Progress in K2W Delivery 2015

Progress against planned activities and outcomes:
The main emphasis in delivery of Phase 7 has involved continuation of ongoing revegetation, habitat restoration and pest animal control works commenced in Phase 6, while building momentum to maintain the legacy outcomes of Australian Government investment beyond the life of current funding through growing community support and newly attracted grants. At the time of reporting, all activities planned for Phase 7 have been completed, with preparations well under way to ensure efficient delivery of activities in subsequent phases.
Successes, challenges and adaptations:  1) Continuation of works commenced in previous Phases including: a. finalised negotiation of landholder agreements carried over from Phase 6, including final site visits (Activity 6) to ensure successful negotiation of 5 outstanding individual landholder agreements and 2 group agreements (Activity 7); b. broaded revegetation works under existing agreements establishing 3,910 new plantings (Activity 11); c. extended management of invasive species delivering feral animal control over XXX hectares (Activity 8); d. completed 3 new Land For Wildlife agreements, and commenced work on 5 more for completion in Phase 8, as a successful vehicle to involve landholders in private land conservation (Activity 12); and e. completed site preparation (including weed control) over 58 hectares (Activity 9) ahead of revegetetation / habitat restoration works 2) Expanded emphasis on community awareness raising through delivery of several major community events (Activity 2) including: a. Trunkey Creek Schools Biodiversity Day (September 2015) – 85 local students from 6 schools b. Wyangala Schools Cultural Heritage Day (October 2015) – 100 local students from 5 schools c. Cowra Corroborree (November 2015) – partially assisted delivery of the event involving around 100 traditional dancers and 1500 attendees from the wider regional community d. K2W Annual Forum (December 2015) – 50 attendees hearing presentations outlining the achievements of partners during 2015, and launching new initiatives developed by the K2W partnership to maintain outcomes beyond 2017. 3) Delivery of 34 field day and capacity building workshop activities (180 hours of capacity building delivery) involving 1,895 participants. 4) Developed 4 successful funding proposals to support delivery of a new ‘K2W Glideways’ project (www.glideways.org.au) to support habitat restoration (nest box and infill feed species plantings), threat management (cat awareness and barbed wire fence modification) and schools and community engagement. A total of $668,000 have been attracted from: a. NSW Environmental Trust ($500,000 to June 2022) b. Southeast Local Land Services ($149,000 to June 2018) c. Taronga Zoo and Boeing ($15,000 to December 2016) d. Office of Environment & Heritage ($8,000 to June 2016) 5) Further strengthened communications channels through: a. continued delivery of the K2W communications plan adopted in Phase 5; b. development of products to support delivery of these newly funded projects an parallel with the Australian Government’s investment (Activity 2) including a new K2W project website, brochures, 2 videos and branded materials for use in community events; c. promotion of the third and final round of community group grants for projects to be delivered in Phases 8 and 9 (2016) for final reporting in Phase 10 (2017); and d. regular social media postings on Twitter and facebook 6) Confirmed arrangements for ongoing administration of funds and delivery of core program outputs through an MoU agreed between OEH, Local Land Services and the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife (Activity 1), and ensured ongoing project management and oversight through regular meetings of the K2W Community Reference Group (August and December 2015) and monthly meetings of staff involved in direct project delivery.

Environmental, Economic and Social Outcomes

Environmental outcomes of the project for this stage:  During the period, the project has delivered substantial contributions towards delivery of the overall project targets, including: 1. Site preparation, debris and weed removal and fencing of 58 hectares and revegetation with 3,910 new plantings ; 3. Control of invasive animals through collaborative cross-tenure management across approximately 2,580 hectares, resulting in the trapping, shooting or removal of at least 324 feral animals; 4. Capacity building workshops and events improving the knowledge and management skills of 1,895 participants and resulting in the improved management and land use sustainability; and 5. Land For Wildlife agreements established on 3 properties. The integrated delivery of cross-tenure projects involving adjacent landholders and public lands continues to ensure efforts combine and magnify the beneficial outcomes for connectivity at landscape scale. Further ongoing growth in engagement will enable significant progress to be made towards enhancing connectivity in our priority areas for species such as Squirrel Glider, Booroolong Frog, and migratory birds.
Social outcomes of the project for this stage:  Local communities have been empowered to help refine priorities for project investment, increasing levels of commitment to the project and its outcomes. The K2W project is recognised as an effective model for achieving connectivity conservation in regional communities, and is increasingly acknowledged as breaking new ground in facilitating cross-tenure invasive species management integrated with community engagement, habitat restoration, remnant habitat protection and revegetation. The project is proving effective in engaging a wider cross-section of the community than has been achieved through previous initiatives, including groups who often are not engaged in such types of project: • School and university students – students involved in planting days; teachers and lecturers involved in design of programs for delivery in schools and tertiary education courses to teach students about connectivity conservation, GER and the K2W project • Aboriginal – through cultural mapping, property planning, traditional ecological knowledge sharing and working on country, strengthened through events such as the Cowra Corroboree and Schools Cultural Connections day • Local and international volunteers – weed management and planting days including the Wombeyan Weed Whacking weekend, and schools planting activity day.
Economic outcomes of the project for this stage:  Economic outcomes from the Stage are largely tied to the availability of approx. funds for works allocated during the period, building on onground projects and coordination, capacity building and other activities from the 2014-15 project budget. Contract labour, materials and services to assist project delivery are largely sourced locally, directly benefitting the local economy. Growing links with Aboriginal organisations is starting to return opportunities for skills development through involvement in onground works, with potential to flow on to deliver broader social and economic benefits. The project is increasingly building relationships with the Green Army program, with the Crookwell-based Green Army team employed on projects in the K2W area providing opportunities for skills development.

Implementation Update

Activity implementation for this stage:  Of particular note in terms of achievements in Phase 7 were the successful delivery of a number of community events and field days. In addition to raising awareness of the project, these greatly increased the level of involvement of local landholders, the wider community and Aboriginal stakeholders. We estimate that we involved over 1800 people in community events and activities, attracting attention from local print and television media (eg ). Broad-reaching community engagement and landholder involvement has contributed to our now being able to report having met and exceeded our original project targets for number of stems planted, hectares of treatment of feral animals, area of weed control and lands managed under voluntary agreement. Additional successes have manifested through: 1. Attracting additional cash contributions from four sources of funding (see above) to allow for an expansion in our planned nest box, feed species planting, threat mitigation, and schools engagement activities; 2. Attracting three new partner organisations as active contributors to the partnership: Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute, Weigelli Aboriginal Corporation and Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology; and 3. Stimulated the development of a new landscape partnership in the ‘Capertee to Canobolas Link’ as part of the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative, and development of proposals to similarly more closely align the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area with the GER.