Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Caring for Diamond Firetail habitat: new on ground works program

Posted on 1 November, 2017 by Tanya Loos

A Diamond Firetail, photo by Geoff Park

Connecting Country has been granted funding for a new on ground works project called ‘Caring for Key Biodiversity Areas in Central Victoria’. The special bird habitats of Clydesdale and Sandon are designated as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) by BirdLife International and BirdLife Australia. The trigger species for these areas are the Diamond Firetail, Swift Parrot and Flame Robin.

The project is funded by the Victorian Government – Community and Volunteer Action Grants. In a nutshell, the project has three main components:

  1. Care and protection of native vegetation on private land, including actions such as supplementary revegetation, weed control and rabbit control. These actions will help enhance habitat for the trigger species for the Diamond Firetail, Swift Parrot and Flame Robin.
  2. Creation and installation of two attractive interpretative signs at popular parts of the Key Biodiversity areas, such as Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, and Muckleford Nature Conservation Reserve.
  3. Two community events in 2018, such as a bird walk and sign launch!

The participating landholders have been contacted, and site visits will begin in early 2018.

Earlier this year, Connecting Country held a workshop in partnership with BirdLife Australia, to recruit bird survey volunteers known as ‘KBA guardians’ and provide training in how to complete an annual ‘Easter Heath Check’ form. You can read about that workshop here.

Diamond Firetails are declining in our region. Photo by Geoff Park

We are thrilled that this workshop generated the interest and the impetus for this grant.

There is also a very keen new group, coordinated by Friends of Muckleford Forest, which involves volunteers surveying 15 sites across the Muckleford KBA. These surveys are in preparation for the 2018 Easter Health Check. To read about Friends’ project, or volunteer,  see the Friends website here. 

 

Remnant rescue for woodland birds – looking for eligible landholders

Posted on 3 August, 2017 by Tanya Loos

Connecting Country is currently seeking expressions of interest for on ground works on private land. In particular, we are looking for  landholders with remnant vegetation on their properties who are interested in undertaking actions that improve woodland bird habitat.

Thanks to our recently announced “Woodland bird community habitat protection and enhancement” project, we have a small amount of funding available for the protection and enhancement of 60 ha of remnant vegetation. Building connections between bushland areas through direct seeding  and revegetation with tubestock is very important, but at the same time we need to care for our remnants; the core habitat.  This project will fund actions that protect bird habitat from threats such as stock grazing and weeds.

This male Scarlet Robin needs extensive areas of good quality habitat to thrive. Photo by Geoff Park

Eligible landholders will receive a site visit, and a subsequent plant list and property habitat management plan.  Activities funded will mainly focus on fencing for stock exclusion and weed control within these remnants.

Eligibility for funding from this project will be determined according to the following factors:

  • Size of your remnant vegetation patch
  • Property location
  • Presence of threatened woodland birds

Having said that, all interested landholders are welcome to fill in the EOI form.  If your proposed project does not fit with the requirements for Remnant Rescue,  then we will keep you on file for future opportunities.

Click here to open the Expression Of Interest Form for Remnant Rescue
Deadline for EOIs: 24th September, 2017

Please send in the form to info@connectingcountry.org.au or post it to PO Box 437 Castlemaine 3450. If you have any questions about this funding opportunity, please do not hesitate to contact Bonnie on 5472 1594.

This project is funded with the support of the Victorian Government’s Regional Biodiversity On-Ground Action Initiative.

Our resident plant enthusiast Bonnie Humphreys in a beautiful remnant patch in Yapeen

 

Threatened woodland birds get a bodyguard

Posted on 21 June, 2017 by Connecting Country

Threatened woodland bird populations in the Mount Alexander region are being better protected through a new collaborative Connecting Country project. Over three years, $300,000 from the Victorian Government’s Biodiversity On-Ground Action initiative will help to protect, enhance and increase critical bird habitat in Box-Ironbark Forests in the Mount Alexander area. This area is important because it provides core habitat for the Victorian Temperate Woodland Bird Community, which is listed under the Flora and Fauna Guaranteed Act and an indicator of the health of the landscape.

The Diamond Firetail is one of the threatened Woodland bird species to be targeted by the project.

Krista Patterson-Majoor, Connecting Country Director – Project Manager, explains; “Over recent years, we have seen a decline among most threatened species within this bird community. We are taking a team approach with this project and collaborating with Trust for Nature, Dja Dja Wurrung, North Central Catchment Management Authority, Parks Victoria, Landmate, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), local Landcare groups and private landholders to carry out a variety of environmental works to help protect the birds.”

Works funded will include having private land owners undertake weed control and fencing to protect remnant vegetation across 60 hectares. In exchange, the owners will set aside land for conservation for at least ten years, including stock grazing removal and pest control. This funded project aligns with our Woodland Bird Action plan which aims to stabilise and then increase the populations of local species by protecting and expanding their core habitat. Landholders who are interested in finding out more are encouraged to contact Connecting Country or fill out an  Expression-Of-Interest-Form-July-2017-Connecting-Country.

DELWP Program Manager, Biodiversity, Jill Fleming, said: “This community-led group has been working for more than 10 years to protect threatened woodland birds in the Mount Alexander region and it’s great to see them receive this funding that will help them, and all the partners, to continue this important work.” DELWP’s involvement will help to broaden the scope of the project and ensure works carried out on private land will be complemented by similar activities on 80 hectares of surrounding public land that has been strategically aligned with private landholders and woodland bird priority zones. “By controlling the weeds and removing stock grazing, we discourage non-native birds, who may displace the native ones, from using the same habitat,” Ms Fleming said.

Twenty-six large scale, multi-partner regional partnership projects totalling $7.7 million have been funded through the Regional Biodiversity On-Ground Action initiative to address major risks to threatened species and ecosystems across the state. These projects will be delivered through regional partnerships between agencies, organisations, community, landholders and traditional owners. The list of projects is available at: www.environment.vic.gov.au/biodiversity/biodiversity-on-groundaction 

Box Ironbark East Biodiversity Hub Steering Group Members (from left) – Chris Timewell (CC), Jill Fleming (DELWP), Matt Menhennet (Landmate), Tanya Loos (CC), Steve Comte (Landmate) Deanna Marshall (TFN), Krista Patterson-Majoor (CC) Bonnie Humphreys (CC), Britt Gregory (NCCMA), Kirsten Hutchinson (TFN) and Noel Muller (PV) – at our inaugural meeting in Castlemaine. Absent are Rodney Carter (DDW), Steve Jackson (DDW) and Adrian Martins (NCCMA).