Bushfire Recovery Small Grants

  • YEAR: 2020
  • STATE: National
  • FOCUS AREAS: Healing our Land/SDG 15: Life on Land

We have all seen the devastation created by Australia’s bushfires. Now it’s time to ease the distress of the animals and start the replenishment of our parks. FNPW has launched a worldwide appeal Healing our land to help repair the damage inflicted during Australia’s horror bushfire season. With the support of many individuals, local and global communities and corporate partners, FNPW has been able to respond to the immediate emergency by distributing funds to wildlife rehabilitation groups across the country. Healing our land will be the next step in the bushfire recovery process.

FNPW support

This project was funded through generous donations from FNPW supporters across Australia and beyond.

Grant round: Bushfire Recovery Small Grants

Project overview

As part of FNPW’s Healing our Land initiative, our focus is to repair the damage inflicted on our country following the devastating bushfires. With over 12 million hectares of national park and bushland affected and an estimated one billion native animals losing their lives, the initiative will focus on the regeneration and recovery of Australia’s flora and fauna.

“Our main driver is looking at the loss biodiversity and how we’re going to deal with that,” said FNPW CEO Ian Darbyshire. “We are looking at decades of work and there are also things that we can just do straight away. It’s going to be a consistent effort with the Federal Government, state governments and communities, to heal the land.”

Over the coming 12 months, FNPW will continue to distribute funds to the amazing army of Australians engaged in wildlife rehabilitation through the Wildlife Heroes program. Beyond that, Healing our land will also extend to help restore our national parks with tree plantings and landscape management.

Additionally, Healing our land may involve purchasing lands for the express purpose of becoming new national parks. With over 12 million hectares burned across the country, rehabilitation of animal habitat will be a mammoth task. “The loss of biodiversity is quite huge.” Added Ian.

With your support, we can get to work to rebuild what has been lost, to begin Healing our land.

As an urgent next step following the horrific bushfire season, we have awarded the first of our Emergency Bushfire Recovery Grants, with an initial focus on rehabilitating urgent, devastated areas in New South Wales and South Australia.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

FNPW supports projects across Australia. In the spirit of reconciliation the we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.

Photo credit: SA Seed Conservation Centre

PROGRESS OF THIS PROJECT

The project is ongoing.

This project was funded by FNPW in 2020.

Photo credit: SA Seed Conservation Centre

PROJECT PARTNERS

FNPW is the lead organisation for this project.

 

2020 NSW Grantees

NSW

Koori Country Firesticks Aboriginal Corporation/Birkenburn Cultural Burn Program & Workshops: Koori Country Firesticks Aboriginal Corporation (KCFSAC), in collaboration with private landholders Tom Gordon and Martina Shelley, will undertake a cultural burning program for Tom and Martina’s rural property “Birkenburn” in the NSW Southern Tablelands. The project aims to regenerate and maintain biodiverse habitat on the property and protect it from wildfire, while encouraging and enabling surrounding landholders and community to do the same.

Aboriginal Site Recording Yengo NP and Surrounding Country: The bushfires affected extensive areas of the Yengo NP and hundreds of cave paintings and engravings sites may have been impacted by the fires. At the same time, unrecorded sites may be revealed as the bush is more open and overhangs and rock platforms are visible. Elder Warren Taggart and his team of volunteers will visit known sites and report back to National Parks (NP) with documentation for the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS).

Batemans Bay Local Aboriginal Land Council: Cultural surveys will be undertaken on the land damaged by the bushfires, to assess for cultural sites, landmarks and places of significance. Flora and fauna surveys will help with the regeneration, repopulation and natural migration of species which play an important role in our country.

AABR post-wildfire bush regeneration assistance: The Australian Association of Bush Regenerators will create marketing resources and host three weeding workshops in fire-affected high conservation areas where post-fire regrowth is being hampered by weed regeneration. Its purpose is to provide guidance and basic post-fire bush regeneration skills to bushland managers and community volunteers.

Climate Change effect on World Heritage Area, Blue Mountains: The Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute (BMWHI) has launched a project to monitor the impact of climate change on the ecosystems of the Blue Mountains of NSW, focusing particularly on the impacts for threatened upland swamps which face intensifying drought, fire and local flooding.

Wattleridge IPA Recovery: This conservation project aims to provide emergency support to sensitive ecological communities and associated fauna species habitats impacted by the recent fires in the Wattleridge Indigenous Protected Area (IPA).

2020 SA Grantees

SA

Saving the Nationally Critically Endangered Mount Lofty Ranges Speedwell: The Saving Mount Lofty Speedwell project is a targeted conservation initiative to expand the number of plants in the Mount Lofty Ranges from current estimates of approximately 200 plants to over 600 plants over a 2 year period.

Investigating the impact of bushfires on Kangaroo Island echidnas: This citizen science project aims to investigate echidna distribution, diet and health following the bushfires, which have added additional pressure on the endangered species.

Nest boxes for wildlife after fires on Kangaroo Island: As a result of the Kangaroo Island bushfires, a community nest box project has been initiated to provide immediate shelter for insectivorous bats, pygmy-possums, and several bird and reptile species.

Latest news on this project.

Project Name Aboriginal Site Recording Yengo NP and Surrounding Country – a response to recentbushfires 

The grant has allowed many Aboriginal sites in the Yengo NP and surrounding country to be surveyed and photographed. The area was severely impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires. The team surveyed 41 known cave sites (listed AHIMS) with significant art – drawings, artefact stencils and hand stencils – photographed and GPS confirmed. In addition, there were 22 engraving sites visited and recorded with some photographed at night. The team continues to check on well known sites mainly in the Yengo NP. The survey list also includes many grinding groove sites, water ‘tanks’ and stone arrangements.

Highlights include unrecorded sites – 2 caves with significant drawings and stencils, several stone arrangements (difficult to specify quantity), engravings (some partial that could be added to known engraving at the same site) and many new grinding groove sites. Some cave sites also contained artefacts such as knapping stone flakes, ochre fragments, animal bones (most likely macropod) and mussel shells. Most of the sites survived the fires, although there was some damage to at least 2 caves due to the impact of eroding winds in the firestorm and trees that burnt into the cave overhangs. On the sandstone platforms, the leaf litter and fallen trees will have an impact as vegetation regrows and possibly cover engraving sites. The team has removed leaf litter on a number of engraving sites to protect the site. The team have worked with the National Parks rangers and this very successful relationship will continue, especially in regard to up-dating AHIMS and the protection/management of cultural sites. The team are developing their skills and sharing their knowledge ofphotography, mapping and survey planning. The outcomes of the grant have been achieved.

The bushfires were devastating and many areas were totally cleared of undergrowth. An unexpected benefit was that survey work became easier due to cleared areas and cave overhangs could be easily seen. There have been several unrecorded sites found. The consolidation and sharing of the skills within the team – Warren Taggart and the volunteer group was wonderful. Warren has been working with Allan Chawner to develop his skills in photography, especially with lighting. Jim Mitchell has become an expert in mappingand planning for site visits. National Parks staff have been able to work with the team and this relationship continues to build. Warren’s daughter, Ashlee, is planning to begin her Aboriginal cultural studies at Newcastle University in 2021 as an indirect result of the grant activities in 2020. Allan Chawner and Carol Carter have been researching and designing a book of the sites of the region. There is a publication ‘Spirit of Place – Aboriginal Sites of the Hunter Region’ in the planning stage. This book will contain photographs with supporting text developed over the previous five years and will be a valuable asset to Wonnarua Culture.

Back row – Ben, Allan, Liza, Jim, left to right Front row – Kiama, Warren and Carol

Related Projects

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Wildlife Heroes is a project managed by FNPW and designed to help and support Australia’s 10,000+ volunteer wildlife carers.