Top ten enviro news stories from Gippsland in 2019

Maybe, like us, you watched the news this year.

Let’s be honest, it didn’t look great. Our headlines have been dominated by drought, conflict, fires, crime and other calamities.

But do you remember the good news from the year? Do you remember the amazing things that have happened environmentally in Gippsland this year? Do you remember the quiet achievers? The people who have got it done? Probably not. Here are a few headlines you might have missed.

School students plant 10,000 trees for National Tree Day – the future’s in good hands

Kids planting trees national tree day

School students from across the Latrobe City, Wellington and Baw Baw shires made this year’s National Tree Day an absolute blockbuster.

“The numbers and the involvement was pretty amazing really,” said Landcare Facilitator, Marnie Ellis.

More than 800 people including students from 13 different schools, Landcare and community members planted more than 10,000 trees at 20 different sites from Neerim to Rosedale. Double the number that was planted in 2018.

“An effort like this has a range of positive spin offs in terms of building biodiversity, increasing habitat for animals, providing shelter for livestock on neighbouring paddocks and of course building community. It’s been great to see the kids not only plant, guard and mulch the trees but to see the ownership that they are taking of the sites is really encouraging,” added Marnie.

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Citizen scientists spot a Pelican more than 700km away from where it was tagged – people care.

One of 25 pelicans banded in the Gippsland Lakes as part of a BirdLife Australia Pelican project has been spotted more than 700km away in northern NSW’s Great Lakes.

BirdLife Australia’s Project Manager, Deb Sullivan, said that the bird wearing the red and white leg band numbered 217 was banded as a fledgeling bird in December last year.

“This bird was last seen on the Gippsland Lakes in early March and first sighted at Soldiers Point, NSW on 25 June,” said Deb. “We’re very excited to have received this sighting, and so far from where it was banded. We had no idea that our local birds would move such vast distances.

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One bittern, very shy – environmental actions are making a difference.

The last confirmed sighting of a bittern in the Sale Common was 1992, more than 30 years ago. Parks Victoria has been working in the Common removing weeds and improving vegetation and West Gippsland CMA managed water for the environment to be released into the Common, helping to create a drought refuge for wildlife.

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25,000 trees planted in one day – look at what can be achieved.

The Bass Coast hills are alive friends! In a mammoth effort, the Bass Coast Landcare Network and its volunteers planted 25,000 trees in. one. day.

If you ever wonder if what you can make a difference, remember that amazing stat.

A healthy river is a connected river – endangered fish can migrate in the Thomson River.

For almost 100 years, the Horseshoe Bend Tunnel has been a barrier to endangered fish migration in the Thomson River. With the completion in 2019 of a fishway, fish and other critters have access to more than 80 kilometres of pristine habitat and can now migrate up and down the river.

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Thirsty wetlands get a much-needed drink with water for the environment – through careful management, we can help create drought refuges.

Water for the environment was used in the Heyfield Wetlands for the first time, providing a much-needed boost to the wetlands which have suffered in recent years due to a lack of rainfall.

A community day in August was a hit with school kids and community members coming to celebrate and learn more about their wetlands.

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More than 200 attend climate conference – farmers are adapting to climate change.

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing agriculture. More than 200 Gippslanders came together at the Climate Risk in Agriculture Conference to hear from experts and locals about managing climate risks in ag.

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Planting seagrass to help fish – creating habitat in the ocean and on the land.

Seagrass in Corner Inlet has been devastated by native sea urchins, which don’t usually eat seagrass but has led to Australia’s largest attempt to regrow seagrass. Two hundred hectares of broadleaf seagrass seedlings will be planted over the next two years to restore and revive fish habitat.

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Pelican lovers count – people care.

More than 200 people across 92 locations, took part in the Gippsland Lakes Great Pelican Count in April 2019. The count, the only in Australia, is like a census of Pelicans at the Gippsland Lakes at the same time of year and day annually.

It’s growing in popularity and shows a community that cares about their environment.

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Killy Marine Park on the way – another landscape protected.

In November 2019 the State Government introduced a bill to Parliament to create a new coastal marine park from San Remo to Inverloch.

The Yallock-Bulluk Marine and Coastal Park will protect 40km of coastline.

We love the Gippsland coast and any attempt to protect it!

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Published Thursday December 19th 2019