Dbytes #114 (20 August 2013)

Dbytes #114 (20 August 2013)
Info & news for members and associates of the Environmental Decision Group

“It’s pretty clear what we have to do. The science is now 30 years in the making, it’s very strong. The pathway forward is clear, and if we don’t do these things, Leadbeater’s possum is going to go extinct, Mountain Ash forest itself is going to collapse, and the industry will also collapse.”
David Lindenmayer on ABC Radio (see http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2013/s3824786.htm)

General News

1. Four new Australian ecosystems listed at threatened
2. Call for public comment on proposed variation to the 2006 Threat Abatement Plan for Seabirds
3. DAFF issued a 2013-18 Science Strategy.
4. Money for dugongs, sea turtles and Sumatran rhinos
5. Explore the Seafloor – Citizen Science goes underwater for NSWk 2013
6. Mining the Queensland Way

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General News

1. Four new Australian ecosystems listed at threatened

DSEWPC has recently added the following four ecosystems to its threatened ecosystem lists

Eyre Peninsula Blue Gum Woodlands have been listed as endangered. [Full text]
http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicshowcommunity.pl?id=124

The wetlands and inner floodplains of the Macquarie Marshes have been listed as critically endangered.
http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicshowcommunity.pl?id=93

The River Murray and associated wetlands, floodplains and groundwater systems, from the junction of the Darling River to the sea have been listed as critically endangered.
http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicshowcommunity.pl?id=92

The subtropical and temperate Coastal Saltmarshes have been listed as vulnerable.
http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicshowcommunity.pl?id=118

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2. Call for public comment on proposed variation to the 2006 Threat Abatement Plan for Seabirds

Background: Oceanic longlining is a fishing technique used to target pelagic and demersal finfish and shark species. Longlining occurs in almost all Australian waters. The impact of longline fishing activities on seabirds was not fully realised until the 1980s when seabird bycatch was first reported and then documented.

The incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations was listed as a key threatening process on 24 July 1995. Considerable research and development activities have been undertaken since 1995 into seabird bycatch mitigation measures including at-sea trials. There is now increased confidence about mitigation measures that, when used in combination, are effective. These mitigation measures form the basis of prescriptions set out in the proposed variation to the 2006 Threat Abatement Plan for Seabirds.

A consultation paper has been developed as part of the process of varying the 2006 Threat Abatement Plan for Seabirds and is open for public consultation until 31 October 2013.

http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/varying-seabird-tap.html

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3. DAFF issued a 2013-18 Science Strategy.

The DAFF Science Strategy provides a high-level framework for the development of its science capability over the next five years to 2018.

http://www.daff.gov.au/about/publications/daff-science-strategy-2013

And Universities Australia is impressed: “This science strategy represents a genuine and substantial effort to recognise and embed scientific knowledge into the processes, organisational culture, and ultimately the policy development and management of the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry,” said Chief Executive of Universities Australia, Belinda Robinson. –
http://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/page/media-centre/2013-media-releases/dept-science-strategy-will-strengthen-evidence-based-advice-to-gov/#sthash.M78EEv8R.dpuf

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4. Money for dugongs, sea turtles and Sumatran rhinos

Editor’s note: Dbytes doesn’t claim to provide a comprehensive coverage of biodiversity funding commitments in the current Federal election campaign, but it will attempt to draw attention to biodiversity-related announcements by the major parties where possible. At this point (two weeks into the campaign), the only thing apparent to me on this score is the paucity of statements made about biodiversity and threatened species. Indeed, the only two announcements I have seen relate to $5 million for dugong and turtle conservation in the North by the Coalition [http://www.greghunt.com.au/Home/LatestNews/tabid/133/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/2611/Coalition-announces-Dugong-Turtle-Protection-Plan.aspx] and $3million for the protection of Sumatran rhinos in Indonesia [http://www.foreignminister.gov.au/releases/2013/bc_mr_130813.html]. Both commitments appear strongly connected to other agendas (and neither fund research).

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5. Explore the Seafloor – Citizen Science goes underwater for NSWk 2013

Explore the Seafloor is the National Science Week 2013 citizen science project undertaken by ABC Science in conjunction with the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). Throughout August they’re asking for help with identifying kelp and sea urchins in images of the seafloor. This job is normally done by research assistants and is time-consuming and laborious. In Explore the Seafloor they’re taking a crowd-sourcing approach to reduce this workload and asking everyone who can access the internet to get involved and help the scientists with their research work.
160,000 photos have been tagged by so far and nearly 7000 citizen scientists have registered. Kelp beds along Australia’s east and west coasts are an important marine habitat. An invasive sea urchin, Centrostephanus rodgersii, is moving south and threatening biodiversity around Tasmania by destroying the giant kelp forests, Ecklonia radiata. By tagging photos of these urchins and kelp, the Explore the Seafloor project will help marine researchers map the location and movement of these species. The project continues after Science Week and new citizen scientists can join up until September 1st, 2013.
http://exploretheseafloor.net.au/

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6. Mining the Queensland Way

An ebook by environmental activist Drew Hutton. It examines the question: Why has environmental regulation never been enforced on Queensland mine owners? This history of mining in Queensland examines the story behind this increasingly domineering industry from its onset in the late 1880s to the present day.

http://www.lockthegate.org.au/shop#!/~/product/category=5848188&id=27234078

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About Dbytes
Dbytes is the eNewsletter of the Environmental Decisions Group. If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David Salt (David.Salt@anu.edu.au). Please keep them short and provide a link for more info. Also, email David if you want to unsubscribe (or subscribe someone else). While Dbytes is primarily aimed at members of the EDG, anyone is welcome to receive it.

About EDG
The Environmental Decision Group (EDG) is a network of conservation researchers working on the science of effective decision making to better conserve biodiversity. Our members are largely based at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia, RMIT and CSIRO. The EDG is jointly funded by the Australian Government’s National Environmental Research Program (NERP) and the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence program (CEED).

CEED: http://ceed.edu.au/
NERP ED: http://www.nerpdecisions.edu.au/
EDG: http://www.edg.org.au/

EDG major events: http://www.edg.org.au/events.html
Decision Point: http://www.decision-point.com.au/

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