Winter 2002
The Katarapko Community Action Group

 

A Presentation for the Marsupial Society of South Australia

 by
Nerissa Haby,
Technical Officer for the Katarapko Community Action Group

Notes:

The KCAG began its activities as early as from 1996. The broad focus of the KCAG at that time, and continues to be, “To understand the Katarapko Island environment and to work towards environmental and species restoration”. A variety of objectives and actions were created around this primary focus in order to adopt the native flora and fauna, plant and vertebrate pests and any research and monitoring into any programs that may be established on Katarapko Island.

The KCAG coordinates a variety of activities and programs based on Katarapko Island and in the surrounding districts. Katarapko Island is an island in the Murray River system and is located near Loxton and Berri in South Australia. The island covers around 40 square kilometres of floodplain habitat and is part of the Murray River National Park.

 

Members of the KCAG represent a variety of groups and organisations, including:-

 

Community Volunteers,

Loxton High School,

Loxton Primary School,

Greening Australia,

Bookmark Biosphere,

National Parks and Wildlife Service, SA,

Loxton to Bookpurnong Local Action Planning Office,

Friends of Riverland Parks,

Water Watch,

APEX,

Rotary,

RSPCA,

Riverland Vet Clinic,

Riverland Animal and Plant Control Board,

and the

Loxton Waikerie Animal and Plant Control Board.

 

Projects coordinated on Katarapko Island address a number of issues ranging from community education to management based issues. Community awareness is increased through a variety of activities created for primary and secondary students. These include an activity orientated Katarapko Week where students and other interested people are welcome to participate in learning about photo points, small mammal surveying, plant and animal identification, aboriginal sites and more. Children from the local community also participate in revegetation programs, involving seed collecting, propagation and seedling planting. Other such activities include introducing students to Water Watch monitoring techniques.

 

A number of the projects established by the KCAG address key management issues for the native wildlife and environment on Katarapko Island and surrounding areas. A prime example of such a project is the Fox Control Program established by the KCAG in order to help protect native wildlife already on Katarapko Island and animals reintroduced into the area. This program is based on Katarapko Island and in a surrounding buffer zone. The entire area is subdivided into a number of zones, including the interior of Katarapko Island (core focus), perimeter of Katarapko Island (core focus), Katarapko Mainland (buffer) and surrounding crown and private properties (buffer). The program includes both strategic and targeted baiting. Strategic baiting is coordinated in all zones twice per year during spring and autumn. Baiting during the time when foxes are reproducing and dispersing, respectively, increases the effectiveness of the program. Targeted baiting is conducted continuously on Katarapko Island throughout the year. This program has resulted in an observed reduction in fox signs (track and scats) and a reduction in the number of tortoise nests preyed upon by foxes.

 

The Fox Control Program is monitored through the monitoring of permanent bait stations around the perimeter of Katarapko Island and on Katarapko Mainland. Such monitoring is aimed to provide a relative index of the number of foxes inhabiting the area. The Fox Baiting Program is also monitored through a Brush-tail Possum Monitoring Program. Such monitoring is aimed to determine the relationship between foxes and brush-tail possums (i.e. predominantly a prey species relationship or a non-target species relationship) and to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the Fox Baiting Program for the recovery of native wildlife.

 

The KCAG is currently expanding their project coverage to address key herbivore issues. Such issues include the active management of rabbits on Katarapko Island through warren destruction. We are currently working to; identify areas likely to contain rabbit warrens, locating warrens; and forming a strategy for their removal and monitoring the reconstruction of any warrens by rabbits inhabiting nearby areas.

 

Addressing key issues surrounding the management of herbivores on Katarapko Island is intended to increase the regeneration rate of a variety of plants and vegetation associations on the Island.

 

The KCAG have also coordinated a Brush-tailed Bettong Reintroduction Program on Katarapko Island. Beginning in September and October of 1999, this project has enabled the collection of some data, which are currently being analysed as part of a review process for the program.

 

Key roles that I have taken on in my position; include enhancing the predator control program and monitoring program, establish kangaroo, hare and fox sign surveys, establishing vegetation monitoring sites, establishing a rabbit control program and to assess the brush-tailed bettong reintroduction program.
 

Please click on thumbnails to enlarge

Brush-tailed Bettongs shown in the normal sleeping posture with tail tucked up under the body and the typical ‘kangaroo’ type posture of the standing animal

 
Bennett's Wallaby
Juvenile NT Brushtail Possum
Swamp Wallaby
Golden Brushtail Possum
Red Kangaroos
Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies
Baby Squirrel Glider
Sugar Glider
Euro

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