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Beyond the Bale : March 2018
Wongwibinda Wild Dog Management Plan – involving the Wongwibinda, Chandler River and Jeogla wild dog associations – and seek all stakeholders’ agreement with the Plan. This involved negotiating difficult historical issues and driving negotiations,” Dave said. “These three plans took 12 months of persistent negotiation and consultations with all the stakeholders involved and required significant effort to get agreement prior to being signed off. The benefits were, however, extraordinary.” This sentiment is echoed by Janelle Brooks, the NPWS area manager for the Dorrigo Plateau during the development of the Wongwibinda Wild Dog Management Plan. “By approaching his role in such an independent way, Dave made a real difference in building trust back in the process,” she said. “It is testament to the value of the role and Dave’s approach as a neutral facilitator that implementation of these three wild dog management plans continues to be successful in minimising stock losses and effectively coordinating control measures across tenure.” General Manager of the Northern Tablelands LLS, Paul Hutchings, also expresses strong support for the outcomes achieved by the wild dog facilitator position. “The wild dog facilitator has been a great success in our region and has contributed significantly to the strategic and operational management of wild dogs in the Northern Tablelands,” he said. “I look forward to an ongoing working relationship with AWI and the wild dog facilitator to address the ongoing impacts of wild dogs in our region.” Dave added that one of the most significant achievements of his role has been the escalation of Forestry Corporation to an active member of the wild dog community. “This year they committed to pay for all costs of aerial baiting on their land for the first time and have gone on to sign up to management plans to maintain the level of commitment for the next five years.” To increase the coverage of nil-tenure planning, Dave has also been involved with management plan development in the neighbouring Hunter Valley, North West, Central West and North Coast LLS regions. “For example, my intervention on behalf of the Hernani and Bostobrick associations led to the instigation of aerial baiting in the area after a break of more than 20 years and a signed management plan through facilitated sessions,” Dave said. WILD DOG CONTROL GROUP SUPPORT As well as helping in the development of strategic wild dog management plans, Dave has also assisted wild dog control groups in the region with on-going long-term wild dog control. During Dave’s tenure, five new wild dog control groups have been established in the region, with further new groups planned. He has been extensively involved in organising and running field days, training and workshops. He has also provided wild dog control groups with assistance in writing funding applications for training, awareness and resources such as cameras, freezers, drying racks, Canid Pest Ejectors (CPEs), traps and trapping support. Another key example of Dave’s support for control groups is his assistance in coordinating aerial baiting. This year’s aerial baiting program on the Northern Tablelands was the biggest ever and has continued the trend of rapid expansion and demand from landholders. For the first time ever, aerial baiting ran in one continuous program from North West LLS into Hunter, Northern Tablelands, across into North Coast then back into the Northern Tablelands and all the way to the Queensland border. There were an additional three participating associations (26 up from 23), 396 individual participating producers (an increase of 83 or 26%), 2,298km of private bait lines (up by 494km or 27%) with 91,932 baits (up by 19,774 baits or 27%), 915km of bait lines on National Parks’ estate (up by 147km or 19%) with 36,608 baits (up by 5,909 or 19%), 29 National Parks were involved in the program, and 418km on Forestry Corporation estate. For the past two years, Dave has edited and navigated in the air all the bait-lines for the Northern Tablelands, North Coast and Upper Hunter regions. “It has given me great credibility within the dog-affected community and a far greater understanding of the nature and extent of the issues we face,” he said. The CEO of Fleet Helicopters of Armidale that undertakes the aerial baiting, Mike Watson, said he believes that Dave acting as navigator for the aerial baiting program has provided the single biggest benefit of any change to the program during his ten-year involvement. “The benefits are related to the overall safety of operations, the general logistical organisation and planning leading to increased efficiencies and the wonderful ability Dave has surrounding landholder engagement to build the profile of the program,” he said. IMPORTANCE OF TEAMWORK “I have been very lucky to work within a great team environment which make things possible and I acknowledge their support and input because every achievement is a team effort,” Dave said. “In particular: Ian Evans (AWI), Greg Mifsud (Centre for Invasive Species Solutions), Peter Fleming and Guy Ballard (NSW DPI), Mark Tarrant and Melissa McLeod and staff (Northern Tablelands LLS), National Parks and Wildlife Service and Forestry Corporation – and of course the many woolgrowers that I am here to support.” Communication and support among the other AWI-funded wild dog coordinators has also been a highlight for Dave, and although they all work remotely they keep in regular contact and support each other. “It would not be possible to function in this role without the network,” he added. • Commitment by NPWS to source funding and pay for all control on National Parks’ estate for the next five years at minimum 2017 levels. • Commitment by Forestry Corporation to source funding and pay for all control on Forestry estate for the next five years at minimum 2017 levels. • Commitment by all wild dog control associations and Northern Tablelands LLS to maintain control on private land at minimum 2017 levels for the next five years. • Commitment by Northern Tablelands LLS to source funding and pay for all control on private land, including the supply of meat to associations unable to supply their own or reimbursement to those who do at $2.30/kg for the main autumn campaign (both aerial and ground) for the next five years. • Commitment by Northern Tablelands LLS to assist associations and coordinate aerial baiting for the next five years. • A standardised nil-tenure process for dealing with reactive control where all parties participate in baiting and other control activities. • Supply of a professional wild dog controller to landholders adjoining a National Park or State Forest when predation events occur. • Key contacts nominated by LLS, NPWS and Forestry Corporation to expedite any reactive work and simplify planning processes. • Agreement to share data and open lines of communication. • A stable environment in which it will be possible to run sheep with the confidence that wild dogs are being controlled across the entire region and there will be no reduction or withdrawal of effort by any party for at least five years. WHAT THE WILD DOG MANAGEMENT PLANS MEANS ON FARM 43
In the Shops - March 2018