Projects and programs
We support local people to improve the health and productivity of their area.
Operations Plan for 2020-21
Western Local Land Services continues to work towards the goal of ‘strong communities, resilient landscapes and competitive agriculture’. This annual Operations Plan is an overview of the projects and activities that will be undertaken to contribute to this goal in the 2020-21 financial year.
For further information contact Operations Manager, Andrew Hull on 0427 919 964 or email.
Pathways to Country - Small grants program
Landholders and community members are invited to apply for a small grant to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage and values on their property or implement traditional land management practices.
Some of the activities eligible for funding include (but are not limited to):
- building capacity of Aboriginal community members
- improving skills and capacity to provide natural resource management services
- sharing traditional knowledge with the broader community
- protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage values.
Interested parties should review the guidelines to determine eligibility:
Applications are now open and close on Friday 30 April 2021.
For further information contact Regional Agricultural Landcare Facilitator, Charles Benson on 0427 932 526 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This project is supported by Western Local Land Services, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program, and Catchment Action NSW.
Regional landholder and Aboriginal community survey
Thanks to all the landholders and Aboriginal community members that participated in our survey that was carried out in the second half of 2020. In total there were 317 completed landholder surveys and 178 completed Aboriginal community surveys.
The data is now being analysed which will be used to develop a report on the findings. This report and subsequent promotional materials will be publicly made available and promoted to our stakeholders.
All information that was received through the survey is confidential. If you have any questions about the survey, contact our Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement (MERI) Officer, Silvana Keating on 0427 661 264 or email.
This project is supported by Western Local Land Services, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.
Wild dogs in the Western region
Wild dogs are a significant problem in Western NSW, causing significant losses to livestock enterprises, with consequent economic and social impacts.
There can also be considerable impacts to the environment and cultural heritage values of the region, through predation on small to medium sized native fauna species, which may be endangered and important totems for Aboriginal communities.
In 2020, a number of new and innovative programs and projects, focussing on wild dogs, have been rolled out across the Western region, following a successful funding application through the Australian Government’s ‘Communities Combatting Pest and Weed Impacts During Drought’ Program.
Overview of the programs and projects
1. Seasonal predator programs — large scale aerial and ground baiting program, targeting wild dogs, foxes and cats, carried out in autumn and spring. Landholders that are not involved in a pest management group or Landcare group are encouraged to join their local group and participate in coordinated programs.
2. Infrastructure project — funding will be used to establish a bait handling facility at Bourke, similar to the facility already established in Broken Hill. This will allow better use of resources to reduce travel and associated expenses by our Biosecurity Officers.
3. Pest animal expos — due to COVID-19, these expos have been postponed. In the interim, the Western NSW Pest Chat Webinar Series has been developed, with episodes scheduled for December and February and March next year. View our Events page for further details.
4. 'Western Tracks' collaring project — the Western Tracks collaring project is a collaborative research project to improve the management of wild dogs and feral pigs in flood and associated country of the Paroo, Cuttaburra, Warrego and Darling River systems in the Western Local Land Services region.
In this project, wild dogs and feral pigs will be trapped, collared with a GPS tracking collar and released from where they are trapped. The movements of the collared animals will be monitored for up to a year after release while routine control activities are carried out within the region. Data gathered through this process will provide information on:
- the movements and interactions of feral pigs and wild dogs in the landscape
- how feral pigs and wild dogs use the landscape at different times of the year
- how control of wild dogs can be better targeted to avoid dog bait uptake by feral pigs
- effectiveness of routine control programs.
Private and public landholders, pest animal management and Landcare groups, NSW Farmers Wild Dog Coordinator, and agencies, will work collaboratively to deliver the project that has been driven by local landholders.
Feral pigs put under the microscope
After much planning, training and in receipt of the required approvals, field work commenced with the collaring of feral pigs in September 2020. A total of 30 pigs were collared by the end of 2020 which was the number the project team were hoping to achieve. The 30 feral pigs will roam around the Western region for around 12 months, with the data being recorded and mapped by specialist members of the project team. The data that is recorded will be made available to landholders and give them, and NSW Government agencies, critical information to inform current and future control programs of feral pigs, allowing for a more strategic approach.
Wild dog collaring to commence autumn 2021
The collaring of wild dogs was originally scheduled for spring 2020, however due to a number of factors this has been postponed until autumn 2021. These factors include:
- Seasonal conditions — the target area and surrounding areas has received a significant amount of rainfall this year resulting in plenty of feed and water being easily accessible by animals across the landscape (domestic, native and pests) which has meant access to the sodden land and trapping the target animals in the target area is difficult.
- Minimal signs of pest animal activity — the project team set-up 21 traps in the target area for the purpose of collaring wild dogs and over the first few days of inspections there was no wild dog activity. These traps were inspected twice daily by members of the project team, often accompanied by a local landholder at a considerable amount of time and effort, and at a significant expense, as the round trip to check the traps is several hundred kilometres over rough terrain.
- Wild dog breeding — many bitches have had pups at the start of spring and as a result are staying for long periods in dens. Due to the good seasonal conditions, the male dogs are not venturing far from the dens in search of food or water, hence making it unlikely they will be trapped.
With the planning continuing, it is important landholders report any pest animal activity, so the project team have the best knowledge of where the dog activity is before the wild dog collaring resumes in autumn 2021.
How can landholders get involved?
All landholders in and around the target area are encouraged to be involved. Ways for landholders to be involved include:
- participate in the project by completing an access agreement form. It is recommended that anyone in the project area complete a property access agreement form even if animals are not being collared on your property to allow quick recovery of collars
- informing Western Local Land Services of sightings and other opportunities pertaining to wild dogs and feral pigs
- record all sightings and related information in FeralScan.
Landholders are encouraged to continue to perform routine pest animal management as per normal and contact Local Land Services if collars are retrieved or found. However, during the first two months following trapping and collaring, it is recommended landholders release collared animals from traps to ensure more accurate data can be acquired. It is also preferred in this initial two months, that animals trapped with the collared animals are also released as an entire mob to limit effects on pig behaviour in the initial data collection.
Following the two months only collared pigs should be released and the others should be controlled. Animals that are tagged can be controlled and should be reported to the number printed on the tag. Local Land Services will communicate updates to all landholders and stakeholders involved in the project regarding this two-month timeframe.
For further information, contact Western Local Land Services Senior Field Officer, Claudia Bryant on 0448 796 109 or email. or your local biosecurity officer.
5. 'Trapping' program — landholders will have access to professional wild dog controllers to support the control of wild dogs on their property. Some resources on the program are below.
To enable efficient training of four wild dog trappers, a training event for wild dog collaring has been arranged at Moomba SA by the NSW Department of Primary Industries. The training will be held during February/March 2021 with wild dog collaring in Western NSW to follow immediately afterwards.
6. 'White Spaces' project — this project aims to inform all landholders of their pest animal responsibilities, and use a range of
strategies to incorporate non-participants into group programs.
These six programs and projects were developed following consultation with the pest management groups and relevant stakeholders, with planning getting underway in late 2019. All landholders are encouraged to be actively involved, to share
knowledge and experience, to incorporate into future management of wild dogs and other pest animals.
For further information on the programs or projects, or managing pest animals more generally, contact your nearest Biosecurity Officer, Local Landcare Coordinator or Regional Pest Animal Coordinator, Phil Baird on 0417 776 218 or email.
The Land Services Program
The Land Services Program offers a new approach to property planning and rural enterprise mentoring in the Western region, and is suitable for landholders interested in building their capacity, innovation and learning from their peers and industry experts.
The Program, which began in 2018 with three businesses in a pilot program and continued with another six businesses commencing in 2019, is currently finalising the intake for its 2020 cohort.
The Program runs over two years or eight 'quarters' and operates under a case officer approach, which pairs participants with one of our staff members who will provide support and guidance through the program.
In addition, a range of mentors have been identified to match the particular enterprise and landscapes of the participants.
Participants receive access to training and services estimated to have a total value of $16,000 over the course of the Program.
Included in this is $10,000 for use in the second year of the Program to support capacity building activities, engaging expertise and information systems which align with the goals and properties of their business.
Mentors may be utilised as part of the training budget to provide daily advice, one on one support or to demonstrate enterprises and opportunities to participants.
For further information about the Program have a read of the following materials:
- plan on a page
- mentor profile - Gus Whyte
- mentor profile - Glenn Humbert
- mentor profile - Geoff Peters
- mentor profile - George Millear
- mentor profile - Tony Thompson
- mentor profile - Garry Hannigan
- Team Leader-Agriculture, Gemma Turnbull on (02) 6870 8632
- Team Leader-Land Services (acting), Mitch Plumbe on 0408 241 200
- Senior Land Services Officer-Agribusiness, Tanisha Shields on 0447 642 131
- your nearest Western Local Land Services office.
The Program is a joint initiative between Local Land Services and Soils for Life.
Russel Harland Memorial Scholarship
The Russel Harland Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a tertiary student who displays strong personal, community and educational commitment to rural or regional areas, with particular reference to the Western region of NSW.
The scholarship has run since 2006, and in that time, nine students have gained employment, with three still employed with Western Local Land Services.
The scholarship is awarded to assist the student to advance their educational qualifications and personal skills so that they can contribute to future biosecurity, agricultural and natural resource management outcomes and build upon the expertise within the community of the Western region.
The scholarship will provide:
- A one-off amount of $5,000 which will be paid in two instalments
- four weeks of paid work
- one year guaranteed field officer position.
Eligible students will be approaching their final year of study. Relevant courses must be of a Bachelor level and may include, but are not limited to; Agriculture (Ag Science, Rural Science, Animal Science, Agribusiness, Ag Economics), Veterinary Science, Emergency Response and Management, Natural Resource Management, Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and GIS and remote sensing.
If you have any questions contact Operations Manager, Andrew Hull on 0427 919 964 or email.
Key Investment Priorities
The key areas for investment, through on-ground works and training, are:
Productive industries and adaptable, connected communities
- adaptable and resilient land managers
- sustainable and productive agricultural industry
- Aboriginal people connected to country, culture and heritage.
Healthy and resilient landscapes and aquatic systems
- healthy and resilient landscapes
- healthy and resilient aquatic systems.
Adaptive governance, decision making and management
Western Catchment Action Plan
The key investment priorities were developed with considerable input from local communities through the development of the 2013-2023 Western Catchment Action Plan (CAP). The CAP provides direction for natural resource management in the Western Local Land Services region.