Board Meeting: March 2013
Agenda Number: 12 (iii)
File Ref: AN0004
LORD HOWE ISLAND BOARD
Lord Howe Island Rodent Eradication - Progress Report (March 2013).
In July 2012 the NSW and Australian Governments announced a joint funding arrangement for the Lord Howe Island rodent eradication program (LHIREP), through the NSW Environmental Trust and the Australian Government’s Caring for Our Country program.
This Project is complex and requires meticulous planning and a high degree of attention to detail in the planning, community consultation, logistics, and delivery stages.
The project has three broad stages that match the project objectives:
Stage 1 will complete all planning, community consultation and preparations for the eradication operation (scheduled from July 2012 – June 2015);
Stage 2 will implement the baiting strategy including captive management and post baiting monitoring (scheduled from July 2015 – Jan 2016); and
Stage 3 will monitor the environmental outcomes of the baiting operation (commence 2012/13 – 2018).
Listed below are key tasks achieved since the November 2012 Board meeting and what is scheduled for implementation up till June 2013.
The Manager Environment/World Heritage has been acting in the position of LHI Rodent Eradication Project Manager (REPM) until recruitment of the position has been finalised.
Recruitment of the REPM is still in progress and yet to be finalised. 68 applications were received by due date of 30th December 2012. A selection panel was formed and reviewed the applications.
A LHI Rodent Eradication Steering Committee meeting was held in Sydney on Thursday 6th December 2012.
The selection process to form the LHI Community Liaison Group (CLG) was finalised and the first CLG meeting was held at the LHI Community Hall on 8th February 2013.
The Acting Project Manager has progressed planning on priority tasks scheduled for completion during 2012/13.
Scoping document drafted to guide revision of the LHI Quarantine Strategy to consider risks of reinvasion of rodents following eradication;
Review of research proposals and project plans to guide implementation of targeted research projects to be implemented by Threatened Fauna Ecology Unit of the Science Division of the Office of Environment and Heritage NSW under direction from the LHIB;
Developing a draft Service Level Agreement with Taronga Zoo to undertake captive management trials on LHI to inform captive management requirements during the baiting operation; and
Assist and review background material and provide resources to Make Stuff Happen in preparation for CLG meeting.
The recruitment process for engaging a Community Consultation facilitator was completed. This included involvement of Board members and community panel members to choose an applicant that would be able to “connect” with islanders. ‘Make Stuff Happen’ (Ian Colley and Chia Moan) were contracted to establish the Community Liaison Group (CLG), who will together with the CLG develop a draft Communication and Community Engagement Strategy. The CLG is comprised of the following representatives.
Ian Fitzgerald, Bruce Macfadyen, Esven Fenton, Glenys Gardiner, Rob Simpson, Karen Wilson, Jack Shick, Courtney Turner, Frank Reed, Ian Hutton, Betty Lonergan and Dean Hiscox.
The CLG held their first meeting on Friday 8th February 2013. Two following meetings are scheduled for Friday 8th March 8 and Friday 5th April. A key outcome for the CLG is the development of a draft Communication and Community Engagement Strategy that engages the LHI community and other key stakeholders. This strategy will guide how to best share information and further consult the community and other key stakeholders and will be reported to the Board for adoption.
The draft Terms of Reference for the CLG note the role of Make Stuff Happen in the group as:
1. To provide a place for respectful discussion about the issues.
2. To broker the provision of clear, accurate and relevant information to CLG members in a timely fashion, to the maximum extent possible.
3. To provide support in the form of summaries of discussions, distribution of documents
4. To respond to feedback and requests from members, to the maximum extent possible.
5. To convey the views of the Forum to the LHI Board.
A key outcome of the first meeting was to provide detailed information on the key issues raised to the CLG members. Minutes of the first meeting are available from the Board administration offices. Information resource kits have been developed for CLG and Board members. Additional info kits will also be made available for community members on loan. Copies of Rat Island and dvd’s for Campbell and Anacapa Islands rodent eradications are also available on loan from the Board administration offices.
The Threatened Fauna Ecology Unit of the Science Division of the Office of Environment and Heritage NSW has drafted documents to seek the relevant approvals under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act, Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and the Australian Pesticides, Veterinary and Medical Authority to commence research and operations associated with the rodent eradication.
A Service Level Agreement is being finalised to engage the Threatened Fauna Ecology Unit of the Science Division of the Office of Environment and Heritage NSW to implement a suite of priority research projects scheduled for 2012/13.
Taronga Zoo will conduct captive management trials on Lord Howe Island from August 2013. These trials will be conducted at the LHIB Nursery. Community involvement will be encouraged where possible.
Other research projects will be conducted by contractors, research institutes and through the LHIB Young Islander Scholarship scheme (e.g. pot trials on uptake of brodifacoum by plants and breakdown of brodifacoum in soil).
Impacts of the continuing use of Talon®
A Board paper on the continuing impacts of Talon® (active constituent brodifacoum) was presented at the March 2012 Board meeting. At this meeting the Board adopted that:
the LHI community be informed of the recent findings of brodifacoum poisoning of woodhens that has resulted from the current use of this toxin to control rodents, and that such impacts will continue with ongoing use of the toxin.
the community be encouraged to only use First Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides (FGARs), supplied by the Board and to supplement control by the use of traps.
options be investigated to prohibit the use of Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides (SGARs) in the lead up to an eradication program.
the community continue to be informed that in contrast to control, brodifacoum can be used effectively within an eradication programme given the short time period of action, ability to mitigate risks to at-risk species, and that any non-target losses are rapidly offset by the significant biodiversity gains delivered by removing the competitive and predative effects of rodents in the environment.
the Board continue to pursue funding for the eradication program, and to contact the Federal Minister to advise of the impact of SGARs on native fauna.
The community will be informed on the issue of ongoing impacts of SGARs such as Talon® (brodifacoum) following completion of the draft Communication and Community Engagement Strategy. This will ensure the information is presented in a manner that is supported by the CLG and engages key stakeholders and the community. It is likely that technical aspects of the issue will need to be clearly described to individuals, retailers and suppliers and alternative options discussed.
It is recommended that the Board:
note above information
Prepared Hank Bower Acting Rodent Eradication Project Manager
Endorsed Stephen Wills Chief Executive Officer