Cudlee Creek fire-affected properties on the road to recovery

News article |

A two-year project delivered by Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu to help properties recover from the impacts of the 2019 Cudlee Creek bushfire has been a great success with many significant on-ground outcomes.

The work was done by a dedicated team who conducted over 250 property visits over the course of the project. Bushfire Recovery Team Leader Caroline Dorr said the project had helped landholders not only restore their properties, but also made these properties more resilient to future extreme events.

“The project has supported landholders to tackle significant problems arising from the impacts of bushfire,” Ms Dorr said.

“This support included control of fire-responsive weeds such as broom and gorse; control of pest rabbits, goats and foxes; restoration of damaged watercourses and dams; restoration of rare bird habitat through revegetation and guarding regenerating trees from livestock grazing; providing local, native seedlings for restoration of shelterbelts and paddock trees ; pasture renovation and the establishment of native grass nurseries through providing landholders with training, field days and contractors; bringing our community together at Reveg Festival 2022 and many more field days.”

The project is being delivered by the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board in partnership with the Department of Primary Industries and Regions. This Local Economic Recovery project is jointly funded by the South Australian and Australian Governments under the National Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

“Crucial to the project’s success was early and meaningful engagement with our fire-affected community to hear what was important to them,” Ms Dorr said.

“Our community-led approach has given landholders what they most needed, as well as making improvements on a landscape scale such as protecting watercourses across multiple properties.”

Some of the work delivered by the bushfire recovery project includes:

  • 15 km of fire proof (steel) fencing installed along creeks on private properties to improve water quality and biodiversity.
  • 500 seedlings planted and guarded to replace large paddock trees lost in the fire and to provide habitat for the rare bird, the Crested Shrike tit.
  • Over 300ha of broom and gorse controlled across 80 properties before these fire-driven weeds could set seed.
  • At least 20 dams fenced off to improve water quality, stock health and local biodiversity.
  • Through the Reveg Festival, 20,000 free native seedlings given out to landholders to replace shelterbelts, revegetate watercourses and increase biodiversity.
  • Native grass trials run to determine best practice methods for establishment and 10 native grass nurseries created on private properties.
  • Creeks with permanent pools on 28 properties fenced off to protect biodiversity and prevent siltation.
  • 1300 people attended field days, workshops, special presentations, rabbit bait and native plant giveaways.
  • Formation of the new Hills Regenerative Agriculture group, and revitalisation of two Landcare groups (New Springs and the Mid Torrens).

To help deliver this work, Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu developed partnerships with many agencies and groups along the way, including Adelaide Hills Council, District Council of Mount Barker, Forestry SA, National Parks and Wildlife SA, Trees for Life, Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal Corporation, Jurlique, Alexandrina Community Nursery, State Flora, Kersbrook Landcare Nursery, and Woodside Primary School.

“And let’s not forget our other critical partners were the landholders themselves. Without their willingness to engage with us and participate, we couldn’t have achieved what we did.

“Looking beyond the project, we’ve supported more than 60 properties to prepare a Bushfire Recovery Action Plan. These plans identify actions to help property owners maintain their recovery investments (such as revegetation and fences), prioritise future efforts according to seasonal opportunity, and be better able to recover from future fires,” Ms Dorr said.

Cudlee Creek fire-affected properties on the road to recovery
Almost three years of collaboration between partner organisations and dedicated land holders has invigorated new life in Cudlee Creek.

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