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
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!
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
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).
NAB Corporate Volunteers enjoying a break.
Eighteen National Australia Bank Corporate Volunteers arrived at the Hubbard shearing shed for a morning cuppa. This was the second Corporate Volunteer planting day in Hidden Valley this season. And it appears to be the Battle of the Banks; a small group of ANZ volunteers planted 230 seedlings at this site a month ago and now it was time to see what the NAB volunteers could achieve.
The plan was to take the group all the way to the top of the hill and plant some of the higher ripped areas in this project site, but the previous day’s rainfall was enough to make it too risky to drive in this hill country; one of the volunteers even bogged his own vehicle before the day even got underway. Continue reading
John Hamilton’s dozer ripping the SW facing slope.
The 6.3 ha Granter site was fenced back in Feb 2013 and now it’s being prepared for planting. John Hamilton’s dozer creates three rip-lines up to 500mm deep with each pass. These rip-lines will allow newly planted seedlings to quickly get their roots deep into the rocky ground, as well as capture and store rainfall that may otherwise have run-off (see below for additional comments). It’s a strategy that, if carried out well, has few disadvantages and can give seedlings a big advantage in their first few years. Continue reading
NAB volunteers at King’s.
Planting has begun on another of our projects sites. Susan & Joel King have a long, narrow 6.2 ha site that was fenced last November and has now had about half it’s 1000 seedlings planted. As well as seedlings, planted on the steeper slopes (image at left and below), there’ll be direct seeding on the upper slope and ridge-line a little later in the season.
All indigenous seedlings planted at this and all project sites are grown locally, from seed collected in the district. Twenty-five different species were planted during this session.
Seedlings planted included (@ 20% canopy species):
Acacia verticillata Prickly moses
A. mearnsii Black wattle
A. dealbata Silver wattle
A. genistifolia Spreading wattle
A. verniciflua Varnish wattle
A. leprosa Cinnamon wattle
A. acinacea Gold dust wattle
A. implexa Lightwood
A. paradoxa Hedge wattle Continue reading
Revegetation got under way at the ‘Hidden Valley’ site on the 26th of April, with a group of six volunteers from the ANZ bank. The ANZ volunteers, assisted by Chris Cobern (Upper Goulburn Landcare Network Fire Recovery Officer), landholders Terry and Janet Hubbard and myself, managed to plant 230 seedlings at the top of the valley – made easier as a result of John Hamilton’s precision ripping. Surprisingly, some of the rip lines had moist soil about 150mm down, despite almost non-existent rainfall. We would normally not commence planting in this country until June, but as the volunteers were available we decided to start. All seedlings were planted with a soil wetting crystal and were watered in with a litre of water per plant. Continue reading