Connecting and protecting

Landholders between Cape Paterson and Cape Liptrap are creating an environmental corridor for wildlife by improving and increasing native vegetation on their properties. The work, which  includes protecting remnant vegetation and planting new native plants and grasses, is being funded by the State Government as part of a five-year project run by West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) and the South Gippsland Landcare Network.

The Cape Liptrap to Bunurong Victorian Environmental Partnership Program is now in its third year.

According to WGCMA Land Team Leader, Shayne Haywood, clearing land for agriculture has meant the connection between native vegetation and the Cape Liptrap Coastal Park has been lost, but this is being redressed.

“The Bunurong-Cape Liptrap area has been identified as a high priority area for reconnecting that vegetation,” Mr Haywood said. “It contains the unique Cape Liptrap Coastal Park ecosystem as well as Anderson’s Inlet and the Tarwin River which is listed as an important river for the threatened Australian Grayling.

“These iconic natural assets have important environmental, social and economic values. Not only do they support endangered, rare and valuable vegetation, they also support a vibrant nature based tourism industry, which is important for the region economically.

“There is a long history of landowners and local groups working to connect patches of vegetation and this project builds on this fantastic work.”

There are 20 known threatened flora species in the project area including the Strzelecki Gum, and 57 known threatened fauna species, including the powerful owl and southern brown bandicoot. Large areas of remnant native vegetation lie along the coast, with coastal scrubs, grasslands and woodlands extending from Andersons Inlet to Cape Liptrap, and heathland east of Cape Liptrap.

Mr Haywood said funding landholders to undertake a range of actions on their properties, including managing weeds and fencing sensitive areas for stock control and native revegetation, helped maintain a healthy landscape everyone could benefit from. In the last year, he said the project resulted in:

  • 124 hectares of remnant vegetation protected
  • six hectares of re-vegetation
  • 35 landholders engaged and 18 landholder management agreements established
  • 31 hectares permanently protected through two on-title covenants

“We are seeing significant results, which benefit both landholders and our flora and fauna,” Mr Haywood said. “By managing weeds, vegetation has been improved which provides better habitat for native wildlife. When you combine this with native revegetation, weed control helps connect more areas of coastal habitat, which gives the native species the space they need to flourish.”

The Bunurong-Cape Liptrap area is not only environmentally significant – it’s also one of the highest valued agricultural production areas in Victoria.

“It’s a balance, but in our experience most agricultural producers are very aware of the natural values surrounding them and are devoted to supporting environmental activities, not only in the local area but on their own farms as well,” Mr Haywood said.

“This has certainly been demonstrated in the support from landholders for the Bunurong to Cape Liptrap environmental project.”

The Bunurong to Cape Liptrap project is being funded through the State Government’s Victorian Environmental Partnerships Program, which was established to protect, restore and manage native vegetation, habitats and threatened species through partnerships with regional government agencies and communities.