SEQ Catchments is hosting a three day program of short workshops on a variety of land management topics.
Where: Boonah Cultural Centre
When: Thursday 17th to Saturday 19th February 2011
- Managing stream bank and gully erosion
- Controlling riparian and aquatic weeds
- Improve your pasture productivity
- Wanted dead not alive: GRT and fi reweed
- Sustainable horse management
Commercial, small scale and lifestyle farmers are invited to attend one or more of the scheduled workshops or just drop in to visit the information displays. Extension offi cers will be on hand to provide one-on-one advice to landholders.
To see the full event program and to register, please visit www.seqcatchments.com.au
The sessions have been designed to inform the Scenic Rim business, industry and agricultural sectors how they can access the various forms of flood relief and assistance.
To ensure the sessions are tailored to needs please see attached a simple survey which asks some relevant questions to assist Scenic Rim Regional Council in planning the information people want to hear.
There will be ads in this weeks papers - the Beaudesert Times, Fassifern Guardian and Tamborine Times to promote the session dates as well.
There will also be a copy of the survey on the Council's Corporate website today - via the Economic Development page http://www.scenicrim.qld.gov.au/economic-development
For further information Contact:
Economic Development Co-ordinator
Scenic Rim Regional Council
The Queensland Government’s successful ClimateSmart Home Service will be expanded and extended for another two years.
The new and improved program will continue to help Queenslanders cut their energy use and reduce their power bills.
The government will continue to provide free energy-saving products, such as energy efficient light globes and energy monitors so people can track their own energy usage.
Since the program launched in January 2009, more than 240 000 households have signed up to the bill-busting program. Collectively, these Queensland households will save up to $78 million on their power and water bills and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by up to 4.3 million tonnes.
The ClimateSmart Home Service, which is the largest in-home program delivered in Australia, is a key initiative towards achieving the Government’s Toward Q2 target to cut Queenslanders’ carbon footprint by one-third by 2020.
To book a service phone 133 600 or visit www.climatesmarthome.com
The sectors involved in this 1-day forum included business and industry, nature conservation groups, sustainability organisations, indigenous organisations, arts networks and Scenic Rim Regional Council.
After a full day of networking, learning, purposeful and informal conversation and connecting, ten central themes and priorities were identified and discussed. A series of priorities to spearhead sustainability in the region were developed and many potential activities for 2011 were identified. To read the summary report from the forum download here.
Pittsburgh Bans Natural Gas Drilling: An historic new ordinance bans natural gas drilling while elevating community decision making and the rights of nature over the “rights” associated with corporate personhood: http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/pittsburg-bans-natural-gas-drilling
A fascinating Bioneers presentation is also available online called “Drafting Nature’s Constitution”. It explores issues including resource extraction and suggests that simply regulating pollution will never really stop it. Mari Margil of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund discusses why we need a fundamental change in the way we use law to protect nature:
The following information comes from Qld Conservation Council’s recent articles and position paper about CSG.
Coal seam gas (CSG) is essentially methane gas extracted from underground coal seams. CSG occurs naturally in coal seams, and is held under pressure within cracks and fissures by the action of water molecules. To extract the gas, a bore is sunk through to the coal seam and the gas and water released by natural pressure (or by pump) to the surface.
The gas and the water are then separated. The gas is then piped to market. The export of CSG as liquefied natural gas (LNG) involves an additional process of converting the gas to a liquid so that it can be transported by ship.
The waste or associated water is heavily saline and also contains hydrocarbons. Government regulation now requires that the water is treated, and is fit-for-purpose as a reused resource.
Major concerns about coal seam gas extraction can be divided into three parts:
Firstly they concern water. The process could mean the contamination of adjacent aquifers and the removal of too much water from underground storages. The management and reuse of associated water must also be addressed. Current estimates suggest that 350,000 megalitres of water per year could be extracted by the industry. The use of associated water and impacts on groundwater are naturally significant concerns of landholders and environmentalists. Agriculture, grazing, rural communities and a healthy environment are dependent upon clean and sustainable underground water storages.
The second impact is upon the local environment. The industry estimates that it will drill over 40,000 CSG wells on the Darling Downs to extract gas, potentially weakening the strata rock that holds that gas in place below ground. The mass of required pipelines between wells and between the gas fields and distribution points will disturb primary production and the environment. In Gladstone, which is earmarked as the major export distribution point, up to five separate facilities may be built to export the gas. This will impact both on lands which includes turtle nesting areas and upon the harbour where dredging will disturb dugong habitats.
Extraction close to nearby communities, pipeline infrastructure and heavy industry development impacts upon local communities, where health, cost of living, and current and future amenity need urgent investigation. This is as much a community development and health issue as an environmental one.
Thirdly, it has an impact upon greenhouse gas emissions. The use of gas is often touted as a less emission-intense alternative to coal. However, given the extraction methods, the transportation required and the liquefaction process of the gas (generally regarded as adding about 20% to emissions) many doubt whether CSG exported gas actually represents a lower emission profile. As a transitionary export fuel it also fails the test as increased amounts of coal are also being exported, so gas is not ‘replacing’ coal as an alternative.
QCC's CSG position paper has a focus upon the groundwater and associated water issues form coal seam gas extraction. Read it here CSG Position Paper (160.51 KB)
SBSA aims to inform the citizens of Logan of our important custodial role for such rare native vegetation. The SBSA Bahrs Scrub Flora booklet is part of our approach to fostering local pride in the natural heritage of the Logan area, as well as to serving environmental education needs in our community.
November 10-16 was Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week, an annual campaign encouraging Australian householders, businesses and schools to ‘Recycle Right’, save water, conserve resources and combat climate change. It also provides inspiration to look at ways to green the workplace.
BOSS secretary Julie Jackson explained, “National Recycling Week is a great opportunity to promote existing recycling programs or to think about new ventures.
“Locally, Madame Mulch is becoming a familiar face at local schools who are learning all about recycling through the Magic Compost Shows and the Recycling Olympics.
“Items like corks, spectacles, mobile phones, printer cartridges, bicycles and postage stamps are welcomed by organisations like the Boonah Girl Guides, Lions and Rotary Clubs who all participate in valuable recycling or reusing programs.
“We are also currently collecting two litre coke bottles and any unwanted large rubber thongs for the Junk Orchestra for a special performance next year.
“BOSS is also looking to capture information about any other community recycling initiatives to build on the current information available online at the BOSS blog at boonahboss.blogspot.com.
“Whenever anything is reused or recycled, rather than going to landfill, there is an enormous amount of energy and resources conserved, and BOSS would like to ensure the community is aware of the possibilities, and think about what they can do with their waste,” Julie said.
World Environment Day was a testament to the innovation of our region, and celebrated our people, our places and our stories. It was an immensely successful day encouraging local community engagement and spirit.
Truly one with a local focus and flavour, it was clear that this will be an ongoing annual celebration in Boonah, giving a human face to environmental issues, empowering people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development, promoting an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues, and advocating partnerships which ensure people can enjoy a safer and more prosperous future.
We were proud to be finalists in the Scenic Rim Escapes Biggest Carbon Loser Program and participants in the Strategic Sustainability Leaders Forum.
A total of 17 primary schools were visited by Madame Mulch in the Waste Minimisation Education Program funded by the Scenic Rim Regional Council. We also celebrated National Recycling Week which featured Madame Mulch and the Junk Orchestra.
Our Caring for our Country Fassifern Reserve Revegetation Project is taking shape with over 1000 trees on site, including 250 planted in a recent community planting day. Twenty varieties including specialty timber trees will in time attract native birds, koalas, insects and butterflies. When complete, there will be over 2,000 trees, with a Field Day planned for the new year.
Other projects we’re looking forward to in 2011, include:
- hosting a coal seam gas information session presented by the Environmental Defenders Office
- thanks to RADF, presenting our Environmental Arts Program with basket weaving, mosaic, altered art and fabric dyeing workshops focusing on using natural resources and recycling and reusing items
- celebrating the opening of the proposed Helen Houghton Reserve
- contributing to the success of the Boonah to Ipswich Trail through participation on the Steering Committee
- initiating a community garden for Boonah, and continuing to contribute to the Scenic Rim Food Strategy
- building on the Boonah Recycling Register and initiating more opportunities for keeping things from landfill
- continuing to deliver the Waste Minimisation Education Program across the Scenic Rim
- ongoing tree plantings to offset carbon emissions
We thank our many members, the general public, local businesses and likeminded community groups who have supported our ventures, celebrated and collaborated with us.
We thank our funding bodies, including the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the Department of Environment and Resource Management, Department of Communities, Department of Infrastructure and Planning, the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and the Scenic Rim Regional Council for their support and belief in our vision for a sustainable future for our region.
The most common measure of soil quality is the pH and this is a good general indicator but does not tell you what to do if the pH is too low or too high. Soil pH can also vary during the crop cycle by as much as a whole point. To find out what to do to correct the health and balance of your soil you really need a soil test that identifies the mineral deficiencies and excesses. There are 92 elements that make up the earth (and the human body) and plants cannot create them if they are not in the soil, so your fruit, vegetables and herbs will lack nutrients that are not in the soil they are grown in. Ideally you need to do a soil test once a year because different plants take out different amounts of each nutrient and the rain and watering can leach out some minerals.
There are two other measures of the quality of your soil that are worth knowing and a good soil test will provide you with these. The first is the level of organic matter in the soil. Historically this used to average 5% but with the advent of the so-called “green revolution” after World War 2, the soils in both the USA & Australia have been degraded and now are commonly only 1.5%. The reason for this degradation is the heavy use of herbicides, pesticides and man-made chemicals which has destroyed the soil’s organic matter. With commercial monoculture systems there is little use of mulch and compost which build the level of organic matter. With regular use of mulch and compost matter you can build up the organic matter in your soil; for example my soil measures over 10% organic matter.
One of our major banks decided they needed a good indicator of whether to make a safe loan to farmers. After much research they came up with the fact that the best measure was the level of organic matter in the farm’s soil!
The other less well known measure of the quality of soil is the CEC or Cation Exchange Capacity. This measure tells you the capacity of the soil to store nutrients. Sandy soil typically has a CEC of only 2 to 4. Heavy clay soils can be as high as 40 to 60. To improve your CEC there are two quick and easy ways. By adding humus or humates or humic acid you can raise the CEC level because humus has a CEC of 250 and humic acid has a CEC of 450. The other way is to use fulvic acid which has a CEC of 1400!! I put fulvic acid in all my liquid fertilizers and in all my foliar sprays.
With all these numbers how do you know what a healthy balanced soil looks like? Professor Albrecht spent his life studying and analyzing soils from all round the world and he came up with the standard which shows that calcium, magnesium and potassium are the most significant elements in terms of quantity. Other elements such as silica, boron and phosphorus are critical but are needed in very small amounts. This is a surprise to many as NPK (nitrogen. phosphorus and potassium) is the most common fertilizer.
Under optimal conditions, soil organic levels are high and there is a large varied population of soil micro-organisms. Nitrogen is a very important element but under these conditions plants use the nitrogen that is freely available in large quantities from the air (which is 70% nitrogen) but which has to be converted to plant available form by soil organisms. There is no need to add nitrogen.
Conclusion: building and maintaining a healthy, balanced soil is an ongoing process, and you really need an annual soil test which should provide all three of the above measures i.e. pH, CEC and the level of organic matter.
Catchments of the Logan and Albert Rivers are currently the single largest contributors (approx 30 percent) of sediment to Moreton Bay and data from a sediment characterisation study (Caitcheon et al, 2001) indicated that about 75 percent of the sediment being delivered to the lower reaches of the Logan and Albert Rivers originates from channel (gully and bank) erosion.
The Upper Logan Reach Plan presented an ideal opportunity to investigate how a sub-catchment plan can be used to inform and prioritise actions to improve riparian health and reduce sediment loads in the Logan River, and demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach. The project directly engaged key stakeholders, including Scenic Rim Regional Council, SEQWater, Beaudesert Landcare, SEQ Catchments and local landholders in plan’s development and piloting. The project area encompassed a 7.5km section of the Upper Logan River. Commencing at the Boonah Rathdowney Road/Upper Logan Rd intersection, the project extended downstream to Downes Bridge, two minutes outside the township of Rathdowney.
The aims of the project included the following priorities:
- Stabilise and improve the condition of stream banks in order to improve water quality and prevent soil loss;
- Control the spread of weeds and reduce the present level of weed invasion in the riparian zone;
- Document the current state of the river and any changes that result from the planning process;
- Control the threat of wild dogs to livestock and residents;
- Investigate the possibilities of developing an integrated fire management plan for the district;
- Improve cooperation between government agencies, council, local groups, and;
- Measure and compare water quality in the Upper Logan and tributaries e.g. Burnett Creek.
Achievements of the project included:
- 20Ha of weed control;
- 5 km of stock exclusion fencing of riparian areas;
- 17.5Ha of tree planting;
- 120m of in-stream works; and
- 9 off-stream watering points.
Council is hosting three surveys on its website for food growers/producers, residents and tourism operators and invites everyone to inform the design of the strategy by completing the surveys below.
How you can help
- If you are a local resident of the Scenic Rim region and you buy food for home or eat out in local venues/restaurants and cafes please fill out the local consumer survey here.
- If you are a visitor to the region and are interested in seeing more local food available on menu offerings, please click here.
- If you are a food producer and would like to tell us about where you are producing and how you transport and distribute these products, please click here.
- If you are a restaurateur or have a tourism and hospitality business and would like to tell us about your business and how you use local food, click here.
(Please note: the survey is being conducted using Survey Monkey which is based in the United States of America. Information you provide on this survey will be transferred to Survey Monkey’s server in the United States of America. By completing this survey, you agree to this transfer.)
The strategy is expected to include a number of farmer/producer driven initiatives including a regional food brand, producer-run farmers markets, a regional food directory and the development of a regional food distribution system.
Cluster facilitator Sally MacKinnon from the Ethos Foundation (www.ethosfoundation.org) said, “The Scenic Rim cluster is focused on helping regional tourism accommodation businesses reduce their carbon footprint by reducing the distance their food travels. This is known as ‘food miles’.
“We believe this is the first time in Australia that a business cluster has focused on reducing food miles as a means to reduce carbon emissions.
“All the cluster businesses have already participated in low carbon and sustainability workshops and have substantially improved their energy and water efficiency as well as reduced the amount of waste they generate. So reducing food miles was a logical next step in reducing our carbon footprints.
“Over the past two months, we have monitored the distance our food travels from the paddock to the manufacturing plant to the distribution hub and then to our front door and we’ve all been shocked to learn how far our food, and particularly processed food, travels.
“Having discovered not only the mileage but also the associated carbon dioxide emitted in transporting our food, we are all now sourcing food as close to home as possible in order to reduce food miles and CO2 as well as support our regional food producers.
“Between December 2010 and February 2011, each cluster member is aiming to reduce their food miles and emissions by at least 30%. Some are even aiming for an 80% reduction.
“We’ll be integrating these changes into our businesses and reporting our findings to DERM, Scenic Rim Regional Council and Scenic Rim Escapes and we hope to catalyse other local businesses to ‘go local’,” Sally said.
For more information about the Scenic Rim ClimateSmart Business Cluster go to: http://www.ethosfoundation.org/news/421-scenic-rim-climatesmart-business-cluster
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) is excited to unveil the new edition of Australia's Sustainable Seafood Guide. This compact, user-friendly, consumer guide has been developed in response to public concerns about overfishing and its impact on our oceans and their wildlife. It is designed to help you make informed seafood choices and play a part in swelling the tide for healthy oceans. Purchase today at the AMCS online shop.
Updated with the latest research, the new Guide is super sized now covering over 100 species of seafood most commonly found in our supermarkets, restaurants and fishmongers.
It also includes regional, imported and canned seafood and information about our fisheries, aquaculture, seafood and health and more.
The Community Plan will guide decision making by government, business, community groups and individuals. It will identify things we can do to make a positive contribution towards the future. The Community Plan will inform Council’s corporate, strategic and financial decisions. It will shape the services Council provides in future and set the direction for land use planning and new community infrastructure.
Council aims to engage as many people as possible in the development of the Community Plan to gain a clear understanding of the community’s thoughts, ideas and suggestions about the region’s future. Council will also use the wealth of information already available about community views, local challenges and opportunities.
Council is committed to ensuring the community’s concerns and aspirations are understood and considered. An extensive community engagement program will take place in early 2011 with many opportunities for the community to have a say. Council is also seeking people to contact them if they would like to be involved. For more information phone Council on (07) 5540 5111 or visit www.scenicrim.qld.gov.au.
WHAT IS A MEN’S SHED?
The modern Men’s Shed is an updated version of the shed in the backyard that has long been a part of Australian culture. Men’s Sheds are springing up all around Australia. If you looked inside one you might see a number of men restoring furniture, perhaps restoring bicycles for a local school, maybe making Mynah bird traps or fixing lawn mowers or making a kids cubby house for Camp Quality to raffle. You might also see a few young men learning new skills and maybe also learning something about life from the men they work with. You will see tea bags, coffee cups and a comfortable area where men can sit and talk. You will probably also see an area where men can learn to cook for themselves or they can learn how to contact their families by computer.
So what is so special about this type of Men’s Shed? Most men have learned from our culture that they don’t talk about feelings and emotions. There has been little encouragement for men to take an interest in their own health and well-being. Unlike women, most men are reluctant to talk about their emotions and that means that they don’t usually ask for help. Probably because of this many men are less healthy than women, they drink more, take more risks and suffer more from isolation, loneliness and depression. Relationship breakdown, retrenchment or early retirement from a job, loss of children following divorce, physical or mental illness are just some of the problems that men find it hard to deal with on their own.
Good health is based on many factors including feeling good about yourself, being productive and valuable to your community, connecting to friends and maintaining an active body and an active mind. Becoming a member of a Men’s Shed gives a man that safe and busy environment where he can find many of these things in an atmosphere of old fashioned mateship. And, importantly, there is no pressure. Men can just come and have a yarn and a cuppa if that all they’re looking for.
Members of Men’s Sheds come from all walks of life. The bond that unites them is that they are men with time on their hands and they would like something meaningful to do with that time.
A good Men’s Shed has a coordinator who has both technical and social skills to develop a safe and happy environment where men are welcome to work a project of their choice in their own time and where the only ‘must” is to observe safe working practices. All in the spirit of mateship.
Because men don’t often talk about their problems, these problems have consistently been either ignored or swept under the mat by both our health system and our modern society. It’s time for a change and the Men’s Shed movement is one of the most powerful tools we have in helping men to once again become valued and valuable members of our community.
Come and see for yourself. The Fassifern Men’s Shed project is receiving active support from local Scenic Rim Regional Councillors, Kathy Bensted and Heather Wehl along with with Mayor John Brent, who is assisting to find a suitable site to establish the shed.
The Fassifern Community Men’s Shed Provisional Committee is holding a public meeting on Friday, December 10 at 1:15pm. The venue is the Fassifern Community Centre, Boonah.
This meeting is to formally start the organisation, elect Office Bearers and committee members and prepare for incorporation.
Please come along and add your wisdom to the meeting.
The report found that despite the significant efforts of government, business and the community to improve environmental management in SEQ, the condition of critical natural assets is still declining. This includes declining water, air and coastal condition and losses of critical biodiversity, habitat for key species (such as koalas), and losses of open space.
Key drivers of this decline are population growth and the associated economic activity
(e.g. urban development) and climate change.
Declines in the condition of our natural resource asset base are not just an environmental issue. They are an economic issue as:
- many sectors are reliant on the natural resource base to underpin their productivity and value (e.g. primary industries and nature based tourism), and:
- there are significant social values associated with the natural resource base (e.g. we value a healthy environment for our enjoyment and purely for its existence values).
The report found that there are significant risks to several sectors in SEQ attributable to further declines in the condition of our natural resources, particularly for agriculture, nature-based tourism, the recreation industry, and for government service provision (such as health costs, costs of environmental rehabilitation and water treatment).
The social costs of a decline in natural resource condition are very substantial. It is estimated that the social costs could be as high as $5.2 billion between now and 2031.
Ultimately SEQ households will bear these costs and a major survey of SEQ households indicates that the community is prepared to pay to avoid further damage, particularly where actions to reduce the decline in natural resource condition are done effectively and efficiently.
The full report can be found at: www.seqcatchments.com.au
“The Rim” is a project that comes from the heart of the living landscapes and communities in the Scenic Rim. It revolves around a series of painting and poetry workshops which will enable the region’s forests, mountains, rivers, creeks and fauna to speak, through the creativity of the residents of the Scenic Rim.
It engages the Yugambeh Cultural Museum to work with Mununjali Elders to collect stories about the connections between the Yugambeh people and the landscapes of their Country.
It will collate information from ecological research about the region’s landscapes and create a discussion paper for use by the project, the community and Council.
It will create an interactive project blog to document the project’s development and invite engagement from people across the Scenic Rim.
And it will culminate in 2012 with a community art exhibition at The Centre and a poetry publication that celebrate and honour our region’s natural environment.
“The Rim” has received funding from Council’s Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) and its Environmental Grants Program. Project partners include the Yugambeh Cultural Museum, BADCAP, BOSS, Goat Track Theatre, Mt Barney Lodge and SEQ Catchments.
The project will be led by a team of regional artists – nature painter Dave Groom from Binna Burra: www.davegroom.com; geological painter and storyteller John Jackson from Boonah: www.therockdoctor.com.au; and writer and poet Sally MacKinnon from Beechmont: www.sallymackinnon.com.au
Under the plan, Australia’s ageing fleet of dirty coal and gas power stations, would be replaced with a nationwide integrated power grid supplied by Concentrating Solar Thermal ‘power tower’ technology over 12 sites and 23 wind turbine generation sites.
The plan is based on proven, off-the-shelf technology that’s in use somewhere in the world right now, even down to the model numbers of the wind turbines.
Helpfully the plan puts to rest a few long-standing myths that have, perhaps, been hindering action in the renewable energy sphere.
Myth – renewable generation cannot provide baseload power.
Currently available Concentrating Solar Thermal technology with molten salt storage provides baseload power more reliably than coal fired baseload stations and with greater flexibility. Back up, for the very few times that the entire southern half of the Australian continent is both becalmed and under cloudy skies will come from crop residue burning biomass generators at the solar sites and our currently existing hydro generators.
Myth – renewable generation will never keep pace with projected power demand.
This plan will cut our overall energy use by 50% using efficient technologies in areas like transport, freight and heating where the efficient technologies will replace direct fossil fuel use with electricity. By 2020 under the BZE plan, overall electricity generation will increase by 42% which is well above ‘business as usual’ projections.
Myth – sustainability costs jobs.
The BZE plan will create 80,000 new jobs at the peak manufacturing and installation phase and 45,000 permanent new jobs once the system is up and running.
Myth – green power is too expensive.
The plan will cost the princely sum of $8 per household per week.