The Strath Creek Biodiversity Project achieved much in the two years it ran, from May 2012 to July 2014. The challenge now is to consolidate those achievements and encourage others to learn from this example. To celebrate and record these achievements we’ve put together a booklet summarizing the project’s goals, methods, partners and outcomes.
Click on the image to download an 11 MB medium resolution pdf of the booklet, or click this link for the 35 MB pdf. Hard copies of the booklet can be obtained from the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network by contacting:
- 03 57974405
Steve Joblin (Project Coordinator), Kate Auty (Guest Speaker), Ian McKaskill (Upper Goulburn Landcare), Shane Monk (Taungurung), Craig Rubenstein (Strath Creek landholder), David Wakefield (President Strath Creek Landcare), Terry Hubbard (Upper Goulburn Landcare).
The Strath Creek AGM, held recently, was also the final community event and celebration of the Strath Creek Biodiversity Project. Pictured above, the gate sign for all participating landholders is proudly displayed by Craig Rubinstein, flanked by Ian McKaskill (Project Steering Committee Chair) and David Wakefield (President, Strath Creek Landcare).
The event was busy and well attended, Continue reading
Over the course of the project we have been monitoring fauna on each of the sites using bird surveys, motion-sensor camera deployments and nest box inspections, in order to obtain base-line data for future comparison. The surveys regularly turn up the expected common birds – magpies, Galahs, Crimson Rosellas, Superb Fairy-wrens, Brown Thornbills, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Grey Fantails, etc., and the cameras are full of shots of kangaroos and wombats – as well as foxes and deer! It could become all a bit ho-hum if it weren’t for the enjoyment of wandering the hills of the King Parrot catchment looking for birds, and also, just once in a while, the excitement of an unexpected rare species popping up!
In the case of birds, the surprises have come from a pair of Spotted Quail-thrush in ‘Hidden Valley’ (Site 4), and, most recently, a group of Southern Whiteface on the edge of one of the new sites added this year (see more details on Focus on Fauna). With mammals the Long-nosed Bandicoot (again in ‘Hidden Valley’) was unexpected, as was the frequency of occurrence of the threatened Brush-tailed Phascogale, which has so far been recorded on four of the project properties, including two of the new sites. A highlight early on in the project was of course the finding of an endangered Striped Legless Lizard on the Granters’ property (Site 5).
This 28 ha valley will be rehabilitated with funding from the Australian Government; one of the new project sites.
In mid-December two project staff (Steve Joblin & Bertram Lobert) toured several of the existing project sites, as well as a couple of the newly proposed project sites.
The object of the tour was to assess revegetation, direct seeding and natural regeneration progress at several of the newly fenced and planted sites and to undertake inspections of the sites recently added to the project.
One of the new project sites is part of a broader landscape-scale, private property rehabilitation project that has been running for several years. The property sits on the Yea Spur and the owner aims to rehabilitate its many hundreds of hectares of steep, cleared land over the next few decades. Funding from this project will expand the area treated on this property this year by 28 ha. Continue reading
New project sites (red stars) and existing sites (yellow stars).
At its last meeting (24.1.14), the Steering Committee approved expanding the project to include an additional six sites, totaling 89 ha! This increases the total area being rehabilitated for biodiversity conservation from 140 ha to 229 ha!
This is a significant achievement for a single project being implemented in, and by, a single Landcare group. This achievement, well in excess of the original project goal, has been enabled by:
- The extensive use of corporate volunteers; this has injected in the order of $15,000 of volunteer labour into the project to date (with more to come).
- The involvement of project partners, like 15 Trees, that have donated thousands of seedlings to the project.
- The re-use of thousands of tree guards and stakes, saving the project many thousands of dollars.
- The willingness of landholders to set aside substantial areas of steep hill-country for native vegetation rehabilitation, protection and establishment – far greater than the area initially envisaged.
- The considerable commitment made by the entire project team to the smooth and efficient management of the project and perhaps most pivotal,
- The considerable capacity the Strath Creek Landcare Group and Upper Goulburn Landcare Network have developed in recent years in delivering complex, landscape-scale biodiversity projects.
Congratulations Strath Creek Landcare!
On-site at the creek inspecting project work and discussing management options.
Last Nov. 17th Strath Creek Landcare ran a combined workshop for several local catchment-health projects: the Landcare blackberry action project, our Biodiversity Fund project and the GBCMA’s waterway fencing project. The workshop examined and discussed a variety of on-ground works that the Landcare group and landholders are currently involved with. That so much is happening in this outwardly sleepy valley is a testament to this dynamic group.
As always, a tasty lunch and drink were an essential part of the day.
In early November 2013, we undertook another survey of Hidden Valley, this time focusing heavily on plants. For this, we invited along noted botanist-ecologist Doug Frood. Doug is a first-rate field botanist who we knew would confidently pick up many species that our amateur eyes would miss.
A key reason for the survey was to establish baseline knowledge of the vegetation this area supports now, so that changes the area undergoes in the next several years can be better assessed. We have taken lots of photos and have established photo-points, but we also needed more detailed knowledge of what’s actually growing. Plant species were identified as we walked through the western section of Site 4 and an area of private property adjacent to Site 4. Detailed 20 m x 20 m quadrat surveys Continue reading
Click to download
The King site, like most in this project, is generally steep so that most revegetation is done by hand. However, the site has a flat to undulating ridge-line, perfect for direct seeding and that’s just what Janet and Justus Hagen got up to a few weekends ago. Here you can see their direct seeding machine being pulled behind their 4WD, scalping the ground where seed is then sown. Direct seeding usually occurs when soil temperatures have warmed enough for the seeds to begin germinating (in theory), though some seeds may not germinate for months or even years – waiting for just the right conditions.
In this case the direct seeding was supplementing the ground layer of native grasses and some herbs and the scattered grey box trees. You can find other site pics here and here and here.
Looking NE along the ridge-line and the nearly finished direct seeding job. New site boundary & fence-line to the left and white tree guards on the steeper slopes to the right.
Later that day, Project Officer Steve Joblin dropped into another of the project sites to check on progress. The Granter site had previously had roof-habitat tiles placed near the location of a Striped Legless Lizard (Delma impar) record (in Nov. 2012). This species is Nationally Threatened and had not been recorded in this district prior to the start of this project. These tiles had been checked on a number of occasions during the year for small skinks etc, but no more legless lizards had been found. However on this day, Steve was lucky! Though the stripes were not as clear as on a previous individuls, it was non-the-less a Delma impar and further proof that the site supports a population of these special animals.
Bougainville’s Skink (Lerista bougainvillii)
Garden Skink (Lampropholis guichenoti), a very common skink across Victoria.
Striped Legless Lizard with indistinct stripes and tell-tale yellow cheeks.
Same individual Striped Legless Lizard (Delma impar).