|Location:||New South Wales|
|National priority area:||Biodiversity and natural icons|
|Targets:||Environmental Stewardship Program - To secure at least 30,000 hectares of nationally threatened ecological communities through the Environmental Stewardship Program by June 2011|
|Funding:||Over 15 years|
|Partners:||Selwyn and Pip Job|
Protecting Box Gum Grassy Woodland
Protecting endangered box gum grassy woodland on farms with support from the Environmental Stewardship Program.
Near the tranquil farming town of Cumnock, in central west New South Wales, is a 60 hectare patch of endangered box gum grassy woodland where native plants and wildlife are flourishing. It is the responsibility of Pip and Selwyn Job, who have committed to managing this important ecological community for 15 years.
Their home is Peedamulla, a stud Shorthorn and Charolais cattle property. In 2008-09 they were successful bidders in the Australian Government’s Environmental Stewardship Program. This meant they will receive funding over 15 years to improve the condition of their box gum grassy woodland.
"Under the stewardship program, we agree to manage the site in a particular way," Pip explains.
The funds are enabling the couple to carry out activities to protect, rehabilitate and improve their valuable ecological community. This includes improving grazing and weed management on the site, no fertiliser use and encouraging native species through natural regeneration.
"On the ecological front, biodiversity has improved as a result of the six months rest and whatever additional rest we give the site during the grazing period," Pip reports. "Our major hurdle has been the noxious weed Blue Heliotrope. We are now using grazing management to try to out-compete the weed. This may take some time, but it is organic, low impact and enhances the natural processes that incorporate site ecology."
The quail presence is testament to the Job’s commitment. Quail are an indicator that there are thick native grasses, which provide habitat. The box gum grassy woodland has also proven to be a good hunting site for the wedged-tail eagle. Wildlife spotted by Pip include superb parrots, superb wren, eastern rosella, tawny frogmouth, kookaburra, striated pardalote, little friarbird and grey fantail.
Other wildlife identified at the site include micro bats, echidnas, wallabies, brown snakes, red-bellied black snakes, monitor lizards, skinks, frogs and eastern grey kangaroos.
"We are in our infancy of experiencing the changes that this site will undertake," Pip says. "Last spring and summer, was the first year in our time as owners of the property that we received average rainfall. The site bounded into its full glory, harbouring a diverse range of forbs, lilies, orchids and grasses. The native grasses have thickened considerably over our period of ownership (seven years) due to us allowing plants to recover and have extended periods of rest to allow for seed-set. The site is a mosaic of a rich diversity of grasses. We have also witnessed extensive natural regeneration of native trees."
Somehow Pip also finds the time to be a steward of the beef cattle section at the Cumnock Show, president of the Cumnock Public School P&C and a projects and education manager for the Little River Landcare Group.
Her goal in all of these pursuits is to spread the message that primary production and conservation are not mutually exclusive.
"This message has led my husband and me to being Meat & Livestock Australia Environmental Advocates," she says. "I hope to lead by example and nurture any landholder who wishes to make their systems more sustainable. If conservation can be part of that - even better."
This project addresses one of Caring for our Country’s national priorities - protecting biodiversity and natural icons.