Sometimes this job can surprise you!
Like many members of our team, I was drawn to a recent plea for assistance from a Kewarra Beach man who wanted to find the wreckage of a lost plane. Half a century ago, a single-engine Cessna crashed into rugged terrain northwest of Mt Molloy. Travelling on board was the man’s late brother. Changes to the terrain and road closures meant the family had lost track of where the site lay over time and they had requested our help to find it.
Members of our team joined in the search - many in their free time and on weekends - analysing maps, old documents and newspaper clippings, while also scouring through thick scrub packed with the odd thorny vine and blood thirsty leech.
I’m pleased to report that we did help find the plane and we’re extremely pleased to hear around 70 members of the man’s family will travel to the region this month to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his passing.
For many of us it served as a timely reminder of the incredible mysteries that lay underneath our rainforest canopy—both cultural, natural and, in this case, historical.
Like I said, sometimes this job can surprise you. That’s not the only thing that’s been keeping us on the road though.
After many meetings and long days, Phase 1 of the Wet Tropics Management Plan Review has now closed and I am happy to report that we had an overwhelming response from the community. This shows us the interest vested in our World Heritage Area and the role that people play in helping us manage if for the future.
The Authority will be hosting a workshop on 29 July for representatives of Aboriginal Prescribed Body Corporates and Rainforest Aboriginal organisations. BioCultural ConneXions will finalise a submission following this workshop.
I am excited about reviewing the submissions to see how we can improve on current policies so that the Area continues to play a vital and meaningful role in the region. It is not over yet though and we move into Phase 2 of the consultation process where we undertake a second round of public consultation in 2018.
To read more about the Authority’s Plan I’d encourage you to visit www.wettropics.gov.au/wet-tropics-plan-review. While work on the Plan’s first round of consultation comes to a close, our efforts to eradicate an aggressive invasive pest continue.
Another successful aerial treatment of yellow crazy ants in the Wet Tropics was conducted by our eradication team in May. Aerial baiting —a process where ant bait is spread across an area by helicopter—has proven effective in managing large areas of infestations. The two-day baiting period covered forested areas behind Bentley Park, Mt Peter and in sugarcane fields at Edmonton. A further 15 hectares at Russett Park, near Kuranda, were also baited.
July will see another round of aerial and on-ground treatment. The aerial treatment occurs just three times a year and we are encouraged by results to date. Next quarter, we’ll welcome several new staff members to the Yellow Crazy Ants Eradication Program’s team. We certainly look forward to their arrival.
On that note, I want to pass on my well wishes to members of our team who have left in the last few months. Lana Lopatich left in April after an impressive 19 years of service with the Authority. Lana will be remembered for her energy in organising community events including our prestigious Cassowary Awards. Zoe Andolfatto, has also left after a very fruitful and productive time spanning nearly five years working in the Indigenous space at both the Authority and EHP. More recently we have bid our farewells in the team to Shona Smith who has supported us with her creative and graphic flair during the last two years, and Sam Davis who has been our media backbone this year. All have made a valuable contribution to the Authority and we wish them all the best.