Survey Site 1

Black Swan making use of re-instated wetlands.

History:

In 1983, the property was a poor, sparsely vegetated grazing property. The sandy soil made it particularly susceptible to erosion and livestock damage. Naturally occurring wet areas, formed by underground aquifers, were being destroyed by livestock via soil disturbance, increased nutrient load and feeding habits. Farming techniques were also encouraging the spread of various weeds, and the destruction of remnant vegetation.

Livestock damage to soft, sandy soils and depleted vegetation.

Action:

EVC 3: Damps Sands Herb-rich Woodland. Victorian Status: Vulnerable
EVC 136: Sedge Wetland. Victorian Status: Vulnerable

The owners chose to turn the property into a wildlife sanctuary and restore the vegetation to its pre-agricultural state. To achieve this, all stock were removed completely and permanently. In many areas of the property, the native vegetation began to regenerate of its own accord, or after some low intensity weed control. In more heavily impacted areas, a more intensive effort was required. Thousands of trees and shrubs were planted and a vigilant weed control program was implemented. The wet zones were restored to their full glory, with the reinstatement of 9 wetlands, while the existing farm dam was substantially modified to support a diverse array of aquatic wildlife, especially waterbirds.

Wet areas were reformed via earthworks, and weeds were removed.

The combination of these activities halted soil erosion, and brought about a dramatic increase in both abundance and diversity of native flora and fauna. Realizing that such a unique place needed protection, the owners placed a legally binding covenant on the property title (through Trust for Nature) preventing the destruction of the natural environment.

This fully functional wetland was once a dilapidated farm dam.

Future Aims:

Weed patrols organized by HRF will continue on a regular basis to ensure that the native vegetation remains in pristine condition. Mosaic burning will be conducted to imitate wildfire to ensure that habitat for animals like the bandicoot is replenished. The property will continue to serve as a testament to what can be achieved out of very little.

Status:

The property once again provides habitat for 16 mammals, 10 reptiles, 7 frogs and more than 130 bird species. The most noteworthy of these species being the Powerful Owl, Latham Snipe, Emu Wren, Swift Parrot, Blue-winged Parrot, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Long nosed bandicoot, Southern Brown Bandicoot, Koala and Sugar Glider. The property is also home to over 1,000 grass trees, some being over 200 years old, as well as the rare Large Tongue Orchid and Austral Ladies Tresses.

This graph shows that the diversity of wildlife species making use of the bushland increased following weed control works.

This graph shows how the indigenous species were able to regenerate once the competition from weeds was removed.

Sightings:

Australasian Bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus)
Australasian Shoveler (Anas rhynchotis)
Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla)
Blue-billed Duck (Oxyura australis)
Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae)
Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia)
Great Egret (Ardea alba)
Grey-headed Flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)
Hardhead (Aythya australis)
Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia)
King Quail (Coturnix chinensis)
Latham's Snipe (Gallinago hardwickii)
Lewin's Rail (Rallus pectoralis)
Musk Duck (Biziura lobata)
Nankeen Night Heron (Nycticorax caledonicus)
Painted Snipe (Rostratula benghalensis)
Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius)
Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua)
Southern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus obesulus)
Swamp Skink (Egernia coventryi)
Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor)
White-footed Dunnart (Sminthopsis leucopus)

Statistics

Location:

Main Ridge, Victoria

Project Began:

1983

Acreage:

50

Issues:

Large areas cleared by grazing. Remnant vegetation invaded by weeds. Natural waterbodies destroyed by hooved livestock.

Tasks:

Reinstatement of natural waterbodies. Weed control, revegetation, removal of stock.

Species Prior Works:

Flora: 75
Fauna: 58

Species After Works:

Flora: 164
Fauna: 160