Survey Site 6

Rocks, logs and indigenous plants provide habitat for frogs.

History:

The property was cleared generations ago for agriculture, and had been used for a number of purposes since. This high pressure agricultural regime had caused many problems including:-

  • Severe erosion of upper slopes, resulting in loss of topsoil.
  • The formation of an unstable gully and deterioration of dam water quality.
  • Invasion of a dozen high-impact weed species.
  • The deterioration of natural vegetation and water quality in the spring.

When the property was bought by a couple interested in sustainable land practices and conservation, they began the huge task of rectifying decades of damage.

Weeds around the spring have been sprayed to allow revegetation to commence. Notice the algae bloom in the water.

Action:

EVC 83: Swampy Riparian Woodland. Victorian Status: Endangered
EVC 308: Aquatic Sedge-land. Victorian Status: Vulnerable

Around the natural spring, there was some remnant vegetation persisting amongst the huge weed load. During weed eradication works, sensitive techniques were used around ferns and wet zones. The rest of the area was so badly damaged that it was necessary to completely regevetate it. Mulch and thousands of plants were installed to stabilize the soil and outcompete weeds.

Revegetation has been completed. Notice the improvement in water quality.

Extensive specialized earthworks were required to stabilize the erosion gully. Tons of rock and hollow logs were used to turn the gully into a natural looking waterfall, complete with cascades and frog ponds.

Various sizes of rock, each carefully placed, plus the addition of plants has repaired the eroded gully.

The existing, poorly constructed dam was reshaped to form a more natural wetland, including islands and bays. Logs were installed to assist fish breeding and provide birds with nesting and perching opportunities.

Revegetation has begun around the gully and reshaped dam. Logs have been added for habitat value.

The natural vegetation was completely destroyed in the upper and middle slopes, and revegetation was the only option. Mulch was spread over the entire site and some 15,000 indigenous plants were installed over several years. Guards were also required to protect the newly installed plants from rabbit attack.

The indigenous plants have established a thick layer, thus preventing weed reinvasion and soil erosion.

An intensive weed maintenance program was implemented throughout all the mulched zones, to enable the indigenous plants to establish successfully. The combination of these activities has halted soil erosion, and brought about a dramatic increase in both abundance and diversity of native flora and fauna.

Future Aims:

Weed maintenance will need to continue for several more years until the indigenous plants mature. The rabbit problem has largely abated, now that the weeds protecting their burrows were removed. Several rabbit warrens on neighbouring properties have also been destroyed. The owners hope that their efforts will inspire other people to rehabilitate their land.

Status:

The diversity of wildlife now inhabiting the property has quadrupled since it was revegetated. Near the spring, a small pocket of remnant ferns has grown to an area roughly 10 times its original size in just 4 years of drought conditions. The earthworks and revegetation activities have halted soil erosion, and improved the dam’s water quality significantly. Fish, yabbies, and frogs are now abundant in this waterbody.

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)
Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla)
Blue-billed Duck (Oxyura australis)
Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae)
Great Egret (Ardea alba)
Hardhead (Aythya australis)
Latham's Snipe (Gallinago hardwickii)
Lewin's Rail (Rallus pectoralis)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Painted Snipe (Rostratula benghalensis)

Statistics

Location:

Red Hill, Victoria

Project Began:

2003

Acreage:

8

Issues:

Large areas cleared for grazing. Remnant vegetation invaded by weeds. Natural watercourses destroyed by hooved livestock. Heavy erosion of steep slopes.

Tasks:

Weed control. Extensive revegetation. Removal of stock and fencing. Anti-erosion earthworks. Construction of filtration dam.

Species Prior Works:

Flora 39 Fauna 24

Species After Works:

Flora 116 Fauna 99