Recently I was delighted to see a platypus from the middle bridge over the Tarwin River. Did you know that the river provides water for Meeniyan and Dumbalk? During winter, water is also pumped from the Tarwin River to replenish Leongatha’s water supply.
So it’s great to welcome the Koonwarra Recreation Reserve as a member of the Landcare group. They’ve been planting along the river and tending their bushland. The pretty blue Love Creeper, Comesperma volubile, is currently flowering there.
Other surrounding landholders (and the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority) are busy with willow and other weed control, fencing off wetlands and revegetation areas, and preparing for tree planting and even direct seeding.
The Landcare group executive has met with representatives from the Major Roads Project Authority (formerly part of Vic Roads) and Indigenous Design to discuss their Strzelecki Gum offset plan. MRPA has committed to manage 8.7 Ha including the wetland for 10 years. Actions will be to encourage recruitment (of Eucalyptus strzeleckii seedlings), revegetation (1.2 Ha), weed management, pest animal control, protection from stock and unauthorised access, monitoring, auditing and reviewing. For 3 years, the MRPA will also be managing the stretch of the rail trail from the old Koonwarra-Meeniyan Road to Minns Road.
Local seed for revegetation is being collected by the South Gippsland Seed Bank. At our request, fallen trees will be stock-piled and retained on site for habitat, increased biodiversity, and to provide organic ground cover to slow erosion. Use of barbwire will be minimised to reduce hazards especially to wildlife such as gliders and birds. Environmental weeds to be controlled will include willow species and Sweet Pittosporum (Pittsoporum undulatum) and emerging weeds. Nest boxes will be installed.
It was very pleasing to learn that the fact that Landcare had a plan for the Black Spur Creek Wetland was an influence for the MRPA to invest in an on-site offset instead of the funds going elsewhere. There have been two other offset investments (including a research project) for Victorian requirements and for the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.
Coral Hughes and I both have copies of the Strzelecki Gum Offset Management Plan so please contact us if you wish to read them. Preliminary documentation for the South Gippsland Highway realignment can be found at https://roadprojects.vic.gov.a... Hard copies are at the South Gippsland Shire office and libraries at Leongatha and Foster. Public consultation closes on the 16th October 2018.
The 2 Citizen Science workshops organised by Jill and presented by “Remember the Wild” (check out their website) were excellent and culminated in a pleasant rail trail stroll with 12 of us plus 2 instructors seeing and hearing 18 bird species (not to mention frogs) on the glorious spring day. We are now working on developing a monitoring program in which everyone can be involved. More news on that soon !