Hotspots Fire Project is a community fire management workshop program which provides an opportunity for neighbouring landholders to improve their knowledge and skills on how to plan for and implement safe and appropriate fire management strategies within and across their properties for the protection and enhancement of biodiversity conservation. Hotspots is delivered through the coordinated efforts of the NSW Rural Fire Service and the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
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The Gradys Creek Hotspots Project provided an opportunity for local landholders to improve their knowledge and skills, including how to plan and implement safe and appropriate fire management strategies. The program included two workshop days and follow-up from relevant agencies to support local landholders to develop:
Participants discussed the range of native vegetation types at Gradys Creek and how fire frequency and intensity influences biodiversity and other ecological values in their local area. A survey of small native mammals was undertaken as part of this project, finding a small population of the Hastings River mouse at the burn site and five other species of small mammals. The community were delighted to have the opportunity to closely observe some of these species and learn more about local threatened species including the Eastern Bristlebird, Hastings River mouse and the Eastern Chestnut mouse. As a result of this interaction participants discussed ways that landholders could become involved in undertaking fire management, including working together for the Eastern Bristlebird. This included strategies on improving property preparedness for fire and how to undertake collaborative burns (including how to apply for hazard reduction certificates).
Participants also had the opportunity to be part of a demonstration of environmental weed management. This involved the strategic application of herbicide using splatter gun techniques to control large thickets of lantana, which is a prolific weed in the Border Ranges area. The relationships between weeds, disturbance, fire regimes, and Bell Miner Associated Dieback (BMAD) were also discussed. Importantly, many landholders who participated in the workshops completed Fire Management Plans for their properties. These plans were developed in collaboration with neighbours and with advice and support from the Hotspots team and local experts.
The Objectives for the Bungawalbin Hotspots workshop series was:
Over 30 landholders attended the 2 day workshop series including the opportunity to be part of a demonstartion burn. Other achievements of the project include camera traps deployed at the demonstartion burn site has produced excellent results including a rare shots of a family of Emus. This record is of particular importance as it confirms recent breeding activity in the area.