Survey Site 8

The Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis) is one of Victoria’s rarest frog.

History:

Like most properties in Flinders, this one was cleared almost completely many years ago for cattle grazing. This led to soil compaction and massive erosion in the gully and creekline. As a direct consequence, water quality dropped dramatically, leading to further vegetation decline. A large dam was constructed across the creek, albeit blocking its flow for most of the year. Water quality was poor here also.

Action:

EVC 308: Aquatic Sedgeland. Victorian Status: Vulnerable
EVC 653: Aquatic Herbland. Victorian Status: Endangered
EVC 175: Grassy Woodland. Victorian Status: Endangered
EVC 161: Coastal Headland Scrub. Victorian Status: Depleted

The owners elected to cease grazing livestock on the property, as rehabilitation would be greatly hampered by their presence. Furthermore, hundreds of metres of fence-line would also be required. Weeds were removed from the gully and revegetation using deep-rooted indigenous species was carried out. Earthworks were carried out on the large dam to reduce bank erosion, add islands and provide locations for plant establishment. Following construction, thousands of aquatic plants were installed around the dam to improve water quality and provide the basis for rebuilding the ecosystem.

Healthy indigenous vegetation protects the dam’s banks from erosion.

This swampy grassland provides habitat for the rare Growling Grass Frog.

Water quality has improved dramatically, following revegetation works.

Above the dam’s waterline, revegetation was also carried out around its entire perimeter. Apart from the habitat that these plants provide, they also further solidify the banks against erosion, and reduce the amount of muddy water flowing off the paddocks into the system.

A windbreak consisting of a variety of plants provides an alternative to traditional Pine Tree rows.

Along the two main driveways, and along the front fence-line, areas of pasture grass were converted to windbreaks via the installation of mulch and indigenous plants. These habitat patches were planted with species that reduce wind velocity and at the same time, attract birds.

Future Aims:

Apart from periodical checks for high-threat weeds (which have not been a problem on this particular site so far), no further works are planned.

Status:

Apart from the increase in both abundance and diversity of wildlife inhabiting this property, one species stands out. Three years after the dam was revegetated, a breeding pair of Growling Grass Frogs (Litoria raniformis) plus 3 individuals were spotted and photographed amongst a mature patch of Water Ribbons. This species is one of Victoria’s rarest frogs. Roughly a year later, several individuals were seen again. It appears that the frogs were persisting in the nearby creekline, and migrated to the dam once it was revegetated.

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)
Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae)
Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia)
Great Egret (Ardea alba)
Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis)
Hardhead (Aythya australis)
Latham's Snipe (Gallinago hardwickii)
Lewin's Rail (Rallus pectoralis)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Musk Duck (Biziura lobata)
Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus)
Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius)
Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia)
Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor)

Statistics

Location:

Flinders, Victoria

Project Began:

2004

Acreage:

5

Issues:

Large areas cleared by grazing. Natural waterbodies destroyed by hooved livestock. Severe erosion in gully and creekline.

Tasks:

Broad scale revegetation. Removal of stock. Erosion stabilization earthworks.

Species Prior Works:

Flora 23 Fauna 23

Species After Works:

Flora 79 Fauna 103