The year that was: President’s report for 2019

WILDLIFE PRESERVATION SOCIETY OF QUEENSLAND:  TOWNSVILLE BRANCH Inc.

 PRESIDENT’S REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDING 31 DECEMBER 2019

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Following the February floods, members gather for the first outing of 2019. LD photo.

Membership: We ended 2019 with 51 members, including four welcome new members. The small number of new members, compared with previous years, was probably partly due to the loss of our blog for most of the year (see below). We also heard news of the death of long-time member and past newsletter editor, Tony Routledge. Tony was editor from 1985-1998 and a tribute to his work for the Branch was published in our July/August update.

Field trips: Nine field trips were held over the year, with one cancellation (September).

February: Ross River Dam Borrow Pits / March: Cockatoo Creek, Mt Elliott / April: Turtle Rock, Hervey Range / May: Jourama Falls, Paluma Range NP / June: Many Peaks, Town Common EP / July: Dalrymple Track (eastern end) / August: Magnetic Island Forts track / October: Ollera Creek glider project site and beach / November: Rollingstone Creek

Committee meetings: The committee met every second month with interested non-committee members attending several of these meetings along with the executive.

WQ Townsville photo

WQ Townsville photo

Mahogany Glider Project: The incredible rains and flooding of Ollera Creek in Febuary put dirty water into the camera nearest the creek, washed out the usual vehicle crossing, turned the entire property into the Melaleuca viridiflora swamp it actually is, and prevented access to any of the property for over 2 months.

Despite this, by the end of 2019 we had put cameras into another 15 areas both north and south of the creek and photographed mahogany gliders in nine of them. The project ends mid-2020 and we will be continuing to set cameras until then. (Photo taken by one of our Ollera cameras, the very long tail is an identifying feature of this species.)

Advocacy and action 1. Meetings The Branch was represented at the following meetings:

  • Mahogany Glider Recovery Team: February and November 2019
  • Minister Leeanne Enoch (Environment and Science): September 2019
  • Kerrie McGrath (MGRT) and DNRM staff re Ollera Creek nature reserve, September 2019
  • Kerrie McGrath and TCC staff re Ollera Creek nature reserve, October 2019

Advocacy and action 2. Submissions It was a busy year for submissions with ten completed

  • January: Mineral Resources (Galilee Basin) Amendment Bill (to Qld Parliament)
  • April: Flying-fox Management Framework Review (to Qld Dept of Environment & Science)
  • April: Spectacled flying-fox referral (to Federal Dept of Environment & Energy))
  • April: Cape Hillsborough beach closure application (to QDES)
  • July: Toolakea equestrian resort proposal, EIS terms of reference (to Qld Gov, joint with NQCC following visit to area with campaign director)
  • July: Threats to EPBC-listed entities (to Federal DEE)
  • August: Faunal extinction crisis (to Australian Senate Inquiry)
  • September: Mahogany glider essential habitat protection (to Qld Minister for Environment & Science, Leeanne Enoch, in person)
  • September: Adani Groundwater Management Plan (to Federal DEE)
  • December: Draft Codes of Practice and Guidelines for flying-fox roost management (to QDES)

Advocacy and action 3. Letters  A number of formal letters were written, sometimes followed up by emails or phone calls.

  • March: (1) to Minister Kate Jones (Tourism) – re National Park commercialisation and (2) to Townsville Bulletin, twice, re Black-throated finch media misinformation
  • April:  Minister Leeanne Enoch (Environment) – re National Park commercialisation
  • May: (1) to Minister Leeanne Enoch expressing thanks for maintaining standards for Adani management plans and (2) to Premier Annastacia Palaczszuk, twice, re Adani management plan approvals
  • July: to Greg Bruce, Townsville City Council re Ollera Creek nature reserve
  • August: to Adam King, TCC re Ollera Creek nature reserve
  • September: to Tanja Brugmann, QDES Central Qld, re Cape Hillsborough decision
  • October: to Mayor Hill re damage at Mundy Creek (supporting Mundy Creek Landcare group)
  • November: to Mayor Hill et al re Flying-fox dispersals at Dan Gleeson Gardens (supporting NQ wildlife carers)

 Other Issues

Communication: The blog was out of order for most of 2019 after being advised that we must discontinue or migrate to a new server. We chose the latter as it is our major means of communication with members and others. Problems with image display and broken links meant it was out of action for 10 months. We maintained communication by regular emails to our mailing lists and bi-monthly updates compiled as pdf documents. By year’s end all material from 2019 was uploaded to the migrated blog and ‘normal services resumed’.

Pied Imperial Pigeon Surveys: We continued our long-standing links with this project, with 3 members now involved as regular volunteers.

Life membership nomination: In November the Branch submitted to WPSQ Council an Honorary Life membership nomination for our Treasurer Jane McLean in recognition of nearly 25 years of service as an executive member of the Branch. This was unanimously approved by Council.

We owe a great debt to Liz who spent untold hours researching and writing all our submissions and official letters, as well as writing updates, and then adding the updates and trip reports to the renewed blog so the record of Branch activities is complete again.

(Liz points out she has left all the considerable admin and fieldwork of the Mahogany Glider project to our President and Secretary!)

 Denise Seabright  President                                                                                                                                   March 2020

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