Making the Tarwin Terrific again
Our 2019-2020 Victorian Landcare Grant Project
In this project two landholders will fence off waterways and re-vegetate, retiring steep and eroding gullies. The waterways form part of the catchment of the Ruby Creek a tributary of the West Branch of the Tarwin River on one property and flow into the East Branch of the Tarwin River on the other. Both landholders have recognised the need to adapt management strategies on their properties to protect the gullies from erosion and improve the health of the river.
The gully complex that will be fenced and re-vegetated on the eastern property contains two Ecological Vegetation Classes that will be protected and enhanced by fencing off and selected planting. Shrubby Foothill Forest and Damp Forest are listed as Endangered on the Bioregional Conservation Status list. The area has very little remnant vegetation remaining to the east of the project area, but properties on the west have had environmental restoration works done in the past. Restoring the plant community will add to biodiversity by providing habitat for native animals and add much needed connectivity in the area. An EPBC Act Protected Matters report generated for the area listed 22 threated species that maybe positively impacted by restorative work. The property on the Ruby Creek catchment has some steep areas down to waterways which will be fenced off, retired from grazing and the area re-vegetated. This area has had some environmental works done in the past and is close to large areas of remnant vegetation. This project will address erosion and run off issues and will provide further connectivity in the landscape, helping promote biodiversity. An EPBC Act Protected Matters report generated for the area listed 26 threatened species that maybe positively impacted by restorative work. The works area includes the Endangered EVC, Damp Forest.
Our project includes two areas of revegetation. The western landholders are experienced Landcarers having a previous property where steep areas were fenced and revegetated,
and landslips were ameliorated with fencing and planting. These landholders regularly host
meetings and farm walks to share knowledge and progress of projects. Having secured an adjacent farm, they are keen to continue their environmental restoration work using knowledge gained and support from the group. The eastern landholders are new to the area and are keen to learn and incorporate Landcare principles into their whole farm plan. Neighbours have encouraged this family to join the Landcare group to learn from members, and to plan environmental works to add to a district whole of landscape planning approach. The members of the Landcare group
have welcomed the contribution of this family to our new bird monitoring project and will do some birds on farms surveys to monitor the success of the revegetation in attracting wildlife at both properties. The Koonwarra School is a Junior Landcare Group, and will be involved in community plantings and bird monitoring activities. The school curriculum will benefit. The NTVLC group has worked closely with member landholders to fence off and revegetate and restore remnant vegetation. The group has an ongoing focus on river health and works closely with the community and agencies including Vicroads, DELWP, Shire of South Gippsland, WGCMA and Great Southern Rail Trail Committee on our Black Spur Creek Wetland project. As part of this project we would like to place a sign on the rail trail to inform and engage the public in our project and the bird monitoring that has evolved as an important means of assessing the environmental impact of the work being done so the community will be able to easily become involved and share the results.
This video explains what our project is about.
This video is a project update, and how we managed to have a Covid safe Landcare project
This video looks at where our project is at, and how we have been doing our Landcare thing in these Covid-19 socially isolated times.
We would like to thank all of the people and organisations that made our project such a success
The Westaway family and the Smit family who put themselves forward to do some major fencing and planting.
Although the landholders get funding towards the works this is never the beginning or end of a project.
The family has to be willing to willing to fence off areas of their farms that are retired from production. The Landcare group usually has some fairly strict rules about the type of fencing, the width of project areas and the species of plants that can be used for revegetation. There is always compromise.
Landholders agree to host meetings and field days on their properties to explain the project. This usually involves putting on a BBQ and lots of talking and explaining. We are always grateful to our hosts, as opening up your property for scrutiny and discussion requires a certain bravery.
The funding never covers the whole project and there is always a lot of extra work, be it fencing or planting re-vegetation tubestock. Often this is because once landholders start, they just keep going!
For this project our inability to hold community planting days and project end farm walks meant we had to think laterally and do it differently. Thank you to all our Landcare families who hopped on-board and did our separate but together planting on their own properties. There were some mighty projects and some little ones, but we shared stories and pictures and got some good work done. Planting a tree is always a statement of hope for a better future, and it's something we all needed during Covid-19 restrictions.
Lastly our Great Southern Rail Trail sign at the Black Spur Creek bridge introduces people to our bird monitoring project and our shared Birdlife Australia monitoring sites. We would like to thank Birdlife Australia for the help getting the sites sorted and published, to the Great Southern Rail Trail Committee for supporting this endeavour and working with us to develop the design. To the current rail trail managers, The South Gippsland Shire council for being just as supportive of an inherited project. Finally a great big shout out to CPB contractors, the Major Road Projects Victoria contractors who put the sign up for us. We love you and our backs do even more!