Month: February 2018

New Strain of Rabbit Calicivirus Released in the Hills.

The latest strain of Rabbit Calicivirus, code named K5, was released at 3 sites in the Barrabool Hills during February.

Developed by the CSIRO, distributed by the Rabbit Action Network and the Biosecurity and Agriculture Services section of the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, the local release was fully managed by volunteers from the Barrabool Hills Landcare Group, supported by the Surf Coast Shire.

According to the Department’s John Matthews, “a successful release is reliant on several factors, a rabbit population where a high proportion of the population is naive and vulnerable to K5; a rabbit population with minimum number of juvenile animals present at time of release; suitable vectors present (blowflies and bush flies); and favourable climatic conditions that aid the spread.

BHLG Equipment Manager, Trevor Jones prepares the virus for release.

He went on to say, “the very preliminary data indicates a 42 per cent average reduction in wild rabbit numbers where RHDV1 K5 was released. RHDV1 K5 has been successfully established at a number of Victorian release sites, rabbits are dying and the disease has spread to a number of non release sites.

According to Community Engagement Officer Heidi Kleinert, “rabbit location data and samples are provided by community and government stakeholders through Rabbit Scan. This is the primary method that allows us to detect, track and monitor the spread and impact of RHDV1 K5 away from the release sites.

For more information visit: The website provides information by state and strain detected.

Vic release sites K5 virus

The attached map indicates the location of the Victorian K5 release sites.

Note: RHDV = rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus, or rabbit calicivirus (RCV)


Read Blog Detail

Recreating the Country

Hi followers of the Recreating the Country blog on grasslands,

The series on Managing Grasslands and Grassy Woodlands, why we are losing the battle to save them has fallen on fertile soil!

Parts 1 & 2 had more than a thousand readers each and from the diverse and wonderful comments there is a general agreement that cultural and political attitudes toward protecting Australia’s wildlife need to change quickly.

Part 3 – ‘The Wisdom of Indigenous Elders’ looks at the benefits of Traditional Owner burning practices. Part of the emerging solution to our dilemma is to empower Australia’s indigenous people to practice their craft and reconnect with Country.
Click on the link below to read part 3; au/blog/managing-grasslands-and-grassy-woodlands-in-temperate-australia-why-were-losing-the-battle-to-save-them-part-3-the-wisdom-of-indigenous-elders

(If this link doesn’t work then go to the website home page  and choose blog).
Please keep the comments coming. They’re brilliant!

Kind regards,
Stephen Murphy
Sustainable Biorich Landscapes 

Read Blog Detail

Barrabool Hills geological map

Here’s the link to the online version of the geological map of Barrabool Hills. It’s free to download the high res version but it’s 4MB, which may not suit some people.

Elissa Ashton-Smith
Landcare Facilitator, Geelong Landcare Network

Read Blog Detail

establishing shelterbelts, tax incentives


The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has produced a fact sheet for primary producers on the tax incentives for establishing shelterbelts, entitled “Establishing shelterbelts on land used in primary production business: Can I claim a tax deduction? What you need to know” (Dec. 2016).

The fact sheet was developed in a partnership between the ATO and the Basalt to Bay Landcare Network, and it provides primary producers with useful information on the taxation, productivity and biodiversity benefits that can result from the establishment of shelterbelts.

The PDF of the fact sheet is available via

Read Blog Detail