Blog: Down The Track monitoring Lake Cargelligo’s big backyard

At Lake Cargelligo in western New South Wales, a local youth group helps with ecological monitoring of the big lake and the islands within it by camping out at least four times each year.

Down The Track Island trip February 2023

The monitoring is run by local biologist and Landcare Coordinator Adam Kerezsy, and local farmer (and chair of the not-for-profit Cargelligo Wetlands and Lakes Council) Peter Skipworth. Adam and Peter always try to get extra experts along to share the fun, and in February 2023 this task fell to Thomas Munro, an ecologist with the Biodiversity Conservation Trust.

Thomas Munro from the Biodiversity Conservation Trust discusses plant identification on Robinson Crusoe Island. Photo credit: Adam Kerezsy

Tom made the long trek across from Dubbo and showed the Trackers how to identify plants using maps, books and identification keys.

With the temperature up over 40 degrees, they then hit the water with a combination of techniques including dragged seine nets and funnel-shaped fyke nets that were set overnight.


Retrieving the overnight fish samples. Photo credit: Adam Kerezsy

Unfortunately, the results were as expected: thousands of carp, from youngsters around 50mm long to monsters up over 500mm. As most people are aware, the recent flooding has resulted in a massive boom in carp numbers. This is in contrast to Down The Track results over the last two years, where carp were only one of six or seven species that were sampled.

Catch of the day. Photo credit: Adam Kerezsy

The camp was as happy as usual, despite the arrival of at least one brown snake and a quick trip to Lake hospital when the treble hook on a lure ended up embedded in an ear. It seems there was no major damage and the unlucky patient returned within an hour or so and resumed fishing.

Hopefully the Lake system will return to normal as the effects of the flooding subside. There’s no doubt that Down The Track will be there to monitor these changes, especially given they are now supported by a wide range of organisations, ranging from Landcare to the University of Canberra and government agencies.

Peter Skipworth helps Jimeal Thorpe with a lifejacket. Photo credit: Adam Kerezsy


Fishy business. Photo credit: Adam Kerezsy




This initiative is made possible by the NSW Landcare Program. A collaboration between Landcare NSW and Local Land Services, supported by the NSW Government.

Blog: Healing Country & Community with Good Fire Practices in the Upper Shoalhaven

Mosaic Burning

Supported by the Upper Shoalhaven Landcare Local Landcare Coordinator (LLC), Erin Brinkley, this project was born from the Black Summer Bushfires which burnt over 250,000ha in the Upper Shoalhaven Landcare region. The fires caused significant biodiversity loss, removal of critical habitat, extreme soil erosion and reduced water quality. In addition, there was a major physical, mental and emotional toll on the community, with people fighting the blaze on all sides and businesses crippled by necessary road closures during the prolonged hazardous conditions.

The ‘Healing Country & Community with Good Fire Practices’ project aimed to deliver an educational experience that increased local knowledge and leadership in fire management practices specific to the region with over 80 participants taking part in the workshops.

With funding from the NSW Government’s Increasing Resilience to Climate Change Community Grants Program, Upper Shoalhaven Landcare ran a series of cultural engagement workshops in Broad Gully, Mongarlowe.

Under the guiding eye of an Aboriginal woman, their first workshop focused on training local Rural Fire Service (RFS) in flora identification, surveying methods, and understanding the best times to burn based on species’ cycles.

The second workshop was a two-day practical demonstration of cultural burning in action. The demonstration involved members of Landcare, Mongarlowe Volunteer Rural Fire Brigade, and local landholders who saw cultural burning in action with 10ha burnt and had the opportunity to listen and learn from a team of Walbunja Fire Practitioners.

By bringing together local RFS brigades, botanists, landholders, Landcare and Aboriginal groups, Upper Shoalhaven facilitated vital knowledge sharing and demonstrated how good fire practices can be used as a tool to reduce fuel loads and help mitigate the impacts of our changing climate. The workshops proved burning can be conducted in a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere and improved community confidence in using fire as a tool, at the right time, to manage the land and reduce bushfire risk more broadly.

In addition, participants learnt that by adopting these cool burning techniques they can improve landscape health and reap huge biodiversity benefits in the process. Growing in understanding that cool-burning enhances the natural environment, but is also extremely beneficial for the community, giving people a chance to come together and do something positive post-bushfires.

A healthy landscape lends itself to a healthy community, and the locals involved in the project came away with a positive sense that, together, we can help address the impacts of climate change and extreme bushfires in our region.

This initiative is made possible by the NSW Landcare Program. A collaboration between Landcare NSW and Local Land Services, supported by the NSW Government.