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Southern Otway Landcare eNews July 17 2012

Congratulations to Otway Forest Shiitake

The ABC Delicious Produce Awards were announced last night and we were thrilled to discover that Otway Forest Shiitake won in both their category (Earth), as well as picking up the gong for Best New Product. Those of you who attended the Southern Otway Agriculture Forum may have seen Rob Wertheimer’s presentation and had a look at an example of their log-grown mushrooms. Otway Forest Shiitake are driven by strong environmental principles and a commitment to the production of a genuinely high quality product. Their mushrooms are grown on logs collected  from Eucalyptus thinnings and demonstrate the real potential for both food production and agroforestry in the Otways. Congratulations to all concerned. One more step on the path to the Otways becoming the fungi capital of Australia.

Strategic Planning in Process.

The Southern Otway Landcare Strategic Plan is due to expire in 2013 and the organisation is starting the process of developing a new plan for the years ahead. It is certainly an interesting time to be undertaking such a process. The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority has released the draft Regional Catchment Strategy for review and Caring for Our Country has been through the review process. At a State level, we are still working through the implications of the change of government and at a Federal level there is the strong prospect of a change of Government in 2013. It is anticipated that all these changes will impact on the face of Landcare in the near future.

The staff and Committee of Management  at Southern Otway Landcare are seeking to understand how we can best meet the needs of the Landcare community over the coming years. Landcare groups will be hearing from us over the months ahead and we look forward to working closely with you to hear your opinions and aspirations. One thing we know for sure is that a vibrant Landcare community will be the heart and soul of our success. So join up to local Landcare, attend meetings, let your voice be heard and let’s see if we can manage the beautiful environment of the  Otways from the roots up.

Townies for Landcare

Every Wednesday afternoon at 2 pm, a small group gathers outside the Landcare office in Nelson Street. They get in the Landcare ute and drive to a site where they will weed, plant, mulch and generally work hard to keep some of our public spaces beautiful. They are our Townies for Landcare volunteers and they are truly an inspiration. If you are looking to meet some lovely people, get out in the fresh air and get some exercise (all while working to protect and enhance your environment!), why not consider joining up to Townies? For any questions, call Southern Otway Landcare on 5237 6904.

Slugs and Snails 

Written by Judi Forrester, the following article appeared in the most recent edition of the Apollo Bay Landcare Group Newsletter:   

The Otways have a very diverse range of both native and introduced snails and slugs. The best known of our natives is Victaphanta compacta , the Otway Black Snail which is endemic to the Otways and occurs in wet temperate rainforest areas, and which is carnivorous, also a favourite food of birds such as the ground thrushes etc. There are four other carnivorous snails in the Otways, a characteristic of carnivorous snails I have been told that they all have a convex underside to their shells. One that occurs here in our garden is very small, greyish brown, and a useful predator of other introduced snails and slugs. The one which has caused the most concern in recent years is the European slug, Arion Ater, which is generally black and grows to up to 4”, similar to leopard Slug, which is also introduced but far more likely to spread. It is omnivorous, will eat just about anything, including refuse, green pastures, seedlings, luckily it also likes beer. It also lives in cool moist areas and lives in sheltered positions such as under logs, rocks, fallen leaves etc. It has been in Victoria since 1856, but has not become widespread until recently in both the Dandenong ranges and the Otways. They have spread faster in the last two years of higher rainfall. It has a protective coating of foul tasting mucus, which makes it unpalatable to many predators, although some local birds such as Bristle birds are eating them. They are also eaten by frogs. They lay up to 40 cream eggs, hidden under logs etc which can be squashed, or fed to birds. Methods of control include drowning, stomping, cutting, baits [don,t use those toxic to dogs, cats and birds],and establishing habitat for predators. Our experience is that nature restores a balance in time with most pests. It remains to be seen what the long term effects will be both in garden and pasture areas and in the forest.

~ by SOLN on July 17, 2012 .

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