Local habitats restored to former glory
From the lush native grounds of Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park to an old grazing paddock, the South East NRM Board’s Recovering Habitats for Threatened Species project has worked on restoring and conserving many wetland areas in the region.
Natural Resources South East Wetlands Conservation Ecologist Steve Clarke said the project worked with parks, local landholders and commercial organisations.
“Over the project we’ve managed to work on a vast number of different types of wetlands,” Mr Clarke said.
“Some starting from absolute scratch, restoring grazing areas to their former glory as wetlands.”
Local landholder Steve Harris gave part of his property to the restoration cause.
“Three years ago, Steve Clarke approached me to see if I was interested in blocking up what would have been a wetland years ago,” Mr Harris said.
“Because I’m a bit of a nature lover, I like to put things back as they were, and said no worries go ahead!
“130ha was converted back to wetlands which has allowed birds to come back to the area and breed.”
The project also included work on existing wetlands such as Piccaninnie Ponds, creating habitat for the endangered Yarra Pygmy Perch.
“Piccaninnie Ponds hosts up to 60 threatened species,” Steve Clarke said.
“This area is unique in the world, it sustains a lot of life and flows out to sea which is important as it is the conduit for a lot of fish populations.
“We’ve managed to breach a road which was holding water back. That water is now travelling through to the eastern part of the wetland, reinvigorating areas that haven’t been for 50 or 60 years.
“This has enabled us to take the Yarra Pygmy Perch and put it back into areas where it would have been many years ago.
“It is important to look after the natural environment. Having the ability to restore some of that and protect what is there is vitally important.”
This project was supported by the South East NRM Board and Natural Resources South East through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. Although this particular project is complete, the SE NRM Board has plans to continue to support local wetlands, based on community feedback provided at subregional planning workshops. For more information contact Natural Resources South East 87351177.