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EcoUpdate : September 2021

This month we have a diverse range of stories to share with you. Everything from beekeeping to tree clearing to helping endangered species.

We’re not sure exactly what our readers are into – so just click or flick the articles below.  But please do let us know what you did or didn’t enjoy and if there’s other features you’d like us to focus on. This is your EcoUpdatewe want to hear from you.

Three key messages for EcoNetwork’s members and affiliated groups:

  1. Did you notice our new logo above? It’s all part of a re-branding move that we’ve embarked on in 2021 (too much time on our hands!). Next – the website is undergoing some changes, so bear with us.
  2. Sustainable Futures Festival – like other events, we had no choice but to postpone the Festival. It will now be held in May 2022. Watch this space for updates.
  3. Thirdly and most importantly, Tuesday 7 September, is National Threatened Species Day. Below you’ll find some articles and events which relate to this important date in the Conservation Calendar.

If you missed the very first edition of EcoUpdate last month – it’s HERE and you can subscribe HERE.

Threatened Species Day

As we approach National Threatened Species Day on Tuesday 7 September, EcoNetwork looks at what’s behind this annual commemoration that brings sadness to many but hope for the future through our advocacy and action. 

We highlight some of the flora and fauna species of the Port Stephens region such as the Critically Endangered Beach Stone-curlew and what we can all do to protect them. Read More.

Beach Stone-curlews at Sunset

Did you know that we have a very rare bird nesting right here in Soldier’s Point on the Tomaree Peninsula?

We introduce you to the Critically Endangered Beach Stone-curlew and talk about how we can all band together to help protect this very special species. Whether you’re a local resident, a dog walker, a bird watcher or simply someone who understands the intrinsic value of nature, read more to see how you can get involved.

Soldiers Point under attack – death by a thousand cuts

Why does it appear that some property owners cite a potential fire risk so they can clear vegetation? In many cases it is substantiated but in others, especially where water views are a factor, it is not as convincing.

In the recently high profile incident at Soldier’s Point, Port Stephens Council (PSC) had sanctioned, on the request from Bannisters Hotel, the extensive cutting back of tree branches, saplings and other vegetation between the Hotel and Seaview Crescent.

The local Landcare group is justifiably very upset and angry. Read More.

EcoNetwork Members in Action:

Tracking the sun – Solar on the go

Our new regular column in EcoUpdate introduces readers to some of the incredibly innovative and sustainably-motivated members of EcoNetwork.

Today, we hear from Neil Ritchie, a member of VOWW (Voice of Wallalong & Woodville). When he retired, Neil’s first project was to build a portable sun tracking solar panel for his caravan. Read all about it.

Boomerang Park – its history and its vibrant Preservation Group.

The Park is listed as an item of local heritage significance on the Port Stephens Local Environment Plan 2013 due to its important role in the development of the town.  It provides various recreational opportunities such as a sports ground and skate park, a fenced dog park, numerous picnic areas and a beautiful forest.

In 2014 the Port Stephens Council moved a motion to have 4.5 hectares of the Park developed for housing. What happened next was. Read More.

EcoHouse: your guide to sustainable living

  • Do you want to know how to reduce your energy bills, generate fewer emissions and have a healthier home?
  • Sustainable House Day is on 17 October – and this year due to popular demand, it is coming to you via a series of expert-led webinars starting 21 September. 
  • The NSW Sustainability Awards for innovation and excellence in environmental and social leadership are now open. Register your interest.

Read More about these EcoHouse features.

Backyard Beekeeping

Neil Ritchie from Brandy Hill once thought beekeepers were crazy – but then he became one! Neil was given a section of tree trunk with a colony of native stingless bees years ago, and they have lived there with zero maintenance ever since.

Amateur beekeeping is on the rise – so if you too are inspired to start a new hobby, you will find not only personal enjoyment from keeping native bees but you will be helping to secure the future for this special little Australian. Read about how it works

Nature Conservation Council says Thanks – as do the new homeowners!

After the 2019-2020 bushfire season destroyed the homes of millions of native animals, the Nature Conservation Council decided to launch a crowd-funded campaign called ‘Gimme shelter’.

This aimed to provide nestboxes for displaced gliders, possums and other arboreal animals.

The response was far beyond their expectations – more than five times the initial target was raised. Read More.

Fisheries Management: a mixed bag.

Marine scientist and President of EcoNetwork Port Stephens, Iain Watt, introduces us to the murky waters of fisheries management and responds to those who have attributed the establishment of the Port Stephens – Great Lakes Marine Park in 2005 to a reduced commercial fishing industry in our region.
Looking at the global situation, it seems like there are many reasons why fisheries worldwide are struggling, overfishing has been rampant for years and the question is when does the cost of fishing start to exceed the value of the catch?  Read More.

Powerful Owl Habitat for Sale

Continuing with the theme of Threatened Species …

The Ninox Close sub-division in Salamander Bay was originally planned for 30 lots which would have cleared bushland, including habitat for vulnerable species such as the Powerful Owl and the koala.

Following community consultation, it was approved as a 19 lot subdivision, preserving much of the uncleared western part of the site. Now the largest lot is up for sale.  Read More

Port Stephens Council assesses priority bushland reserves.

Countless hardworking volunteers spend hours in many of the 80 bushland reserves in Port Stephens, undertaking regeneration and revegetation work. But ecological restoration requires funding – and Council funds are limited.

The Bushland Assessment Tool which identifies sites according to conservation significance was developed by Council’s Natural Resources Management Team in partnership with external ecological and IT consultants. Read more.

Have a Wild Life in Lockdown – ideas for online learning and fun.

At difficult times like this, we can all rely on nature to bring us joy and stress relief. So if you want to learn something new, we have brought together some ideas from various sources which commemorate Threatened Species Day.

For example, you can watch the endangered brush-tailed rock-wallaby in its natural habitat or find out how visual storytelling can help save threatened species or even bake a cake in the shape of your favourite threatened plant or animal.  Read More.

Tomaree Ratepayers and Residents need your help

EcoNetwork’s affiliate group, Tomaree Ratepayers and Residents Association (TRRA) is asking for anyone with some time to spare to consider joining their planning team.

With the huge number of local issues, they are across most of them – but research, analysis and drafting submissions are time-consuming and some extra assistance is always needed. Read More.

EcoNetwork Port Stephens 

Our Purpose: To support our members and to educate and advocate on environmental issues that impact Port Stephens communities.

Our Vision: Ecologically sustainable communities existing in harmony with the natural environment. : : facebook