By: Michael Fox
I attended an interesting meeting last week with Victor Kaniuk, Principal Program Officer for BCC Invasive Species & Wildlife Management. Hosted by Wayne Cameron, B4C Catchment Manager, the meeting explored the potential alignment between the new Brisbane Community Biodiversity Strategy – Oct 2012, prepared by Brisbane Catchments Network (BCN), and the recently approved BCC Invasive Species Management Plan.(Draft copy online at time of writing)
It was certainly heartening to learn more about the strategic, research based, approach being developed by Victor’s team and actively supported by the management team represented by Cr Matthew Burke, Chair of Environment, Parks and Sustainability Committee.
Key points of interest for me were:
- Foxes now #1 pest species – 10 years ago it was feral dogs
- 3 foxes removed from Whites Hill Reserve & 7 from Toohey Forest
- gut analysis showed native birds being taken
- Dogs off-leash – an ongoing problem
- Council regulatory action is responsibility of CARS (Compliance & Regulatory Services)
- Feral/domestic cats significant but difficult problem to manage
- Feral deer an increasing problem
- sightings as close as Karawatha Forest in Bulimba Creek catchment
The objective for Victor’s team is to move from a reactive short term focus to development of systematic research based sustainable solutions and partnerships with private land owners and habitat groups.
- 5 year natural area monitoring project to fill gaps in knowledge base
- What is the situation in Brisbane reserves, not Canberra or Toowoomba?
- camera monitoring of fauna movement – native and pest
- Nest box research to develop design and monitoring procedures guide
- past experience is boxes often neglected – reflecting poorly but unfairly on Council
- Tactical plan for Wipe Out Weeds program
- increased investment committed – target areas to be evaluated
- maximise long term benefit from investment
- Assessment of appropriate solutions for pests like Common Myna
- Brisbane experience very different to Canberra. What is the “real” situation in Brisbane?
- partnership with private property owners
- lend traps – property owners responsible for pre-baiting & disposal of trapped birds
- most effective solution appears to be vegetation modification
- less attractive for Common Myna and more attractive for native species
Working with Council – my take on how it works
It can be frustrating working with huge bureaucracies like Brisbane City Council. However, its very size means that Council can employ expert teams to focus on very specific areas and commit to long term complex initiatives like the Invasive Species Management Plan.
Having worked in the PMG>Telecom>Telstra for over thirty years and I now teach management at university. Based on my experience I find it is valuable to consider the size, complexity and basic interrelationships of the organisation. With that basic understanding we can do a lot to help our Council “bureaucrats” help us achieve our objectives.
- Annual budget – approx $1.9billion
- Area covered – 1,367 sq km
- Population – 1 million residents (twice the population of Tasmania)
Managing an organisation of this size and complexity within a rapidly changing environment is a challenge. The Council has the added complexity that members of its Board of Directors (Civic Cabinet) are voted in or out by the shareholders (Brisbane residents) every three years (heavily simplified). Large public company board members do not have this pressure.
Civic Cabinet represent our interests, setting the overall strategy for development of our city. Expert input to strategy development and implementation of strategy is provided by Divisional and Branch Managerment who report to Cr Matthew Bourke as Chair of Environment, Parks & Sustainability Committee.