Landcare Shines Bright in West Gippy

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Landcare groups in the West Gippsland Catchment Management region have shone brightly in the latest round of grant funding with 15 Landcare groups receiving an injection of funds that will enable projects to connect people and restore the natural environment.   

The Victorian Government allocated the grants totaling $348,293 across the region with 15 project grants to support on-ground works, capacity building activities, community education and engagement that protects, or improves natural assets such as native vegetation, native fauna, waterways, wetlands, and soils. 

In addition, 35 Support Grants of $500 each will assist groups with costs such as administration, insurance and communications.  

“We are really excited about the breadth of projects showcased across the region for the coming year,” said Sam Shannon, West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority’s Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator.    

“After a challenging time, we are looking forward to Landcare ramping up in 2022 and these projects achieving great results for the environment. Congratulations to everyone.” 

From protecting endangered vegetation communities and creating habitat for platypus through to a citizen science dung beetle monitoring project, the projects are diverse, yet all are united by the passion, dedication and vision of the Landcare groups and their essential work. Here is a snapshot of projects funded for the region… 

Community support for extant Koala and Platypus populations to enrich the Arawata biome.  
Arawata Landcare Group aims to support threatened populations of Koala and Platypus by reversing the degradation of habitat and establishing new connected corridors. Arawata Landcare Group is an amalgam of groups including Arawata, Fairbank, Kardella, Mt Eccles, Wild Dog Valley and Leongatha North. The connected projects will allow works across a broader landscape and assist in achieving the goal of providing the right conditions for the movement and growth of Koala and Platypus populations. 

Community led Biodiversity action in the Powlett River Catchment  
Powlett Project Landcare Group has a long history of revegetation and biodiversity protection works. This passionate group has been responsible for planting over 1.5 million plants in the catchment over the past 18 years. With less than 14% of indigenous vegetation left, remnant vegetation protection and revegetation works are essential to ensure long-term viability of Powlett River Catchment and further develop biolinks. The works will reduce erosion on farmland, protect remnant vegetation, control pest plants, increase habitat and provide opportunities for engagement. Planting days will include a Cultural Heritage Awareness session with Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation.  

Regenerating the Farm; connecting soil, trees, water and people.  
Nerrena Tarwin Valley Landcare Group will revegetate one hectare of Damp Forest in the Ruby hills with fencing and planting of indigenous endemic vegetation to protect the draining lines, reduce erosion and provide habitat. The group will host a field day in to introduce the project and the benefits of a well planned and executed tree break. Group members will also attend a one-day workshop on Regenerative Agriculture to inform future Landcare works and give landholders the necessary tools necessary to take further action on their properties to increase outputs whilst maintaining environmental values.  

Connecting remnant vegetation patches in the Gippsland Coastal Plain 
Yarram Yarram Landcare Network will undertake this protect to enhance the important ecosystems that sustain the Gippsland coastal plain region of Victoria. Two private landowners will deliver targeted on-ground projects on their properties near Woodside. A total of 1.8 hectares will be revegetated using 2,200 tubestock and native seed mix planted during autumn to create new wildlife corridors. Connecting remnant patches of vegetation will improve biodiversity outcomes for the coastal plain and increase habitat for bird and fauna species, while contributing to drought resilience for this landscape.  

Protecting Streamsides, Improving Habitat and Linking Human and Non-human Plant and Animal Communities 
Yinnar South Landcare Group will work to improve streamside health, protect remnant vegetation and plant more indigenous plants at three sites in the Morwell River valley at Yinnar which are close to larger areas of native vegetation and will contribute to the establishment of the Strzelecki Alpine bio-link. Fencing out stock will protect remnant vegetation, prevent nutrient run-off, stop compaction and erosion of stream banks and keep livestock safe. The June 2021 floods damaged Two revegetation sites damaged in the June 2021 floods will be repaired and research into methods better able to withstand flooding will be investigated.  

Improve river flows, water quality and mitigate climate change effects – Latrobe Catchment Landcare Network  
Latrobe Catchment Landcare Network will work to reduce the impact of sedimentation and nitrification to the Gippsland Lakes, while enhancing the indigenous vegetation biodiversity on farms. This will ultimately improve farm efficiency and productivity. This will include funding the fencing of waterways and revegetation with appropriate indigenous vegetation to the site. This will enhance on farm biodiversity, improve productivity and water quality as well as lock up atmospheric carbon and create a more resilient micro climate mitigating human driven climate change effects. 

Expansion and protection of endangered EVCs for biodiversity, biolinks and ecological benefits  
Springsure Hill Landcare Group will provide practical and financial support to landowners to expand and protect endangered Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVC) on their properties. This will include expert advice, fencing, provision of indigenous seedlings and/or seed, volunteer labour for planting and noxious weed control in remnant endangered bush. Workshops and community engagement activities will also be undertaken to build understanding of EVCs and how revegetation can address on-farm ecological problems while enhancing biodiversity and biolinks for the future.  

Dung Down Under in Southern Gippsland – Dung Beetles to Improve Waterways and Soil Fertility 
South Gippsland Landcare Network will undertake a12-month citizen science dung beetle monitoring project to train local farmers to monitor dung beetles, in order to determine what species are currently established in the region and when they are active. It will identify the gaps in dung beetle distribution and activity and start filling those gaps by releasing dung beetles bred in South Gippsland Landcare Network and Bass Coast Landcare Network’s current dung beetle breeding nurseries onto local farms. 

Projects will be completed by 30 November 2022 

More info: https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/grants/vlg 

Media enquiries: communications@wgcma.vic.gov.au