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Author Topic: Rabbit control gives native fish a fighting chance  (Read 1629 times)

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Rabbit control gives native fish a fighting chance
« on: August 27, 2012, 11:13:33 PM »
Media release: Rabbit control gives native fish a fighting chance
27 August 12 - Victoria Fisheries Dept

Threatened Yarra Pygmy Perch in Thompsons Creek have a brighter future thanks to effective rabbit control across more than 280 properties in the catchment.

Rabbit damage to creek banks and impact on water quality has reduced and native plants can grow without the risk of being eaten said DPI Biosecurity Area Manager Ryan Cooke.

"Victorian Government funding to provide protective fencing to exclude stock and other measures will provide additional benefits to the creek," he said.

"Achieving rabbit control across the catchment has been a DPI priority for a number of years.

"DPI has used its enforcement powers to ensure that a small number of landholders don't undermine the efforts of the wider community to protect these fish."

A Yarra Pygmy Perch

More than 100 people attended a recent public meeting with all major stakeholders and partners in the project.

Those in attendance were told of the project's importance and what each group was doing to contribute to the broader project, as well as what was being asked of them.

Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) River Operations Manager, Peter Swanson said the creek supported a population of the nationally-threatened Yarra Pygmy Perch (YPP) and protection of the creek was considered crucial for their continued survival.

Representatives from Surf Coast Shire told the meeting of their contribution to the effort.

The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) spent more than $40,000 on rabbit control on the public land around the creek and Vic Roads also contributed to the effort by undertaking rabbit control in the area.

Mr Cooke said effective rabbit control requires coordination between landholders to ensure rabbit warrens and woody weeds that provide harbour along with other areas of refuge are treated at the same time.

"DPI uses Directions Notices in the first instance to ensure that everybody is working to the same timelines while other groups such as Landcare organise earthmoving contractors or pest management contractors to undertake works to align with those timeframes."

The last element in this long-running rabbit control project targeted a section of the creek between Willowite Road and Anglesea Road and involved more than 30 landholders.

Mr Cooke said rabbit numbers along this section were considered to be relatively high.

"Of the 30 properties only four failed to meet their legislative requirements and have faced further action including infringement notices and potential court action."

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