Little Penguin adoption of under-road culverts, Bruny Island 2017/18

A success story 

As part of the Department of State Growth’s Bruny Main Road upgrade project, seven under-road culverts and associated penguin fences were installed before the 2017/18 Little Penguin Eudyptula minor breeding
season at the Neck colony. As the numbers of returning penguins increased as the breeding season progressed, so did their adoption and use of the culverts, so that by the end of the season in January 2018, very few birds were recorded with cameras along the fence line on the roadside.

Read the full report by Dr Eric Woehler, Peter Vertigan and Regi Broeren of Birdlife Tasmania here.

 

Call for Moratorium on Salmon Farm expansion in Storm Bay

Three community groups on Bruny Island joined to call for a moratorium on proposed expansion of finfish farming in Storm Bay.

Friends of North Bruny Inc. (FONB),  Bruny Island Comm-

unity Association (BICA) and the Bruny Island Environment Network (BIEN) today announced they are joining forces to demand a moratorium on expansion of finfish farming in the waters surrounding
Bruny Island including Storm Bay. The moratorium objectives are included in their joint submission regarding Huon Aquaculture, Tassal and Petuna’s expansion plans in Storm Bay lodged on Wednesday 17th .

Spokesperson for the groups Mr. Gerard Castles Vice President of FONB said,“We are NOT trying to stop fish farms, but we want a truly sustainable approach to finfish farming in the Bruny bioregion.” What we are calling for is a moratorium until such time as finfish farming is considered in relation to all other uses and users of resources in the waters surrounding Bruny Island and across Storm Bay.

“Our own research has shown that what is planned around Bruny is a massive expansion and we are calling on Minister, Jeremy Rockliff, to put a moratorium on finfish farming expansion until community concerns are addressed” The  argument is not about marine farming per se.  It is about the use, development and management of all resources in the Bioregion.

See the joint submission here.

 

Felix is Environmental Champion for 2017

It was with great pleasure that I presented the Shaun Bromfield Environmental Champion Award to Felix O’Meara at the Bruny Island District School Final Assembly on Dec 18th. This is an annual award donated by BIEN in memory of founding member, Shaun Bromfield.

Felix (centre) with proud parents Ross O’Meara and Emma Harley

Felix is a fine young champion who at a very young age has displayed a passion and regard for the environment. He is a keen participant in school environmental activities and has assisted in wider community events such as the annual gull count.

 

The awards states that the recipient has

  • Outstandingly displayed the value of caring
  • Excellence in the skills of awareness and observation.
  • Has researched around an environmental issue.
  • Has used these skills in a practical way to inspire others, or to achieve a better outcome for the environment.

Felix not only received  a cash prize for himself but also two books donated for the school library in honour of his great work. Well done Felix!

Marg Graham

Media Release – 25 June 2017

BRUNY ISLAND COMMUNITY GROUPS TO PULL OUT OF GOVERNMENT’S TOURISM PLANNING PROCESS

Community groups on Bruny Island have voted to withdraw from the Government’s tourism planning process. The Bruny Island Community Association (BICA) and the Bruny Island Environment Network (BIEN) have taken this stand because they say that the current tourism destination planning process does nothing to address the capacity of the Island and its people to cope with a massive increase in visitor numbers. Overseas and interstate visitors to the Island have increased by 75% over the last 2 years.

In a statement, both groups said that “The process currently in place will simply lead to ever more visitors and increasing pressure on the local community and the environment.”

According to the President of BICA, Fran Davis,
“This has placed enormous pressures on the limited community resources and the environment and we do not have the resources to manage the effects of the increases in visitor numbers. Meanwhile the Government and Council are focusing on infrastructure improvements such as a new ferry and road upgrades which will only increase the number of visitors.”

Community groups have participated in the planning process in the hope that capacity issues would be addressed as a high priority. The Destination Action Plan agreed to for Bruny had wide community involvement and support. The plan identified the key problem as:
“To ensure that visitation is matched by the capacity of the Island and its residents to cater for and accommodate the needs of visitors.”

Community groups participated in the process in the hope that this problem would be addressed as a high priority. They say that the problem has not been taken seriously by the Government and that the community has merely been used to provide legitimacy to the Destination Action Plan. “Questions such as the reliance on volunteers to provide emergency services, the impact of increased visitor numbers on wildlife, the failure of local government to enforce planning and building regulations and the lack of resources for Parks and Wildlife to manage natural areas remain unanswered”

According to the Convenor of BIEN, Bob Graham. “Although infrastructure is an important part of capacity building, it is far more important that tourism activity is managed to match the capacity of the Island and its residents to cope. Infrastructure is costly and often takes a long time to be provided. There are many simple and low cost things that can be done to increase capacity, but these are not on the agenda of the implementation group.”

BICA President, Fran Davis, said “we are not opposed to tourism, but unless we have the capacity to deal with the pressures it creates, community opposition will grow and the image of Bruny Island as tourist destination will be irreparably damaged.”

Community groups still insist that the key problem of capacity must be addressed. Ms. Davis and Mr Graham said “Remaining as part of a process that does not deal with the number 1 problem is not an option for us. We will continue to lobby and seek discussions with Government, Council and Industry to get concrete and effective action to build capacity to manage the pressures of increasing visitation.” They went on to say that; “It is time that Governments and industry realised and accepted that it is irresponsible and unfair to dump ever increasing numbers of visitors on a small community living in a fragile environment and then promote it as a tourist destination without addressing the capacity of the Island to cope with the demands and pressures created by visitors”

Fran Davis. President Bruny Island Community Association
62931129

Bob Graham, Convenor Bruny Island Environment Network
6293 2034

Bruny Island Cat Control Project – Update by Jenny Boyer

In this article Jenny Boyer gives an update on the Federally funded feral cat project, Kingborough Council progress on domestic cat control, the recent Wildlife Monitoring project and suggests the use of Feral Scan phone app to record any sightings you have of feral species on Bruny.

“At the end of May I attended a meeting of the Steering Committee for this Project and was again amazed at the breadth and support around the table with DPIPWE, Parks, Kingborough Council, Ten Lives Cat Centre (Hobart), UTas, Tasmanian Land Conservancy and the Threatened Species Recovery Hub sharing their knowledge and experience. Staff from the Federal Office of Threatened Species and Department of Environment participated by phone hook-up.

The Federal funding contribution requires the project to demonstrate both, a reduction in feral cat numbers and data to inform the impact of cat control on the numbers of threatened and conservation significant species. This is difficult to quantify without knowing what you have to start with.

Camera monitoring has identified many cats, including new litters, with 5 different cats identified on 1 camera near the viewing walkway. Of the 34 cameras at the Neck, 26 have detected at least 1 feral cat and the actual numbers of individual cats are currently being verified.
Continue reading “Bruny Island Cat Control Project – Update by Jenny Boyer”