Gardeners can promote native wildlife by cultivating indigenous plants and making their garden habitat-friendly, which will attract birds, mammals and insects that benefit bee populations in their locality.
Coranderrk, now known as Burrungma Biik in the Yarra Ranges, hosted a planting day to restore landscapes essential for Victoria’s critically endangered Helmeted Honeyeater and lowland Leadbeater Possum species to survive.
Yarra Ranges National Park
The Yarra Ranges National Park is one of Victoria’s iconic landscapes, boasting magnificent rainforest scenery. Home to one of Victoria’s critically endangered Helmeted Honeyeater populations and one of its only lowland populations of Leadbeater’s Possum, two emblematic species native to Victoria’s fauna ecosystems.
Yarra Ranges Council is dedicated to working closely with landcare groups, schools and community members across its municipality to plant more native plants. As part of this endeavor, its bushland team is hosting community revegetation events at different sites, such as Warburton Rail Trail, Alphington Park & Wetlands, Dights Falls, McConchie Reserve in Clifton Hill and Hall Reserve in Melbourne.
Events are an ideal opportunity to bring people together and understand how best to protect our natural environment, and its many benefits for humanity. They’re also an opportunity to spread awareness of the need to conserve Yarra Ranges National Park’s habitat and water conservation and quality issues.
An event held by Yarra4Life Committee member at Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve, Healesville provided community members an opportunity to hear from Wurundjeri representative and Yarra Ranges Landcare Network Co-ordinator Darren Wandin about Aboriginal cultural heritage in Yarra Valley residents, as well as encourage everyone in their care of Country. Mr Wandin discussed the important relationship between people living here in Yarra Valley and their Land, encouraging everyone to do their part in keeping it sustainable and protecting it for future generations.
Yarra4Life is currently overseeing the implementation of the “Protecting and Connecting EPBC Species” project funded by Port Phillip & Westernport CMA and Australian Government through the National Landcare Programme. Using scientific modelling techniques, this initiative seeks to identify priority locations for improving habitat for two threatened species in Port Phillip & Westernport through engaging private landholders to implement pest animal control measures or conduct habitat restoration works on priority locations.
Yarra4Life recently awarded eight landowners grants to enhance the quality and extent of their native vegetation, particularly areas of high habitat value for Helmeted Honeyeater and Leadbeater’s Possum. These projects will create enhanced habitat for these native animals while providing other benefits as well. These projects include fencing off existing native vegetation areas, clearing away weeds from existing patches of greenery, and decreasing pest animals’ impact on native fauna.
Yarra Valley Parklands
Yarra Valley Parklands offer beautiful Mountain Ash forests and breathtaking lookouts like Mount Donna Buang. In addition to these attractions, there are walking trails, picnic areas, canoeing spots and camping locations dotted throughout this expansive parkland – as well as 70% of Melbourne’s water supply through their reservoirs that feed into them! Not only does the parkland provide ample recreational opportunities but also serves as critical habitat for numerous threatened wildlife species like Helmeted Honeyeater and Leadbeater’s Possum species that depend on them!
Climate change is exerting increasing strain on the parkland’s flora and fauna, which are both at risk from its effects. Rising temperatures have reduced rainfall amounts which is having a devastating impact on water quality in Yarra River tributaries; additionally, increased weed populations compete with native species for sunlight and moisture resources thereby upsetting ecosystem balances within parks like this one.
As a response to these threats, Yarra Ranges National Park has initiated a program of conservation work which engages the local community. This strategy, known as the Yarra Ranges Conservation Management Strategy, aims to restore natural beauty and biodiversity values within parkland through pest plant and animal control efforts, revegetation programs, monitoring programs, as well as pest plant/animal removal.
Yarra4Life is working with private landholders in the Yarra Ranges to undertake restoration works on their properties in order to protect and connect habitat for endangered Helmeted Honeyeaters and Leadbeater’s Possums, both protected under Australian Government National Landcare Program funding, as part of the PPWCMA’s Yarra4Life program.
The Yarra4Life team recently visited Healesville’s Tibooburra property to commemorate a decade of environmental work done on it. Tibooburra is an impressive 500 hectare grazing and viticulture estate owned by the Kerr family for generations; although used commercially, they remain passionate about conserving wildlife and the landscape of Yarra Valley.
Yarra4Life staff also visited Coranderrk to present a grant to Wandoon Aboriginal Estate Corporation that will fund a Regional Indigenous Facilitator as well as activities on their historic property involving community engagement, education and capacity building initiatives from Yarra4Life.
Little Yarra River
The Yarra River is one of Victoria’s iconic waterways, flowing along lush Great Dividing Range slopes into Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay. It serves as the spiritual home for Indigenous people and supplies 70% of Melbourne’s piped water supply; supporting an array of plants and animals while offering urbanites and rural residents alike an opportunity to appreciate its natural beauty by foot, bike or canoe. Unfortunately, however, its natural flow is being compromised due to urban development, unhealthy riparian vegetation management practices and improper water use practices – with serious ramifications on biodiversity support being lost altogether.
The little yarra river rises east of Powelltown in the Yarra Ranges and flows north-west through townships of Powelltown, Three Bridges Gladysdale and Yarra Junction before meeting up with its larger cousin at Don Road at Yarra Ridge (lydeftp 2004b). Its catchment area primarily comprises forests with some agricultural land present – and has seen some historical logging activity as well.
River flow regimes depend largely on rainfall patterns and geology of yarra ranges and don catchments, with excess groundwater extraction having the potential to alter seasonal base flows of little yarra and yarra rivers, potentially resulting in environmental degradation and reduced stream-flow conditions.
Little yarra and yarra river catchments are currently experiencing low levels of stream flow, prompting water supply license holders to limit extractions to meet legal minimum requirements. As such, Melbourne Water’s consultative committee recommends working with landholders in these catchments in order to encourage them to reduce willow weeds along their stream frontage, fence streams to exclude stock from grazing them as well as revegetate accordingly.
Melbourne Water will install meters on all extracting licenses within the little yarra River and Don catchments to monitor their water use and make sure they do not exceed environmental water flows set by yarra ranges council’s EWMC. In addition, Melbourne Water is implementing winter-fill caps in both Little Yarra Sub-catchments to protect winter stream-flows while also preventing unsustainable increases in demands placed upon their system.
Darebin is one of Melbourne’s hottest suburbs, yet also features numerous large bushland reserves and creeks that serve as important wildlife habitat. Volunteers work tirelessly to maintain these important natural areas by replanting native vegetation, fencing off areas for safety purposes, and undertaking weed control measures.
Friends of Yarra Valley Parks (FYVP) collaborates with Parks Victoria rangers to engage the community in conservation activities along the Yarra River from Burke Rd in Ivanhoe upstream to Warrandyte. FYVP grows, plants and propagates seedlings for restoration projects as well as providing advice about pest control for both weeds and animals, offering advice to members of the public as an affiliate of Gardens for Wildlife program – they host regular guest speaker nights as well as plant propagation workshops!
Yarra4Life staff and volunteers worked diligently on fencing at Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve’s new Burrungma Biik Helmeted Honeyeater Habitat Restoration site to create the critical feeding and breeding habitat needed for Victoria’s iconic helmeted honeyeater to survive, as well as protecting it from feral deer and other predators.
Darebin Creek and its wetlands provide home for an impressive diversity of species. Frog species found here include the endangered Growling Grass Frog and Spotted Marsh Frog; mammals include Short-beaked Echidnas, Brush and Ring-tailed Possums and Sugar Gliders. Kangaroos and Grey Headed Flying Foxes can also be seen, in addition to Blue-tongue Lizards and Tiger Snakes; fish and crayfish can also be found.
Darebin City Council is strongly committed to Aboriginal culture and heritage and a member of Yarra Ranges Indigenous Landcare Network, an organisation with an aim of improving ecological outcomes through building capacity on private land and community partnerships that focus on local Aboriginal values. Managed by Yarra4Life and funded through Australian Government National Landcare Program.
Yarra4Life has launched the second round of Private Land Incentive Schemes which are open to eligible properties that meet Yarra Ranges Landcare Network priorities and align with its Land Management Plan. These incentives offer funding for on-ground works like weeding, fencing and planting that contribute towards protecting biodiversity in Yarra Ranges; specifically those species most susceptible to habitat fragmentation and loss. This provides an excellent opportunity to preserve local biodiversity as it will help conserve EPBC species that face habitat fragmentation or loss in our region.