Ponds protected forever 

West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) will continue to work with Trust for Nature on the Protecting our Ponds project around Stockdale. 

Trust for Nature has recently purchased a 50-hectare property at Stockdale through its Revolving Fund program. This program buys properties that have significant conservation value and on-sells them to buyers who agree to place a legally binding conservation covenant on them, protecting them for life. This property features several ponds which in partnership with the WGCMA and other bodies will be rehabilitated over coming years.

The Chain of Ponds within the Perry River and Providence Ponds catchment are a unique waterway system, with ponds and surrounding habitats providing environments for threatened plant and animal species such as Dwarf Galaxias, Flinders Pygmy Perch, Green and Golden Bell Frog, Gaping Leek-orchid and Prostate Cone-bush. 

WGCMA has been working with Trust for Nature, HVP plantations and private landholders since 2016 to protect and rehabilitate the ponds landscape. 

WGCMA CEO, Martin Fuller says the Protecting our Ponds project is a special initiative and that he is delighted to be able to continue working with partners such as Trust for Nature to improve the site, through funding from the Victorian Government’s Our Catchments, Our Communities Program. 

“The Ponds really are unique so to be able to work with Trust for Nature as well as the many private landholders involved is exactly the way we like to work – partnerships breed success is what we have practiced over many years, and we’re excited to continue this partnership with the Trust for Nature team.” 

Regional Manager with Trust for Nature John Hick says the newly acquired property brings fresh opportunities. 

“This property is on the Providence Ponds waterway, only a short distance from its confluence with the Perry River. It’s a 50 odd hectare farm with a history of grazing up until the Trust acquired the property. 

“One of the things that excites me about the Ponds generally is how different they all are. The vegetation, the shapes of the Ponds, they are all quite different. 

“We have this idea that the Ponds, sometimes, in some landscapes, are simple little dams, but here they’re convoluted shapes, some have fallen trees in them and fallen logs, some are covered with Azolla, one of the native ferns that grows on top of water bodies. A very pretty landscape.”  

The new site sits adjacent to other properties where Ponds have been protected and rehabilitated meaning any works carried out will provide valuable connectivity through this section of the catchment. 

“Over time, our aim would be that we try and connect as much as we can of this individual site work to leave lasting legacy of improving the landscape.” 

John says that having acquired the property and taken stock off the site, vegetation is recovering and that a more detailed management plan will be developed to guide on-ground works that will maximise the improvement, working with WGCMA and engaging other groups to assist where needed. 

“We’ve already started a weed management plan. Some areas will be fenced while other areas will have redundant fencing removed as it’s a barrier to wildlife. So, there are lots of things to work on before the property is sold to a private landholder with a covenant in place to ensure works are continued to manage and improve the site.” 

More information about the Protecting our Ponds project including videos of the sites can be found at wgcma.vic.gov.au/ponds  

John Hick from Trust for Nature above.

Below a Gippslandscapes episode recorded on site with John.