It was so refreshing to enjoy some ‘autumn like’ evenings this week, with temperatures cooling down below 20 degrees.
I have an affection for the summer/autumn change in season and the lead into the cooler weather. Of course, this has changed significantly over my lifetime, and particularly last year, Autumn seemed to just vanish!
It seems fickle to even be discussing the temperature with our neighbouring state of Queensland suffering so much devastation at the hands of the weather.
The latest BOM seasonal forecast was released on 14 February and I had the opportunity to look back at the previous forecast issued on 31 January talking of the significant dry conditions in Queensland and forecast widespread rain in the tropical north, but no-one could have forecast the occurrences of the past fortnight.
There is some amazing satellite footage available showing the impact of the water, comparing October images with current images. These, of course, show the impact on the land from a distance, with one also showing the coastline impact, with silt slowing from the Burdekin River into the Ocean, near the Great Barrier Reef.
As many of us have seen over the past week, these photos, whilst shocking enough, do not show the devastation that this flooding has left on the ground, in areas where drought conditions were significant.
This event, being described as a once in a century occurrence, has left properties and already vulnerable, drought-stressed livestock devastated and anywhere up to 500,000 cattle dead, with the full extent of the impact of the flooding still to be realised.
Obviously, the health implications in terms of dead and dying animals is significant enough, with landholders, farm managers, farm hands and families having to deal with so many layers of devastation, after being invested in the survival of these animals through the drought. With losing them in such a devastating way, the emotional impact, let alone the financial impact, you could not put any price on.
When surrounding communities are also impacted, the challenge of recovery is immense and we have the opportunity to contribute, both in the short term and also with longer term commitments to the area.
Recovery efforts for stock that have survived the flooding, will provide further challenges, with access being a significant challenge, let alone the provision of fodder after drought.
Perhaps now is the time to plan your trip to North Queensland later in the year or in the short term, donate financially or with goods to the recovery effort. This is just a small way that we can help with the recovery. The Federal Government has listed the following Local Government areas as eligible for Government Disaster Recovery: Burdekin; Burke; Charters Towers; Cloncurry; Cook; Doomadgee; Douglas; Flinders; McKinlay; Palm Island; Richmond; Townsville; Winton; and Wujal Wujal. Look them up.
The Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk has launched an appeal to assist with recovery, urging people to donate through the Australian Red Cross Society, The Salvation Army, St Vincent De Paul Society of Queensland, UnitingCare Community or GIVIT.
Back on a local level, our first Central West Lachlan Landcare Committee meeting will be held in Parkes on Wednesday, 20 February at 6pm. We are fortunate to welcome the new Parkes Drought Relief Officer, Mr Roger Kitson to give us a brief overview of his role in the Parkes Shire. If you are interested in attending our meeting, please RSVP to me. Details below.
Until next week, happy Landcaring!