News from the Alps #66 – The Fire Stories Edition – May 2020
Welcome to a special post 2019/20 bushfire season edition of News from the Alps #66. In this edition, staff share and reflect on their experiences of one of the most protracted and intense bushfire seasons across the nation that any of us have witnessed, closely followed by a world viral pandemic .
These stories highlight the diversity of critical roles and functions that Alps National Parks agency staff perform in bushfire and other incidents. The preparation, response and ongoing recovery. These efforts often go unknown within the broader community: the media images of walls of flame, firefighters on hoses and water bombing aircraft don’t show that there is much more going on behind the scenes.
Whether it be staff on the front line as firefighters with a hose, rake-hoe or drip torch in hand; remote area and vehicle based firefighters; Incident management team specialists in control, operations, planning or logistics, air operations; heavy plant and equipment, weather and fire behaviour specialists; or wildlife experts protecting threatened species and their habitats, or admin support staff, as well as the parks ‘business as usual staff’ that try to keep the parks and reserves functioning day to day. Then the months and years of recovery work, they are all critical to the longer term outcome.
Our thanks go out to all the other fire and emergency service and support agencies, there staff and the thousands of volunteers, adjoining property owners and local community members who pulled together at a time of national crisis in an effort to protect life, property and the unique values of the Australian Alps. Our thoughts also go to those who were terribly impacted, that lost the lives of loved ones, property and to everyone who has been affected. We are all on the long road to recovery together.
Have a read and feel free to pass it on to friends and colleagues. Then check out the complete set of back issues here.
Australian Alps National Parks Co-operative Management Program Call for Projects 2020 – 2021
The co-operative management program for the Australian Alps national parks seeks to achieve excellence in management and sustainable use in the conservation reserves that span the Australian Alps region through a strong program of cross-border co-operation. The primary way the Alps Program achieves this goal is through the delivery of targeted Alps-wide projects which address priorities set in the three-year Strategic Plan. The Australian Alps Liaison Committee is now calling for project proposal submissions from staff, researchers and relevant stakeholders for the 2020-21 Works Program. Projects can seek funding from between $500 – $50,000 annually and may be up to 3 years in duration.
Closing date for submission of proposals is Friday 01 May 2020
Applicants should note the priorities in the Australian Alps Co-operative Management Program Strategic Plan 2019-22 and how there proposal addresses and meets the core values, priorities and outcomes outlined within the Strategic Plan. For further information on assessment criteria, how to submit a project proposal and applications forms, refer to the 2020-2021 Project Proposal Form and information
The Alec Costin Collection – ‘A truly precious resource’
The Australian Alps National Parks Co-operative Management Program has recently funded a project to archive the life and work of Alec Costin. As a scientist, activist and government advisor, Dr Alec Costin was instrumental in the conservation of the Australian Alps over the course of eight decades from 1946 through to the 21st century.
“The Alec Costin Collection comprises a broad set of records created and/or compiled by Alec Costin during the course of his life and work. The records span from 1770 to 2019 and include papers, reports, correspondence, publications, manuscripts, photographs, slides, data sheets, diagrams and graphs The collection constitutes an important resource for scientists and other researchers from a wide variety of disciplines, offering a unique insight into the study of ecology – and the history of conservation – in Australia, particularly as it relates to the changing vegetation and landscapes of the Australian Alps. This large and diverse collection, compiled by Costin himself, was systematically organised, stored, preserved and catalogued by the eScholarship Research Centre at The University of Melbourne.”
The Alec Costin Collection guide was produced as part of the project to archive the legacy of Alec Costin, an internationally respected Australian alpine ecologist. This guide provides a useful tool for such investigations by allowing researchers to easily identify and find the contents of records held in the collection.
2019 Australian Alps feral horse aerial survey results are released
In autumn 2019, the Australian Alps National Parks Co-operative Management Program working with Parks Victoria, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and ACT Parks and Conservation Service undertook a feral horse aerial survey in the Australian Alps. The 2019 survey followed the 2014 model, by employing the same operational and statistical methodology. This allowed for the estimation of both the current population and the change in horse numbers in the surveyed areas over the past five years.
Results from both the 2014 and 2019 Australian Alps Feral Horse Aerial Survey indicate that the overall Australian Alps feral horse population is large, widespread and continues to increase in size. The estimated overall feral horse population within the combined surveyed areas has more than doubled over the 5 years between the 2014 and 2019 surveys.
Combining estimates for each of the three blocks surveyed, the population across the surveyed Australian Alps area increased from an estimated 9,190 in 2014 to 25,318 in 2019. This is an increase of 23% per annum.
Such rates of population growth and increase are consistent with international research, survey and monitoring of feral horse populations across the world.
The methods used for the Australian Alps feral horse aerial survey are widely used by expert wildlife biologists and land managers around the world to estimate the density and size of wild populations of animals. They are widely accepted as providing robust and credible results. Studies using these methods have been published widely in peer-reviewed international scientific literature.
The survey design, methodology and analysis for the Australian Alps Feral Horse Survey 2019 has been independently peer reviewed by external experts from St Andrews University, Scotland who are international experts in the application of Distance sampling survey techniques and CSIRO Australia to verify that the survey, analysis and reported results are scientifically rigorous and robust.
The Alps Program has previously co-ordinated horse aerial surveys in 2001, 2003, 2009 and 2014, so this was the latest in a long running monitoring program that has provided valuable information to land managers, scientists and other stakeholders.
The results of this large-scale aerial survey give the most comprehensive picture to date of feral horse numbers, range and population trends across the Australian Alps. It is vital information that will contribute to future scientific research and inform evidence based adaptive management by Parks’ agencies.
A summary report and ‘Answers to Frequently Asked Questions’ about the aerial survey along with the full technical report on the aerial survey, its analysis and results can be found on the Australian Alps National Parks website.
What is the Australian Alps National Parks Co-operative Management Program?
This short video explains our vision and mission in bringing people together, including stakeholders, communities and park agency staff from across the state and territory jurisdictions and boundaries united in a common goal to protect the important natural, cultural and community values of the Australian Alps national parks. The Alps Program which has been operating now for 33 years is an important piece of the Australian Alps management framework.
News from the Alps – Spring Edition
Hello everyone and welcome to another great issue of News from the Alps . As always its full of Alps related goings-on and interviews: from moon landings to horse monitoring; taming water to strategic planning; and a feature on managing the Alps landscapes ‘then and now’.
This issue marks the Dr Who-like handover – from old to new – of the managers who co-ordinate delivery of the Alps program. You can also find the answers for the crossword from issue #64 if it has been driving you crazy trying to solve it.
Have a read and feel free to pass it on to friends and colleagues. Then check out the complete set of back issues here. Enjoy!
Strategic Plan 2019 – 2022 for the Australian Alps national parks Co-Operative Management Program
The Alps Strategic Plan 2019-22 was endorsed by the Australian Alps Liaison Committee at its last meeting in June 2019. The Plan sets the framework for the Alps program for the next 3 years establishing the vision and mission and reflecting the current on ground priorities for the Alps program within the theme of ‘People Working Together’ and the 4 key core value areas of Environment; Cultural Heritage; Connecting People; and Program Management. The new Strategic Plan can be found here: Strategic Plan 2019-2022 for the Australian Alps national parks Co-Operative Management Program – 2019
2019 Aerial Horse Survey
In Autumn 2019, the Australian Alps Co-operative Management Program will be working with Parks Victoria and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to conduct an aerial wild horse survey in the Australian Alps. The purpose of this survey is to produce an estimate of horse populations in the surveyed areas and the change in numbers since the last survey in 2014. The Alps Program has previously coordinated surveys in 2001, 2003, 2009 and 2014, so this will be the latest in a long running monitoring program that has provided valuable information to land managers, scientists and other stakeholders.
Introduced Deer Field Identification Guide for the Australian Alps
Feral deer are now very common and increasing in abundance across the Australian Alps. Introduced Deer Field Identification Guide for the Australian Alps was produced by Dr Andrew Claridge in 2016 with support from the Australian Alps Program. It is divided into 3 section: a profile of 5 species of deer; a focus on their ecological impact; and the final section shows how to read deer sign in the wild. It’s a great companion for anyone with an interest in feral deer.
Hot off the press! SEED GERMINATION OF SUB-ALPINE BOG AND FEN PLANTS
Alpine Sphagnum bogs and associated fens occur in alpine and subalpine parts of Australia and are federally listed as endangered ecological communities. These peatlands provide many benefits such as water filtration at catchment sources. They also provide breeding habitat for endangered species such as Corroboree frogs. Peatlands are small, fragmented and can be damaged easily. Increasing fire frequency has been of particular concern for land managers. The methods used to successfully restore peatlands after fire rely on unknown stocks of plant material surviving in the peat after fire. When our research began it was unclear whether soil seed banks formed in these communities, or how they might affect regeneration of the plant community.
In this report Guja and Brindley have investigated 13 bog and fen plant species to find out whether their seeds can form soil seed banks, and how their germination might be affected by burial. They found that the seeds of most of these species were still viable after burial for multiple growing seasons and could germinate under particular conditions detailed on the next page. Land Managers can use these findings to inform restoration practices for key plant species in degraded alpine peatlands.
Seed persistence in soil – seed bank of sub-Alpine Bogs and Fens – Full report June 2017
SEED GERMINATION OF SUB-ALPINE BOG AND FEN PLANTS – Fact Sheet June 2017
Happy Birthday everyone. It’s truly wonderful to see that the Australian Alps nation parks Co-operative Management Program is now marking its 30th year. To celebrate, we’ve crammed this issue of News from the Alps with stories from every perspective. Discover just how politically challenging it was in 1986 to get a cross border co-operative management agreement over the line. Skip down memory lane with a few past Program Managers and be inspired by the story of the Australian Alps Walking Track. There’s lots to see and enjoy in this souvenir edition, and it all celebrates a visionary decision made three decades ago.
The recent Australian Alps Climate Futures Forum was run as part of the Science Management Series under the auspices of the Australian Alps national parks Co-operative Management Program. The science management forums are supported and partnered with the IUCN/WCPA through the Mountains Specialist Group which has a focus on conservation, management and protection of mountain protected areas globally. Over 60 people attended from a wide range of backgrounds including protected area managers, researchers, agency experts and alpine ecologists. Download the Climate Futures report 2016 here. Updated Aug 2016
Latest Feral Horse Reports
Two new reports are released today, May 4th 2016. The reports investigate both the estimated numbers of horse in the Australian Alps and the impacts of these populations of alpine landscapes. A summation of both reports can also be accessed under the Australian Alps Factsheet : Wild Horse management
Protected Area Governance and Management presents a compendium of original text, case studies and examples from across the world, by drawing on the literature, and on the knowledge and experience of those involved in protected areas. The book synthesises current knowledge and cutting-edge thinking from the diverse branches of practice and learning relevant to protected area governance and management. This book is proving very popular with over 22600 free downloads so far.
Editors: Graeme L. Worboys, Michael Lockwood, Ashish Kothari, Sue Feary and Ian Pulsford. Download free PDF or purchase harcopy here
Snowy Scheme site rehabilitation report
Ten years of restoration work at 200 sites within Kosciuszko National Park – sites damaged during the construction of Australia’s most iconic hydroelectric scheme – is showing substantial progress and is contributing to the protection of the parks internationally significant ecosystems.
NEW – Australian Alps book (Second edition)
This new updated version of the original book published in 1998 is a must for students, agency staff, alpine history buffs, adventurers, naturalists and anyone one who has a love and passion for the Australian Alps. A fascinating guide to Kosciuszko, Alpine and Namadgi National Parks, it introduces the reader to Australia’s highest mountains, their climate, geology and soils, plants and animals and their human history.
The Alps Partnership
In 1986, with the signing of the first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), NSW, Victoria, ACT and Australian government national park authorities formally agreed the national parks in the Australian Alps should be managed cooperatively to protect the area’s special character. Through this spirit of cooperation the Australian Alps Liaison Committee (AALC) was formed to ensure that the parks and reserves in the Alps are managed as one biogeographical entity to protect them for generations to come.
Learn more about how the area is managed