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!
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 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
Ripping has been done with precision and care.
Managing the steep hills of Hidden Valley (Sites 3A & 3B) is being achieved with a combination of controlled grazing and revegetation. But, what is the best way to encourage woodland regeneration on steep, stony slopes, where growing conditions are tough and where access is difficult?
It took quite a few months and many conversations within the project and with machine operators, before we finally felt confident of our plan and ripping got underway in Hidden Valley. An experienced machine operator, John Hamilton from just over the range at Dairy Creek, took two days to finish the job, pulling 3 tines behind his dozer. The end result looks great and has clearly been done with precision and care. Continue reading