Com­mit­ted to con­ser­va­tion

A cor­dial meet­ing for the mu­tual ben­e­fit of the en­vi­ron­ment should have passed with­out con­tro­versy … but not when it in­volves duck hunters.

Field and Game - - NEWS -

The North Cen­tral Catch­ment Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity (NCCMA) and Field & Game Aus­tralia have been work­ing for some time on a more col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach.

Both or­gan­i­sa­tions have a deep com­mit­ment to good en­vi­ron­men­tal out­comes, and for FGA, that goes back to 1958 and the self-im­posed levy on hunters that es­tab­lished the State Game Re­serve (SGR) sys­tem.

Hav­ing reached a com­mit­ment to work closely to­gether, the NCCMA posted a mes­sage on Face­book un­leash­ing the an­ti­hunt­ing trolls.

“Why not part­ner with ac­tual con­ser­va­tion­ists who want to cre­ate a haven for wa­ter­birds and sup­port na­ture­based eco­tourism?” was a ques­tion posed by a Coali­tion Against Duck Shoot­ing (CADS) ad­vo­cate amid the vit­riol.

FGA has no is­sue with eco­tourism: we love wet­lands and en­cour­age ev­ery­one to en­joy them, but tourism is not con­ser­va­tion, it is vis­i­ta­tion.

Con­ser­va­tion, as we have learned over nearly 60 years, takes com­mit­ment, time and boots on the ground.

Tower Hill, the first SGR, was re­planted based on a land­scape paint­ing; it took years and the ded­i­ca­tion of lo­cal groups, in­clud­ing Field & Game.

The Heart Morass near Sale would still be a de­graded graz­ing prop­erty if not for the ef­forts of FGA and its char­i­ta­ble Wet­lands En­vi­ron­men­tal Task­force in part­ner­ship with the Hugh D.T. Williamson Foun­da­tion, Bug Blitz Trust, Wa­ter­mark Inc. and the West Gipp­s­land Catch­ment Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity.

The Heart Morass project has taken a decade and many thou­sands of vol­un­teer hours; it is a com­mit­ment far be­yond the ca­pa­bil­ity of the self-pro­claimed ‘real con­ser­va­tion­ists’ trolling so­cial me­dia.

We are yet to see CADS or An­i­mals Aus­tralia and their vol­un­teers com­mit to any­thing more than in­vad­ing wet­lands on the open­ing week­end of duck sea­son.

Hunters are users of wetland and they har­vest game birds for food. Hunters have al­ways bal­anced the equa­tion through ac­tive con­ser­va­tion, pest an­i­mal con­trol, and nest­ing sup­port for wa­ter­fowl.

The Me­moran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing with the NCCMA is an­other mea­sure of our com­mit­ment to con­ser­va­tion and healthy wet­lands.

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