Survey Site 7

Shallow wetlands, full of indigenous plants, provide unique habitat for wading birds.

History:

This property was completely cleared many years ago for cattle grazing, apart from one patch of Swamp Paperbark that surrounded a natural spring. Grazing pressure, increased nutrient loads and soil compaction by the cattle killed all indigenous vegetation in the creekline apart from some semi-aquatic grassy and herbaceous species. Meanwhile, woody weeds were allowed to completely invade the natural spring, to the detriment of all indigenous species. Even the young Swamp Paperbark was prevented from emerging through the thick weed cover. Furthermore, this weedy zone was harbouring several foxes.

Cow paddocks, albeit denuded of indigenous vegetation, surround the eroded creek and artificial dam.

Action:

EVC 83: Swampy Riparian Woodland.Victorian Status: Endangered
EVC 53: Swamp Scrub. Victorian Status: Endangered
EVC 937: Swamp Woodland. Victorian Status: Endangered
EVC 308: Aquatic Sedgeland. Victorian Status: Vulnerable
EVC 653: Aquatic Herbland. Victorian Status: Endangered

Firstly the owners removed the cattle permanently. Following this, a small dam was modified to create a large, shallow wetland suitable for all kinds of waterbirds. Several islands were added, and broad shallow pans were also excavated into the swampy paddocks. Thousands of aquatic plants were installed into the wetlands, as well as large hollow logs, to provide nesting sites. Weed maintenance was conducted until the indigenous plants were established.

Islands, bays and logs have been added to the dam to create habitat.

The indigenous plants quickly recolonized the swamp and provide habitat for wildlife.

Downstream of the wetland, the original creekline had disappeared amongst swampy pasture grass. The old creekline was excavated to reinstate a watercourse as close to the original as possible. Again, hollow logs, mulch and plants were installed in the thousands.

The creek has been reinstated with earthworks, mulch, logs and indigenous plants.

Under the Swamp Paperbark, the massive task of eradicating the woody weeds was completed. At regular intervals, follow-up weed control must be done to take care of new weed seedlings as they emerge. Several boardwalks and tracks have been constructed, to protect the underlying swampy soils that are highly susceptible to erosion.

Future Aims:

More wetlands are scheduled for construction and revegetation over the next few years, until all areas of the original creek are restored. These new areas will link up with the completed areas, and form an unbroken link across the entire property. Weed control under the Swamp Paperbark will continue for a number of years yet, until the soil seed bank is free of weeds, and the indigenous plants have re-colonized the area.

Status:

The wetlands were specifically designed to attract as much variety of wildlife as possible, in particular birds. Since works began, some 95 species have been recorded making use of the new habitat. This property is a testament to what can be achieved in terms of habitat creation and revegetation, as it has been almost entirely designed and constructed from scratch.

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)
Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia)
Latham's Snipe (Gallinago hardwickii)
Lewin's Rail (Rallus pectoralis)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Musk Duck (Biziura lobata)
Painted Snipe (Rostratula benghalensis)
Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia)
Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus)

Statistics

Location:

Flinders, Victoria

Project Began:

2004

Acreage:

10

Issues:

Large areas cleared for 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 33 Fauna 30

Species After Works:

Flora 70 Fauna 95