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Innovation Inspires at Inaugural North East Forum

Over 80 attendees at the North East Environment Forum: Innovation in Landscape Conservation were inspired by success stories and fascinating research when the inaugural event was held at Charles Sturt University (CSU)/GO Tafe in Wangaratta in late May. The forum showcased innovative approached to landscape conservation, celebrated success stories and launched the North East Conservation Fund.

The North East Conservation Fund is a join initiative between Trust for Nature and North East Catchment Management Authority (North East CMA). Donations to the fund will enable locally important environmental projects, such as protecting and enhancing habitat for breeding Brolgas, providing protection for the last local remaining Silver Banksia populations and protecting and replacing the mature paddock trees which are vitally important in our landscape. Please contact Trust for Nature's Development Manager, Vanessa Meachen on (03) 8631 5813, if you would like to make a donation to the fund.

Lyn Coulston (Chair, North East CMA) said she was honoured to launch the fund on behalf of North East CMA and Trust for Nature Ms Coulston said "the implementation of this fund commences an exciting time for conservation and land management in North East Victoria".
One of the many highlights from the day was the John Paul Memorial Lecture, which was presented by Dr Dale Nimmo from CSU's Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS). North East CMA and our partners Trust for Nature, CSU's ILWS and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning were honoured to have Mary Paul and John's son William Paul in attendance.

Dr Nimmo's address 'Dealing with Multiple Threats: Landscape Innovation for the 21st Century' looked at the role regional land management had in the face of climate change and the potential to 're-wild' Australian landscapes.

Max Ervin (Chair, Trust for Nature) said Dr Nimmo's John Paul Memorial Lecture presented compelling ideas in combatting change locally.

"This rise in global temperatures over the past few decades is having an immediate effect on Victoria's biodiversity" Mr Ervin said, "Dr Nimmo definitely grabbed everyone's attention with the scientific evidence of this fact."

Mr Ervin said other compelling and positive ideas raised included the positive impact of tree cover in the recovery of birdlife following drought as well his thoughts on 're-wilding' our landscape as potential means of controlling feral animals.

For the first half of the day Gerard O'Neill (Bush Heritage), Dr Dale Nimmo (CSU) and Val Lang (Mt Elephant) inspired attendees with fundraising and conservation success stories and fascinating research that included studies into re-wilding of native animals. The day was then rounded off with two expert panels who presented on the topical issues of Deer, native fish and carp.

Lachlan Campbell (North East CMA), Dan Brown (Parks Victoria) and Ben Fahey (Parks Victoria) offered attendees and insight into the challenges faced on both public and private land when managing the impacts caused by the ever increasing Deer population in North East Victoria.

There was much anticipation surrounding the final panel which consisted of Glen Johnson (DELWP) presented on the success of the Macquarie Perch reintroduction project, Lee Baumgartner (North East CMA/CSU) discussed the wonderful diversity of native fish in our river systems and how this has changed dramatically since our rivers became more regulated and Matt Barwick (NSW Department of Primary Industries) provided details on the Carp Herpes Virus and responded to many frequently asked questions on this much publicised research project.

The success of the forum has confirmed plans to hold the event each year. North East CMA, Trust for Nature, CSU's ILWS, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Parks Victoria will work in partnership to present Innovation in Landscape Conservation in 2017.

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