With the first eight months of the project completed, it was time for the Steering Committee to get out into the paddock and see first hand how the project sites were progressing.
While Steve (Proj. Coordinator) and Terry & David (local volunteers and Landcare advocates), were already very familiar with the sites, having spent many hours erecting several km’s of fences and coordinating volunteers, the rest of us needed an on-site update of the project’s progress.First stop was Joblin’s 2.3 ha direct seeding site. Here we saw that, despite perhaps the driest 6-month period for decades, some of the direct seeding was already showing promise. Additional site info. here.
Second stop was the bottom end of Hidden Valley, where Pam and Wayne Watson have fenced off their creek and, in so doing, protected about 11 ha of native vegetation, that’s in addition to habitat protected on the original project sites, so all up, we’re doing much better than expected.
Directly upstream of Watson’s is Hidden Valley, the large 110 ha site (50 ha ‘controlled grazing’ and 60 ha nature conservation) on the Hubbard property that’s part of this project. Terry chauffeured us through the steep terrain, where we saw tree-fern gullies (recovering after the 2009 Black Saturday fires), significant blackberry control work along the creek, volunteer-erected fencing of surprisingly steep slopes and the so called Mystery Tree. From the ridge-top the view was quite spectacular, to the east and west, and emphasized the landscape-scale nature of this project.
The fourth stop for the morning was 7.5 ha King site. Though relatively expensive to establish, the site’s asset is it’s visibility (from the main road and Strath Creek township) and hence the opportunity it provides in spreading the word about sustainable management of steep hill country. We didn’t have time to get up to this steep site, but fencing is near complete and the site included the ridge-top and the mid and upper slopes. The photo shows the northern end of the site.
The last stop was at the Granter property, the site where the Threatened Striped Legless Lizard (Delma impar) was recently discovered. This site of 7.5 ha has been partly fenced and will allow regenerating native vegetation to expand and prosper. It includes the steep-sided head of one of the many local creeks that contribute to the catchment of the King Parrot Ck.