Feral Dogs, cats and foxes

The issue of Feral animals is always on our radar here in the hills.
The community has been active over a number of years in control and research into the issue.
We have settled on a position of a level of acceptance that there will always be a level of feral animal presence in our environment and that to some extent they play their part in the balance of things.
However, we also know that we cannot let numbers get out of control because then this balance is unsettled.
Additionally, we are aware that from time to time particular ferals will become nuisances towards domestic animals and even occasionally towards humans (very rare).
Many of us pay rural rates to Local Land Services (LLS) for them to assist us with these controls but the reality is we get virtually no help from this quarter. I highlight here that many, many residents have tried to open up this pathway over the years but it has always led to a dead end.
After much lobbying by us and other Shire groups and individuals, for some time Byron Council had assisted with paying for the costs of retaining a trapper leaving us (in our area) with the cost of paying the trapper’s other costs.
This was initially $100 a kill in the case of a feral dog. These days this is $200 each.
Unfortunately, Council no longer is willing to pay its contribution falling back on the argument that it is not its responsibility but that of the LLS.
We continue to push the Council for a better outcome but with the revolving door of managers with this responsibility at Council, it is a frustrating and boring argument.
In the meanwhile, this community has operated with a community fund (held by Goonengerry Landcare) which combines individual and property donations and which is activated when a problem feral or pack is highlighted.
Right now it seems to be one of those moments when we have an upswing in feral dog and fox activity around the top of Goonengerry and with indications that these then spread out mostly east and north.
When we have had a moment of consistent sightings and nuisance we can decide to activate the community fund to get the trapper in.
Note that the trapper we use uses soft jaw traps (less issue for the collateral catch) and euthanised with a rifle.
I would normally recommend this right now but need to layout the now much higher costs involved.
Say we wanted to get the trapper to focus on 3-5 properties where sightings have been most prevalent.
  • He would charge $200 per property to come out with his dog and do some sniffing around and set traps if appropriate. Note here that if some of the properties are adjoining we could probably reduce the charge from 5 properties to the equivalent of maybe 3.
  • He will then come and check these traps every 3 days at $40/hour.
  • Each kill is another charge of $200.
  • Other potential charges; if any of his traps are damaged by landowners driving over them, $150. If he is called out in the middle of the night extra charge of $150 (as opposed to after 6am).
So potentially to cover 5 properties near each other over a 2-3 week targetted period we might be looking at somewhere between $1000 and $2000 depending on how many animals are caught.
We have $480 in the fund right now.
So if we are to do this we need another round of inputs.
Let me know your thoughts.
cheers, alan

More on tree clearing Repentance Creek

Update 12/12/2018

The landowners have just been in contact with me and we will sit down early next week.
They have thought long & hard and now recognize that they need to put things right and are figuring out what that might look like, from re-planting to working with DPI to adjust their Timber Plantation Agreement.
They are open to input from Council, DPI and most importantly the community.
Council and DPI processes are now in play and we will see were these go but perhaps we have an opportunity to repair and enhance this damage both to the environment and neighbourly relationships.
Original Story
In short, he does not see the problem.
He believes (a) it is his land and he can do what he wants within the laws which he says he has complied with and is within. (b) He has only just begun, there is a lot more to come.
On (a) when I checked this out with him he really did not have much exact knowledge of the laws or rules, for example, didn’t seem to be aware of the Shire’s tree preservation order or rules on clearing on steep land.
On (b) I do not think he is relying on some forestry agreement (this was the story Council came back to us with previously). He is more relying on “it is my land and I can do what I want and I don’t bother any of my neighbours, so why are they bothering me” kind of approach.
Some history;
When Repentance Creek Rd was sealed, about seven years ago, the community worked very hard to not have the road widened to the “legal” width to ensure we didn’t loose too many trees. At the time the Manager at Council in the Environment Dept was a local, Hank Bower, and we had great success. Hank spent hours of his own time tagging valuable trees, prior to the sealing, to ensure the roads dept didn’t “accidentally” take them out.
The next Environment Council-Manager followed on and did more good by having installed along  Repentance Creek Rd, markers highlighting it is HCV (high conservation zone). These were installed as part of Council’s Roadside Veg Plan and which includes this now devastated section.
The Council may have more leverage as it seems clear that the work has crossed over into this road reserve area.
When contacting Council please make the above point about the road reserve and HCV. This will give Council leverage to take action.
Other points highlighted to me by others;
  • It is clear that the owner has removed the trees to open up an extensive valley view. In the process, they have completely decimated the natural environment and koala habitat.
  • I  note that there was no traffic management at all in place during the works. Large trees were being removed less than 2m (on a steep embankment) from passing cars with no signage or traffic personnel in place
  • Allowing the owner and the contractor to get away with this act of blatant vandalism will set a dangerous precedent for anyone in the area wishing to make illegal changes to their property in the interest of increasing property values. We urge all relevant bodies to act wherever they can.

Goonengerry Water Delivery

If your tanks are running low and you need topping up it can sometimes be a challenge to find bulk water deliver in a hurry. Don’t bother trying to do a google search for “Bulk Water Goonengerry” because you will come up dry. A few white pages (yes it still exists) listings — but the phone numbers are disconnected.
Luckily my local knowledge runs deep and here are two very reliable suppliers of water delivery in Federal, Goonengerry and the Byron Hinterland.
Better Water
Mobile 0412 910 405
Add Water
Mobile 0427407709

Goon Squad Wants Work

Goon Squad?
Only in Goonengerry would you find a squad of local highly skilled professionals ready to take on any project on your property.
Any project?
Yes any project as long as you are happy for us to tell our Mother’s what we are doing and it won’t upset the Byron Shire Council. Oh we won’t take on anything that our team thinks is not responsible to our environment and all the wonderful creatures that count on it. Our squad is fully insured, licensed and equipped to provide your home or property with the following services:
Waste Water/Septic
Weed Spraying
Earth Moving
Rock Walls
Only in Goonengerry?
We prefer to work close to home. Less time travelling and more time working. Luck for us Goonengerry is in the middle of nowhere but pretty close to everything in the Byron Shire. We are happy to take on projects in Federal, Rosebank and the Byron Hinterland.
For more information contact our Head Goon Kylie Coelli on
[email protected]

New Content Management System

To the untrained eye goonengerry.com.au probably looks as it always has; however, there is more to the site now then meets the eye. Happy Days. The Goon is now running on the latest version of Word Press. Thanks to Jason Turnbull from Digiscape and Brad Baker from xyzulu for doing their geek magic.
More to come. This feels like and elephant or feather project in the making.

CSG mining in Goonengerry-Sunday 13th October

As noted last week media reporting on CSG mining in Goonengerry has been unclear.

Thanks to our local Councillor, Basil Cameron, we now have some more information.
Goonengerry is not in the clear. As of today it is important to note that Goonengerry is not yet excluded.There is a proposal to exclude a very small part of Goonengerry, mainly the school.
This is on display with the State Government until November 8th for comment and may or may not get up.
We need to lobby to get this accepted but more importantly we need to lobby to get this area widened.
Otherwise 99% of Goonengerry will not be excluded.

The attached map shows the area of Goonengerry on display for exclusion.
This link will take you to the Dept Planning website with information about the exclusion area.

Goonengerry Landcare is proposing a public meeting at Goonengerry School 10am on Sunday 13th October to discuss a community submission and response in general.

Basil has offered to chair the meeting.
Please spread the word to all Goonengerry residents.

Be Prepared for Fire Information talk

August 25th Bush Fire from Sheaffes Rd GoonengerryGoonengerry Landcare Group and Goonengerry Rural Fire Service

Be Prepared for Fire Information talk
Saturday 19th October 2013
9.30 am Goonengerry Public School
Topics include
How wildfire behaves
What is an Asset Protection Zone
Landscaping in an Asset Protection Zone
What is a Strategic Asset Protection Zone
The Big Picture for Goonengerry and environs
History of Bushfire in Goonengerry area
Identifying Bushfire Risks
What can we do to mitigate these risks
Surviving in a bush fire, how to get help
Catastrophic classification/evacuation procedures
Staging areas during evacuation
Question & Answer time

Rainforest Connections

RC-logo-verticalWe are excited to announce that Goonengerry.com.au will be partnering up with Kelvin Davies (founder of Rainforest Rescue) who has started a new venture to help save and protect our Rainforest Ecosystems for ever.