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Partnering up: Melbourne Water and the VGT dip into gorse management together

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The Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT) has created a new online resource for any participant of a Melbourne Water program that has gorse on their property. The flyer details the legal obligations of having gorse in the Melbourne Water operating area, describes the negative impacts of having gorse and explains the control methods strengths and weaknesses in a snapshot.

The idea for tailored resources came after the VGT wanted to align their goals for the future of gorse management in Victoria with other key stakeholders and public land managers. This promotes an integrated approach to gorse management and demonstrates a shared responsibility between all public stakeholders to stop the spread of gorse in their operating areas. Melbourne Water has several programs that promote weed control to improve the quality of waterways across Victoria and the VGT was able to support this effort when it came to gorse management through an educational flyer.

“It’s been fantastic to collaborate with a major stakeholder such as Melbourne Water to ensure we bring a unified approach to gorse management across the state,” explains Brydie, the VGT Communications, Community Engagement and Extension Officer. The partnership with Melbourne Water is one the VGT plans to strengthen in 2021 and is an opportunity to continue to grow partnerships with other key stakeholders as well.

For more information about our programs, follow us on Facebook (@VictorianGorseTaskforce) and Instagram (@victorian_gorse_taskforce)

Grant assistance lends a helping hand for Snake Valley residents

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The 2018/2019 annual Community Grants Program run by the Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT) is having lasting impacts in the Snake Valley community. 10 households received financial assistance to control their gorse and a recent visit to a selection of the sites by the Communications, Community Engagement and Extension Officer (CCEO), Brydie Murrihy, shows the continued commitment and dedication of the participants.

The Landcare group applied for a large grant that aimed to increase the community’s capacity to be actively engaged in long-term gorse control. To achieve this the participants were provided with current information on the economic, social, and environmental impacts of having gorse. The grant funded approximately 16 hectares of gorse across the remnant forests and paddocks of participants. A key partnership in the project was with the Pyrenees Shire Council who worked closely with the Landcare group to undertake gorse control on roadsides adjoining properties involved in the program.

One property owner in the program was former Snake Valley & District Land Protection Group member, Sue Mudford. Sue’s property had approximately 2 hectares of thick, mature gorse growing on fence lines and into paddocks. The gorse had been on the property for over 15 years, so a long-term concentrated effort was needed. Old, mature plants were along the adjoining roadsides and within the Snake Valley area. “This was a very big job which required continuous effort and commitment from us to reduce the infestation,” Sue explained to Brydie. Sue was able to manage approximately 50% of the infestation with the grant assistance from the VGT. It was clear from the property visit almost two years later that Sue has reduced her gorse infestation to a few small patches and is now very confident she will maintain control of her gorse.

For more information on VGT programs, please check out our social media pages being Facebook (@VicGorseTaskforce) and Instagram (@victorian_gorse_taskforce)

VGT launches online engagement

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COVID-19 altered everything this year and the Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT) programs and engagement were no exception. Tasked with engaging residents about effective gorse control, the VGT created two online presentations and five short gorse management videos to keep landholders informed even during these uncertain times.

The ‘Virtual Demonstration Field Day” (VDFD) was created to replace four cancelled gorse control field days scheduled to run across Victoria, aimed to educate residents new to gorse control as well as correct common misconceptions to those more experienced.

The VDFD tool introduces you to the VGT, explains the 5 main components every gorse management plan should include, highlights commonly used control methods and details a contact list of stakeholders that may be available to assist and support if your considering tackling gorse on your property.

An “Introduction to Gorse” was presented by the VGT Extension Officer, Brydie Murrihy, via a live Zoom meeting. Brydie discussed gorse information such as the legal implications, gorse biology, ecological impacts and tips for identifying gorse against other native lookalike species.

The live Zoom meeting attracted a diverse range of stakeholders, all looking to educate themselves on the fundamentals of gorse. The presentation finished with a Q&A, which provided the VGT greater understanding of what the participants were interested in learning about and gave participants the opportunity to share their success stories.

The five short gorse management videos cover four of the main methods of controlling gorse and how gorse control is more effective when undertaken in collaboration with your neighbours.

The optimum time to treat gorse is now before it seeds, therefore the VGT are encouraging those with gorse to visit the VGT website and check out the presentations and videos for help.

For more information about our programs, follow us on Facebook @VictorianGorseTaskforce) and Instagram (@victorian_gorse_taskforce). https://www.vicgorsetaskforce.com.au/resources/

Extension services success despite COVID-19

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The Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT) were able to continue delivering the extension services program to the Ballarat and Pipers Creek areas, despite COVID-19 restrictions. Abiding by the appropriate guidelines and practicing a safe social distance, 30 properties were visited by our Extension Officer, Brydie Murrihy, across 6 months.

So, what was involved in the property inspections? Brydie and the landholder inspected the property for gorse. Once gorse was located it was assessed, mapped and photographed. Brydie then offered and discussed appropriate control method options for each location or circumstance with the landholder. Brydie also offered advice for follow up control to maintain the gorse in the following years. Using the information gathered an extensive gorse management plan was offered to the landholder shortly after the visit.

For some landholders, extra resources were given such as the Best Practice Guide and the Glovebox Identification Guide to give to their neighbours. “The range of gorse infestation types and circumstances were vast and it was very positive to see landholders who only had small infestations wanting to treat it immediately,” Brydie explains, “It was nice to be able to assist those with large infestations as well because we understand how daunting it can be to start.”

The gorse management plans strategically planned out 3 years of control with the landholders needing to re-evaluate after that. The plans discussed the legal obligation of having gorse, the plants biology and ecological impacts, a map of the property’s gorse, the treatment plan, and any additional necessary contacts such as local councils, Landcare groups and contractors.

The VGT wants to thank all the participants involved for abiding by the safety guidelines and wishes them well on their gorse management journeys. For the most up to date information about the VGTs programs, please follow us on Facebook (@VictorianGorseTaskforce) and Instagram (@victorian_gorse_taskforce).

Victorian Gorse Taskforce – Annual General Meeting 2020

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The  VGT are holding their Annual General Meeting virtually on 26 November 2020, due to current COVID restrictions. The meeting will be closed to only current committee members and those wishing to nominate for a committee position. The VGT will conduct a short presentation outlining major activities and achievements that have occurred over the last 12 months.

The VGT will be accepting nominations for committee positions in 2020/21, at which all current committee positions will be vacated and a new committee will be formed. The VGT are looking for highly motivated individuals, that have a passion for weed control and want to take positive actions to help local community groups implement integrated Gorse control programs across Victoria. As a member of the state-wide committee you will have a shared responsibility to oversee the coordination and implementation of the VGT’s current gorse strategy.

Nominations for the 2020/21 VGT committee will be accepted till COB Monday 16 November 2020. For ballot nomination forms, please click here. Please email completed ballot nomination forms to Nicole Garfi – VGT Executive Officer – nicole.garfi@agriculture.vic.gov.au by COB Monday 16 November 2020.

The VGT look forward to restrictions easing in the future to hold an in-person meeting/luncheon with its members.

Community Grants Update

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One of the VGT’s main priorities is to support and assist the Victorian community in managing gorse. However due to Covid-19, the VGT will not be running the 2020/21 annual Community Grants Program. We apologise for the inconvenience but hope the community is understanding, due to these uncertain times.

The VGT will be looking to continue the grants program in 2021/2022 and in the coming months the VGT are planning on delivering a number of online resources including an exciting Extension Program targeted to gorse affected landholders across Victoria (announcement coming soon).

To stay informed about our programs, keep an eye on our website and social media platforms which are Facebook and Instagram. Once again we apologize for any inconvenience the disruption to our grants program may have caused and we hope we can assist in other ways where safe and possible.

Talking Gorse on radio stations across Victoria

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Brydie Murrihy talked all aspects of gorse management last week, delivering two radio interviews in her capacity as Communications, Community Engagement and Extension officer for the Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT). Brydie spoke on Geelong’s ‘Mitch’s Front Page’ on The Pulse 94.7 FM and the following day spoke to ‘Chris and Peter’ from Voice 99.9 FM in Ballarat.

Both interviews were approximately 10 minutes long and were packed with information about gorse identification, economic and environmental issues it poses, gorse management options and how the VGT can help landowners.

“It was nerve-racking but really enjoyable talking to such lovely people in the community about gorse and being able to spread the message that the VGT are here to help,” Brydie described, “The presenters were so nice to me and both Ballarat and Geelong have large amounts of gorse, so hopefully it answered some questions landowners might have had.”

The Pulse FM interview was recorded and can be found here: https://mitchellsfrontpage.com/dealing-with-gorse-on-the-bellarine/

Brydie Murrihy will be doing more interviews in the coming months, so keep an eye on our socials or tune in to your community radio station for a chance to hear her. If you have any queries, please contact Brydie Murrihy on 0428 335 705 or at vgt@cva.org.au

Expressions of Interest – Gorse control demonstration field days 2020

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Opens: Friday the 22nd of November, 2019

Closes: Sunday the 5th of January, 2020

The Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT) will be hosting four gorse control demonstration field days across Victoria next March and April 2020. Landcare groups may register their interest in supporting the VGT to host a field day for their community.

Guidelines and the application can be found here: EOI Gorse Field Days 2020.

The field days will act as a one-stop-shop about gorse management for private landowners. They will introduce the VGT, hold a practical demonstration by a local contractor of best practice gorse removal and discuss our annual community grants programs. There will be light refreshments and plenty of time to talk to our extension officer and the local contractor. Environmental representatives from supporting organisations such as DELWP, Parks and local councils will be present (if available). Our extension officer will organise and deliver the day with assistance from the Landcare group.

For further enquiries, please contact Brydie Murrihy, Communications, Community Engagement and Extension Officer, Victorian Gorse Taskforce on 0428 335 705 or at  vgt@cva.org.au