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Environmental

Innovative trial could be game-changer in restoring Australia’s shellfish populations

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shellfish in nets on a river bank.
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Innovative trial could be game-changer in restoring Australia’s shellfish populations

 

By OzFish Unlimited

A new product being trialled in South-East Queensland could be a game-changer for shellfish restoration in Australia.

A mesh bag made from biopolymers from 100 per cent vegetation that has been sustainably sourced is being tested to see if they can grow oyster clusters in the Maroochy River and Moreton Bay.

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OzFish Unlimited,  Australia’s fishing conservation charity, has teamed up with Healthy Land and Water through the National Landcare Program and the Bunya Bunya Country Aboriginal Corporation to test out the pilot project.

OzFish is using the trial to see if the mesh bags (known as BESE bags) could become a lightweight alternative to the Robust Oyster Baskets (ROBs), which are used to restore shellfish populations but are much heavier, expensive and more time consuming to construct.

“The biggest issue is not just getting the shell in the water.  We want to create a 3-D structure to allow more organisms to grow on the shell such as baby oysters and also to provide habitat for fish,” said Abbie Taylor, OzFish Project Manager – South-East Queensland.

“By creating a structure that’s got that height and complexity, you’re creating multiple areas for new oysters to recruit and creating additional habitat for crabs, worms, snails and all those other critters to hide in.

“One of the benefits of this bag is they slot into each other. They’re like sandbags – they’ll cement in with each other.”

A boat full of nets with fish

OzFish Volunteers

OzFish volunteers and members of the Bunya Bunya Country Aboriginal Corporation placed 90 bags each at oyster leases in Moreton Bay and Bli Blion the Maroochy River as part of the trial.

“They come in 100-metre lengths and you can cut them to size. They’re super easy to fill. It’s like a sausage skin, you have a big roll and tie off one end with a knot or a C clip and you put it in a bucket, fill it with shell and then tie off the other end,” Taylor added.

Dr Ben Gilby, a Senior Lecturer in Animal Ecology at the University of the Sunshine Coast, has been working with OzFish for several years and he is confident this project will deliver on multiple fronts, including water quality.

“One adult oyster filters one bathtub of water per day. They take in a lot of nitrogen and a lot of pollutants out of the water column, which is one of the most important things they do,” he said.

“They’re even doing things like taking sediment out of the water when floods come through and literally deposit it underneath them and store that for many years. They’re very efficient little creatures.”

The BESE bags have been placed in intertidal areas and it will not be known until the end of the year at the earliest whether the trial has been successful with one of the main concerns that the local wildlife will find the material too tasty to resist.  If the trial works, they could be deployed in coastal and inland areas throughout Australia.

Since European settlement in Australia in the late 1700s, shellfish have been nearly wiped out in many areas to critically endangered levels.

“The best estimates are that somewhere between 96-99% of oysters are gone from Moreton Bay,” Dr Gilby added. “We talk a lot about endangered ecosystems like corals and seagrass but there’s none worse than oysters.”

This project was funded by the Healthy Land and Water, the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, OzFish Unlimited and BCF – Boating, Camping, Fishing.

 

For more rural news, click here.

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Environmental

NSW Government supports Northern Rivers green bin education

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NSW Government supports Northern Rivers green bin education

 

North East Waste has received an $89,700 grant from the NSW Government to help educate Northern Rivers residents about what types of waste can and can’t go into FOGO (Food Organics Garden Organics) bins. The funding aims to ensure that food waste and garden waste such as plants stays out of landfill. It also aims to keep green bins free from contaminants like plastic.

Earlier this year, North East Waste and its member councils (Ballina, Byron, Clarence Valley, Lismore, Kyogle, Richmond Valley and Tweed) announced that Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) bins should now only be used for food scraps and garden waste. This means that materials like paper, cardboard and teabags do not go into green bins as they can contaminate the final compost made from the organic content.

North East Waste Education Coordinator Linda Tohver said the assistance from the NSW Government would help councils to continue promote the right message and increasing awareness in the community.

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“The response from community has been positive so far, and we need to keep spreading the word,” Ms Tohver said.

“The messages are simple to follow and will help keep potentially harmful items out of our green bins so that we can create the best quality commercial compost from residents’ food scraps and garden waste.”

What CAN go in your green bin What CAN NOT go in your green bin
Fruit and vegetable scraps Fibre-based products (bamboo, cardboard, paper etc)
Meat and bones Paper towels, serviettes, tissues, napkins
Seafood and shells Compostable or biodegradable products (excluding AS 4736-2006 kitchen caddy liners )
Pasta, bread, rice and cereal Vacuum cleaner dust
Eggs and dairy products like cheese Washing machine and dryer lint
Loose tea leaves and coffee grinds Pet poo and poo bags
Garden waste (leaves, clippings, weeds etc) Tea and coffee bags
Council approved compostable kitchen caddy liners that comply with AS 4736-2006 and the paper used to wrap food scraps. Treated wood and timber
  Plastic

 

For more information, visit here. The ‘Let’s Get our Scrap Together’ campaign is proudly supported by the NSW Government.

 

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Environmental

Never bin your batteries – just B-cycle them

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Never bin your batteries – just B-cycle them

Advertorial by Newaste

Batteries disposed of in bins are causing fires in waste trucks and facilities across the country, endangering workers, damaging equipment and wasting a valuable resource that could otherwise be recovered.

To prevent battery fires occurring – Never bin your batteries!

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Here’s how to dispose of batteries safely:

  • Remove from appliance
  • Tape terminals with clear sticky tape to prevent short circuiting
  • Place in ventilated glass container and drop off promptly at your nearest B-cycle drop-off point
Community Recycling Centres (CRC)

One of Richmond Valley Council’s Community Recycling Stations, located at the Council Administration Office in Casino where small quantities of handheld batteries can be dropped off for recycling.

B-cycle drop off points are available at many large local high street retailers. To find your nearest, visit bcycle.com.au/drop-off/

Alternatively, you can drop them at one of the regions 8 FREE council run Community Recycling Centres (CRC) or for very small quantities drop them at one of the 30 small council drop off stations (CRS) spread across the region in libraries, community centres and council administration centres. To find out more contact your local Council or visit www.newaste.org.au/crc

Community Recycling Centres (CRC)

Community Recycling Centres (CRC)

This project is a NSW Environment Protection Authority Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy initiative, funded from the waste levy

 

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Environmental

LAND NEAR DRAKE VILLAGE SITE RETURNED TO ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY

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LAND NEAR DRAKE VILLAGE SITE RETURNED TO ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY

 

The NSW Government will return a large parcel of land near Drake Village west of Tenterfield to the local Aboriginal community following a successful land claim.

A total of 104.4 hectares of Crown land across two adjoining blocks at the western edge of the village will be returned as freehold land to the ownership of Jubullum Local Aboriginal Land Council following the land claim by the NSW Local Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC).

Under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983, Local Aboriginal Land Councils and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council have a right to lodge land claims on Crown land.

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Land claims must be assessed against non-discretionary statutory criteria in the Act, including whether the land was lawfully used or occupied at the time of the claim, or was needed for an essential public purpose.

Minister for Lands and Property Steve Kamper said: “The return of this land to the Jubullum Local Aboriginal Land Council will ensure the future of this important site can be put to productive use for the benefit of the local community.”

“Returning land to Aboriginal people provides tangible economic, social and cultural benefits to Aboriginal and broader communities and we are pleased to see a positive resolution for this land.”

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty David Harris said:

“The resolution of land claims such as this is a key aspect of Closing the Gap, empowering Aboriginal people and communities.”

“It delivers on several Closing the Gap targets including supporting economic participation for Aboriginal communities and maintaining the connection of Aboriginal people to land and water.”

Drake Village

The NSW Government will return a large parcel of land near Drake Village west of Tenterfield to the local Aboriginal community following a successful land claim.

Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said:

“With the return of this land, we pay our respects to the Traditional Owners, the Ngarabal people, alongside the Jukembal, Bundjalung, Kamilaroi, Githabul and Wahlubul peoples who share a connection to the area. We are proud and privileged to share a rich local history.”

“Through acknowledging the past and our local Aboriginal communities’ connection to Country we will all benefit from deeper cultural understanding, which forms a stronger foundation for a more prosperous future.”

Jubullum Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Michelle Nagas said:

“The approval of this land claim is very exciting. It involves a substantial block of land close to Drake Village which provides strong opportunities.”

“We will have discussions with the land council and consultations with the community on future use of the site.”

NSW Aboriginal Land Council CEO Yuseph Deen said:

“The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) congratulates the Jubullum Local Aboriginal Land Council on the return of country to Aboriginal hands.”

“A key strategic goal of the NSWALC is pursuing economic self-determination, independence and prosperity for Our people.”

“Central to this is land acquisition and activation; securing the highest and best use returns and generating ongoing benefits fosters prosperity for Local Aboriginal Land Councils and Aboriginal communities.’

“This is particularly important in rural and remote areas of NSW.”

 

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