We’d like to thank Mark for sending in this inspiring account of trials and tribulations of land management over nearly two decades in Beveridge..
“After building our house approximately 17 years ago we finally moved to our piece of paradise in East Beveridge hills on 21 Acres of mainly cleared land with north & east facing slopes 400m up in the winds….
We set about organizing the areas around the house & fencing off areas in the paddock, got some cattle to hopefully keep the pastures in check & help pay the rates. It seemed like it should work even though we both had “real” day jobs…..
10 years later of drought, depleting pastures (to almost looking like desert in summer), trees falling over, growing kangaroo populations, the day jobs taking all our time (including travel ling away) we realized if we wanted to live by the motto of “leave the land better than when you found it” we had to do something a lot better. We got rid of the cattle to start with.
Approximately 6 years ago we set about communicating with the council & learning their thoughts on what best to do to get the land repaired & back on track & perhaps even establish some agribusiness eventually. One step at a time & first things first.
We attended various landcare & council workshops/field days & applied for the EWG (Environmental Works Grant) to help revegetate remnant areas to provide flora & fauna pathways & shelterbelts also to connect gullies from neighbouring properties & repair the entire property.
We know it’s been proven building biodiversity helps the whole property to recover & build health again. We have planted around 2000 plants, fenced areas off revegetation to discourage kangaroos camping & encourage other flora fauna etc, repaired erosion & pastures.
After the daily mob of 100 kangaroos or so got used to things & stopped killing every plant we put in we saw some progress & noticed an increase in small lizards & birdlife numbers. Then we saw more echidnas & unfortunately wombats. We hadn’t seen jacky lizards for years especially after back Saturday & suddenly one day there was 3 of them sitting on the old fallen tree amongst our reveg area.
All of this got us interested on how we can measure the new growth in total biodiversity. We needed to benchmark from this point & monitor how things are going to see we are on the right track. After many a discussion with the council sustainability guys, other landholders & spotting the odd phascogale & sugar gliders we agreed for council to install their cameras for a couple of weeks to see what we could find. Much to everyone’s delight phascogales were photographed proving the new environment is supporting rare species & helping grow the balance needed for all to succeed.
We have monitored reveg areas growth with drone camera & are now monitoring areas with our own wildlife camera & it’s opened our eyes to exactly how much more wildlife other than wombats & kangaroos are around. We knew they were there but how many?
We have seen significant growth in both vegetation & wildlife mainly in the past 2-3 years after areas finally got established & have also seen pastures next to these areas improve as well with no application of lime or chemicals yet. We have discovered more critters are out there than we imagined & will now continue to monitor all areas of interest including installing nesting boxes (also available through EWG) for the phascogales & gliders, bats etc.
Thanks to the councils team who have been inspiring & encouraging all the way during this time.
Spring has finally sprung here in Whittlesea and surrounds! Check out these beautiful wildflowers photographed along roadsides in Kinglake West, Humevale and Whittlesea this week. Send your wildflower pics to James.email@example.com and we’ll be sure to share them with our growing blog community.
There’s something for everyone! See below link to four upcoming events in July/ August.
Sunday 30 July- National Tree Day: A great day out for the whole family to celebrate National Tree Day. Click here for more details.
Sunday 6 August- FREE Pest Animal Control Workshop: Hosted by the Friends of Toorourrong, join as at Toorourrong Reservoir Park to learn more about the impacts and management of feral animals. Click here for more information and details to register.
Tuesday 15 August- Eden Park Bushfire Mitigation Plan: A Stakeholder Engagement Workshop to help shape the Plan by building upon local knowledge, click here for more information and details on how to register your interest.
Saturday 26 August- The Annual Agribusiness Dinner. An event not to be missed, click on the below Eventbrite link to purchase your ticket or click here for the flyer.
The state government is currently running their annual Serrated Tussock compliance program. Approximately 60 properties within the municipality are a part of the program and will shortly receive notices from the regional biosecurity officer. For larger properties with significant infestations, a site inspection followed by control is required to be undertaken by mid-August. For smaller properties, particularly in the residential areas of Whittlesea-township, notices will be sent out in August reminding landowners that it’s time to do their work.
Councils Land Management Team will be assisting the regional biosecurity officer in efforts to engage landowners and to register reports received from community members. Our annual roadside management program for Serrated Tussock will also be undertaken between July and August. If you’d like to report Serrated Tussock you’ve noticed on a property or the roadside, contact Katherine Whittaker on 9217-2147 or Katherine.firstname.lastname@example.org
The Koala is an iconic species, and compared to northern Australia, the population in Southern Victoria is doing relatively well. Despite their perceived security in Victoria, there is mounting evidence that while some populations are increasing, others are in decline. Koala’s across Australia are threatened by habitat destruction, fragmentation, disease (Chlamydia), drought/climate change, mortality from vehicles and dogs and prescribed burns and wildfire. For those populations with high densities, over-browsing resulting in the defoliation of their favourite food trees is a major concern and one of the issues addressed in the Victorian Government’s Koala Management Strategy. In these circumstances, translocation of animals may be necessary. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Parks Victoria recently coordinated a translocation of 435 Koala’s from French Island to Kinglake National Park (see photos). French Island is recognised as an important source of disease free Koala’s to bolster mainland populations. The translocated animals can be identified by their coloured ear tags and may enter our municipality where suitable habitat exists.
In Whittlesea, Koala records are sparse and the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas (http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/environment-and-wildlife/biodiversity/victorian-biodiversity-atlas) contains only 13 records of this species within the municipality. Council staff recently recorded a koala via a remote-sensing camera near Toorourrong Reservoir, a significant sighting given the rarity of this species in Whittlesea. If you record this species, please contact Council’s Biodiversity Officer (Ruth Marr) on 9217 2025 or email@example.com. Detailed information including, location description, GIS co-ordinates, tree species koala recorded within and presence of ear tags would be very useful.
Want to gain industry standard training in farm chemical use?
The City of Whittlesea is subsidising the cost for rural residents to update or become accredited farm chemical users. The course and permit usually costs around $250 but is available here, for just $50.
In this two-day course join a network of local rural landowners and learn about:
Storage and handling
Modes of action
Issues associated with chemical use
Weed and pest control application
Transport and disposal
Preparation and clean up procedures
By the completion of this course you will have the required Industry Quality Assurance Programs Training, necessary when applying for the Victorian Agriculture Chemical Users Permit (an ACUP is required for users of Schedule 7 and other Restricted Use Chemical Products).
Places are limited, so make sure to register via Eventbrite today!