a wonderful example of what can be achieved with a Grassroots Grant.

“It’s great to hear what is happening at Wedge Island to help protect that unique environment, and I’m pleased that the Board was able to support this work through our Grassroots Grant program,” Mr Treloar says.

“Through last year’s grants, vegetation is also being protected at Greenly Beach, Coffin Bay foreshore and Pildappa Rock Recreation Reserve; while educational sessions have been organised for women in agriculture and a home school group; and Tumby Bay students have been helping to re-populate an endangered wattle.

“We have diverse ecosystems across Eyre Peninsula and I know there are a lot of community members who care about our restoring or protecting our natural landscapes.

“I encourage those community members to submit a grant proposal to help with existing or new projects.”

Projects must include an aspect of at least one of the landscape board’s priorities of water, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, pest plants & animals and the community.

Applications for this year’s grants are open until April 28. Full details including an application form, guidelines and FAQs, are available on the landscape board’s website at www.landscape.sa.gov.au/ep.

Applicants need to engage with EP Landscape Board staff early in the application process to ensure that all required information is included. The guidelines provide local contact details.

Projects must be completed by mid-June 2024 except where the 18-month grant option has been selected during the application process.

Grassroots Grants are offered annually in each of the State’s landscape board regions, as part of the Landscape SA Act 2019, funded by the Board levy.

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