Environmental Protection

Weeds

Weeds pose a serious threat to agriculture and biodiversity in the Alpine Shire. Many species have the potential to reduce agricultural productivity, displace native species, threaten social values and contribute significantly to land and water degradation.

Alpine Shire Council has prepared a Weed Management Strategy in order to prioritise important species to control. It is the responsibility of all land managers to control weeds.

Managing weeds on roadsides
Roadsides provide a ready means for invasive plants and pest animals to spread throughout the Shire, threatening parks, forests and rural land asset values.

Council’s Roadside Weed and Rabbit Control Plan prioritises the management of ‘regionally prohibited’ and ‘regionally controlled’ weeds and pest animals on rural roadsides in line with State and regional priorities.

For further information on weeds in the Alpine Shire Council, download a copy of the Alpine Shire Weeds booklet or pick up your free copy from one of Councils service centres.
Further information on weed management in Victoria can be found on the Department of Environment and Primary Industries website.

Firewood Collection

Firewood provides an important energy source for many people and is accepted as an excellent source of energy for home heating and cooking. It is generally seen as sustainable, renewable and environmentally friendly.

It is important that domestic firewood collection in the Alpine Shire is actively managed so that biodiversity values are not compromised. Roadsides can be important reserves of native vegetation. They sometimes contain the only remnants of certain vegetation communities and they often provide wildlife habitat and corridors between larger areas of native vegetation. They may be home to rare plants and animals and often provide a snapshot of the original plants and character of an area.

There are three ways you can collect firewood for domestic purposes in the Alpine Shire:
1. Purchase firewood from an authorised supplier (search for firewood in the community directory).
2. Obtain a firewood collection permit from Council to collect fallen timber from local roads. There are no fees associated with obtaining a permit from Council however you may be fined if collecting from a local road without a permit.
3. Collect from ‘designated firewood collection areas’ established by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries. Locations of the current firewood collection areas and conditions of collection can be found here. There are no permits or fees required to collect within designated firewood collection areas.
Council promotes the use of dry, seasoned wood and maintenance of wood fire stoves to improve efficiency and reduce air pollution.

Wildlife and Pest Animals

European Wasps
An owner or occupier of property who is aware that there is a European wasps nest on the property must cause it to be removed/or destroyed. The most effective means to control a European wasp problem is to destroy their nest. You can either call in a pest company or do it yourself. If you decide to destroy the nest yourself, remember to take precautions as European wasps will aggressively defend their nest.
Council will destroy any nests on Council managed land. Please contact Councils Environment Officer on 03 57550 555 to report the location of a European wasp nest.


Rabbits
Visit or click dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/pests-diseases-and-weeds/pest-animals/a-z-of-pest-animals/european-rabbit

Indian Mynas
The Common or Indian Myna, identified by its yellow beak and eye patch, and brown body, is an introduced pest bird and their population is spreading rapidly. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has ranked the Myna amongst the world’s 100 most invasive pest species.
They are territorial and highly aggressive birds who compete with and displace native wildlife for habitat areas. They take over tree hollows and plug up nest sites they are not using, forcing possums and birds out and ejecting nestlings and eggs from their nests. They also compete with native fauna for food and habitat.
Currently, the Myna has not populated areas within the Alpine Shire however populations are increasing in adjoining areas such as Wangaratta and Benalla.

For those communities that have seen the invasion of myna birds, the problem is serious. The colonisation of myna birds has almost always coincided with a sharp decline in native wildlife. The community can be a powerful hand in turning things around. Community members who sight Indian Mynas within the Alpine Shire are urged to contact Councils Environment Officer on 03 5755 0532.

Further information on the Indian Myna can be found on the Department of Environment and Primary Industries website.

Mice
Visit or click dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/pests-diseases-and-weeds/pest-animals/managing-mice-around-the-household

Feral Cats
Visit or click dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/pests-diseases-and-weeds/pest-animals/a-z-of-pest-animals/cat-feral-or-wild

Wild Dogs
Wild dogs in the Alpine Shire have evolved from dingoes and domestic dogs. Breeding between domestic dogs and dingoes has taken place since European settlement. Dingoes that have bred with domestic dogs gone wild (escaped farm and town dogs, hunting dogs lost in the bush, unwanted dogs dumped in the bush) have resulted in physical changes to the dingoes. There are now a variety of body shapes, sizes and coat colours.

Within the Alpine Shire, wild dogs are generally distributed throughout the forested areas of the region, much of it public land. Numbers of dogs increase with the onset of winter as the dogs in the high country are forced down the mountains as the snow season starts.

Landowners who spot or hear wild dogs near their property are encouraged to contact the Department of Environment and Primary Industries immediately as packs of wild dogs tend to only stay in the one area for a couple of weeks.
Further information on the control of wild dogs can be found from the Department of Environment and Primary Industries.


Swooping birds

Snakes
Snakes that are commonly found within the Alpine Shire include the Red-bellied black snake, Eastern Brown snake and the Tiger snake. Whilst these species are highly venomous, under most circumstances snakes will try to escape when they encounter humans, they will only bite when they find themselves cornered and can't escape.
Some key points to remember about living in an area with snakes:

  • If you see a snake - keep calm and try to move yourself, anyone with you and your pets away from the snake
  • Never touch or attempt to capture or hurt snakes – instead call the Department of Environment and Primary Industries on 136 186 for further advice, or call a licensed snake catcher
  • Have a spring clean - clean up around the house and cut lawns regularly – snakes are attracted to shelter such as piles of rocks and timber, sheets of metal, or building materials
  • Snakes like to prey on rats which in turn are attracted to aviaries, chicken pens and compost heaps, so it's important to keep these areas clean.
  • Undertake first aid training, ensure your first aid kit contains several compression bandages, and if someone is bitten, call 000 immediately
  • Snakes are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. It is illegal to capture, kill or harm them. Bites can occur when people try to kill snakes.

Elm Leaf Beetle
There are a large number of elm trees within the Alpine Shire that have high social and aesthetic value. Elms make up an important aspect of the Shires cultural landscape as they line our avenues and display autumn colour. The regional profile of our feature elms helps attract people to the region and is used in promoting the Shire.

The effects of the elm leaf beetle could be seen as a visual indicator of the health of the region and impact on tourism in the area. This could have major impacts on the economic development of the Shire.

Council has developed the Elm Leaf Beetle Management Strategy to minimise the impact of the Elm Leaf Beetle on trees managed by the Alpine Shire while providing information to; and encouraging program implementation for trees managed by private landholders and other authorities.

Please contact Councils arborist on 03 5755 0555 for further information on the management of elm leaf beetle or to report any infestations.

It is important that all landowners manage elm leaf beetle. Further information for home gardeners can be found through Friends of the Elms.

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