Cane toads


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The Kununurra Cane Toad Working Group: (CTWG)

20 September 2005, at CALM offices



Peter Stubbs, Karin Carnes, Peter Grigg, Keith Wright, Gordon Graham, Dick Pasfield, Gae Mackay, Noel Wilson, Dean Goodgame, Sarah Brett, Des Hill, Gill Holmes, Scott Goodson, Liz Kirkby

Apologies: None received

Government Funded Cane Toad Community Awareness Program update - $500,000

Jan Martin (CALM) provided an update (via telephone link) on where the public awareness program is:

  • Staff from CALM’s Strategic Development and Corporate Affairs Division attended meetings with MarketForce – a Perth advertising agency. The brief is to create a multi-faceted campaign aimed at various stakeholder groups, including indigenous communities, school children, tourists etc.
  • The program is likely to include television and radio advertisements, stickers, posters etc.
  • MarketForce are seeking photos and/or footage of cane toads so that they can progress their campaign.
  • Seeking a sponsor to have naming rights on a four-wheel drive vehicle that will be known as the “Toad on the Road”. The vehicle will have signage on its panels and they envisage a model toad up on the roof.
  • The vehicle will travel through all remote regions, including northern towns and will distribute literature, handouts etc.
  • There will be a cane toad display at the Perth Agricultural Show, at the Landcare exhibition.

Action: Gae to find out what the timeframes are for the community awareness program activities outlines by Jan Martin.

Minutes from last meeting:

Minutes were briefly reviewed and accepted as being correct by Dick Pasfield, and seconded by Peter Grigg.

CALM Cane Toad Activities Update:

Karin Carnes provided an update of where the CALM Toad Team are at:

Cane Toad Program Update

The cane toad team consists presently of a coordinator and 4 team members, one on a casual basis. We are in the process of a pool recruitment, which will allow us to replace Larry’s position on a 12 months contract, and to recruit additional team members as required on a 1 – 12 months basis.

Focus of activities dependant on seasonal conditions

  • Now, with the weather warming up, cane toads are starting to become more active looking for food but still remaining close to permanent water.
  • With the onset of the wet season, movement of the cane toad front is expected especially on any rainy night.
  • As the country will dry out in the next dry season, cane toads will gather closer to water sources and, with the weather cooling off, they will again be less active and visible.

Main activities of the team at this stage

  • Cooperation with the Northern Territory and with FrogWatch from the NT on trap designs and trap locations
  • Servicing of existing traps and liaison with community members supporting trapping activities with traps on their properties
  • Establishment of additional traps
  • Day and night searches picking up cane toads
  • Responding to cane toad sighting reports
  • Survey of any river crossings and shallow areas with an increased risk of cane toad movement across the river
  • Survey of cane toad movement and extent
  • Extensive liaison with community members, land holders and managers both in the NT and in WA

Maps and Satellite Imagery presented

  • Overview of tenure in the Victoria River District (VRD)
  • Overview of traps in place
  • Overview of planned trap positions
  • Cane toad presence and reports
  • Satellite image of area 5-10 km west of Victoria River Roadhouse
  • Victoria River Roadhouse and planning of trap grid in area 5-10 km west of Victoria River Roadhouse
  • Coolibah and Fitzroy Station
  • Reported sighting of cane toad at Skull Creek
  • Timber Creek
  • Satellite images of West and East Baines River
  • West and East Baines River
  • Legune, Bullo River and Auvergne Station
  • Keep River NP and Indigenous communities near the border
  • WA side
  • Other areas to consider including satellite images of the upper reaches of Victoria River and Jasper Gorge

State Cane Toad Advisory Group Update:

Dick Pasfield and Des Hill reported that the State Group have not met since the last cane toad meeting. Des took the opportunity to raise the idea of setting up a Bushranger program in Kununurra, which would help to engender an interest of local school kids in fighting the cane toads. The agreement was for a meeting to be arranged involving Des, CALM and the two schools in Kununurra.

Other Business:

    • CALM Cane Toad Coordinator position:

Gae reported that the position attracted only two applicants, both with a string science/research background. The decision has been made (and is currently being endorsed in Perth) to readvertise the position with a revised Job Description Form that better reflects the position. The position will also be advertised for a 2-year contract (instead of 12 months) and will be offered at Level 4, 5 or 6 to try to attract a wider range of applicants. The intention is to readvertise ASAP.

    • Community Cane Toad Coordinator Funding Offer

Some time ago, CALM made an offer to fund a three month Community Cane Toad Coordinator. Since then, a number of proposals have been received. The proposals were outlined (and a couple of new ones added in). They were as follows:

Proposal 1 (Summary proposal provided by Liz Kirkby)

To use the funding allocated through CALM to employ a Cane Toad Community Project Officer for three months full time, over a longer period to employ/engage Lee Scott Virtue through Kimberley Specialists for either:

8.75 hours a week (0.1 FTE) for 12 months; or

12.6 hrs a week (0.17 FTE) for 9 months.

Proposal 2 (Summary proposal provided by Liz Kirkby)

To use the funding allocated through CALM to employ a Cane Toad Community Project Officer for three months full time together with the nine months full time funding offered by the Cane Toad Foundation, to employ/engage Lee Scott Virtue and one other person, preferably Indigenous to reflect the regional demographics (47.3 Indigenous people and 52.7 non Indigenous people) as two part-time Cane Toad Community Project Officers for:

19 hrs a week (0.5 FTE) each for 12 months.

Proposal 3 (Summary provided by Gae Mackay –taken from Lee Scott-Virtue’s original letter)

To use the funding allocated through CALM to engage Kimberley Specialists in Research to be the conduit to CALM for the information exchange between CALM and the community representatives already involved in the coordination and facilitation of the volunteer team. “This arrangement would enable the present volunteer program of leadership training in the field and the registration of a community based volunteer reserve to continue, and maximise the use of the $30,000 grant to be applied to the urgent on ground trapping that is required now, rather that inventing a new arrangements, which will be time consuming and further delay the volunteer effort.

Proposal 4 (Summary provided by Gae Mackay – based on a telephone conversation with Dennis Beros from Stop the Toad Foundation)

To use the funding allocated through CALM, and leverage it using funds provided through Stop the Toad Foundation, to create a full time community cane toad coordinator position, based in Kununurra, for 12 months. The position would liaise closely with CALM to ensure minimal duplication of effort in seeking permits, insurances etc, as well as ensuring the volunteer program complimented existing cane toad activities. The benefit of having a full time Stop the Toad Foundation community coordinator is that significant funds provided through Stop the Toad Foundation, would be invested in the Kimberley/NT volunteer program, rather than being spent on Perth based initiatives.

Gae advised that ultimately, the decision would rest with senior CALM people in Perth, but that a recommendation from the CTWG would be advisable. To that end, the decision was for CTWG members to provide their preferred option to Gae, for collating and sending down as a recommendation to Perth.

Action: for CTWG Members to send to Gae, their preferred option.

    • Stop the Toad Foundation

Gae provided an update on the Stop The Toad Foundation. The Foundation is yet to formalise its membership/constitution etc, and until it dies, government funding for community events will not be available. The Stop the Toad Foundation received $500,000 from the State Government for community activities. Gae suggested that if the Kimberley community wanted to access the funds, they would need to become aligned with the Stop the Toad Foundation. She also indicated that CALM does not have funds available to assist local community actions, and that the Government has identified Stop the Toad Foundation as being the vehicle for community actions. Accordingly, CALM will be working closely with Stop the Toad Foundation to ensure that their proposed activities are complimentary to the Government program.

Meeting closed.

Next Meeting:

Tuesday 2 nd August at CALM.

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