Managing our landscapes: 3 things to expect in 2024
The new year is a chance to draw a line in the sand and look with fresh eyes at the 12 months ahead.
In 2024, the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board has many exciting projects on its books. We can’t spill all the beans, but here's some of the important work we’ve planned to care for land, water and nature this year.
1. Landscape-scale pest crackdown
Pest plants and animals are a major blight on our landscape, causing biodiversity damage and millions of dollars in agriculture and industry losses. In addition to its continuing region-wide pest management program, this year will see the Board collaborate with partners to pursue landscape-scale control of feral deer, feral cats and foxes.
Feral deer eradication
In 2021/22 feral deer were estimated to cost SA agricultural industries $36 million and without further investment, state-wide productivity losses are projected to increase to more than $241 million by 2031. This year we’re kicking off our involvement in the 10-year South Australian Feral Deer Eradication Program and will target known feral deer refuges in our region, including at Flaxman Valley, Buckland Park, the Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council district and upper southern Flinders.
Controlling foxes and feral cats on southern Yorke Peninsula
As part of the Marna Banggara project, the Board is continuing its predator control work thanks to funding from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW). We’ve received $500,000 through the Supporting Communities Manage Pest Animals and Weeds Program and will work closely with landholders and community groups to continue the control of feral cats and foxes. This work is crucial to the continuing success of the ambitious Marna Banggara project on southern Yorke Peninsula. Recent monitoring of brush-tailed bettongs in Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park showed the endangered marsupial is thriving in its new home.
2. Deep dive into water sustainability
Water allocation planning
In the water space, we will work on two separate water allocation plans (WAPs) at various stages of the review process. A water allocation plan is a legal document that ensures water resources are allocated fairly, securing sustainable supplies for the community, industry and the environment. After a draft consultation phase, the Barossa Water Allocation Plan is now ready for its final review in the first half of 2024 and we hope to see a new plan endorsed through parliament by the time we ring in 2025. The next cab on the rank is the Baroota WAP, which will be the first plan for water management in the area, which stretches along the east coast of Spencer Gulf.
Environmental and cultural flows
On the ground we expect to work with partners to negotiate environmental and cultural flows at Beetaloo and Baroota Reservoirs to supplement the e-flows conducted in 2021 and 2022. We will also continue to monitor watercourse and tree condition to build a picture over time about the ecosystem’s health.
3. Helping landholders deal with drought
The end of 2023 saw the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board commit $80,000 in funding to support Rangelands farmers cope with drought conditions in the north of our region. 40 farmers received $2,000 each to fund infrastructure development projects, such as stock containment areas, water infrastructure, fodder plantings, shelterbelts and decision-making tools. The first half of this year will see these farmers implement these drought management tools on their properties, with support from landscape officers working out of our Orroroo office.
Want to know what you can do to support us in 2024?
- Use the FeralScan appto record pest animal activity in your local area. This information helps to create a feral animal map and guides our control efforts.
- Have your say in the water allocation planning process. These reviews involve extensive consultation and we welcome your feedback. Subscribe to Northern and Yorke Landscape Board’s Yakka e-newsletter to stay updated about the WAP process.
- Get involved in our citizen science activities, such as Waterbug BioBlitzes. Contact usto be added to our volunteer register.