|Alice Springs landcare Inc.|
I caught up with Suni from Alice Springs Landcare Inc. (ASL) last time I was in Alice Springs to find out more about the group.
Sunny told me that ASL was set up in 2008 to help local landcare groups with administration. This assistance aims to reduce the workload and “burn out” of local organisers, supports groups when key members leave town, and ultimately allows groups to continue to operate instead of fizzling out.
ASL committee members are volunteers that manage a range of activities including the AGM, auditing, grant administration, insurance, permissive occupancy permits and Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) clearances. They are also dealing with OH&S requirements with assistance from Territory Natural Resource Management.
The organisation services six local groups with about 40 members, including Northside, Spencer Valley, Todd River, Coolibah Swamp, New Eastside, and the Lower Todd Group.
The group mostly works on vacant crown land and focuses on the mitigation of buffel grass fire by slashing and spraying or removing the introduced grass with mattocks. Sunny said that hot buffel grass fire can kill native shrubs and trees and reduces the replacement of these individuals from seed or root stock.
They hope to eventually reduce the heavy slashing workload, which aims to remove dead grass and expose live shoots to herbicide, by implementing their own fires when the risk of impacting native vegetation is reduced. Sunny said that fire is inevitable and always happen at the wrong time of year when fire weather is hotter and preparation work such as pulling fuel away from trees has not occurred. However, implementing their own fires means training members and jumping through various administrative hoops.
The group is also involved in removing cactus from Spencer Valley.
Working bees tend to be concentrated during rainy periods when weeds become active and can be killed with herbicide.
The drive from most members comes from their interest in preserving parts of central Australia’s native vegetation, which Sunny described as a pretty amazing landscape, especially when you get the right season and wildflowers emerge.