The ‘Wonthaggi’s Hidden Gem – Recreation and Ecosystems for the Future’ project is being undertaken by the South Gippsland Conservation Society (SGCS).

  • The Victorian Government provided major funding in 2019 through ‘Pick My Project’.
  • Bass Coast Landcare funded the delivery of 3,000 plants, which were propagated & supplied by Wonthaggi Seed Bank & Nursery.
  • Bass Coast Shire Council funded the installation of a barrier fence to protect the area from misuse.

The Wonthaggi Seed Bank & Nursery will continue to propagate & supply plants for this ongoing project. Thank you to local Volunteers for your care with the sites wetland plants.

Background

The 11 Ha Crown Land site, under the auspices of the Department of Environment Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), is bordered on three sides by bushland managed by Parks Victoria. SGCS has leased the land from DELWP to manage this site as a Recreation and Ecosystem for the Future.

Carney’s Rd is one of these with a Crown land parcels regulated by DELWP, now leased to the South Gippsland Conservation Society (SGCS). The WSBN has had a long ‘history’ with the SGCS and it is exciting to now see how the efforts in the past for conservation are being realised through the Pick My Project initiative.

Photo: Courtesy ‘Sentinel Times 2018’

Location

On the eastern outskirts of Wonthaggi, Carney’s Rd is the last road turning off the Bass Hwy & heads south towards the industrial estate & beyond.

History

At the time of these assessments, there were significant contributions made by community members who proposed that this & similar parcels of land, with mining tunnels below, be kept as a community asset.

The former Land Conservation Council mapped & assessed all of these areas (see map image below).

The project site is “11. Carney’s Bush – Remnant”.

Although not widely recognized or even valued, the extent of these reserves is unique to Wonthaggi and provides many opportunities for protection of bush-land, flora and fauna as well as opportunities for a connected network of walking trails across different landscapes and passive recreation connections to the coast, hinterland and township. This is a valuable site for WSBN to collect indigenous seeds from.

Why?

The Pick My Project funding guidelines were a ‘good-fit’ for the site. The open land and the remnant bushland were becoming more and more degraded as the tracks became deeper and wider. It was time to act and so the funding application process began in 2018.

A significant area of the site will be re-vegetated with indigenous vegetation; a small ephemeral wetland will be constructed that is part of the wider Powlett River catchment. A boardwalk will be built behind the wetland providing a great viewing access the wetland.

The Carney’s Rd site has a small area of a Cultural Heritage Sensitivity Overlay located in the South West corner. An initial meeting with the Bunurong Aboriginal Corporation Land Council, our Consultant and SGCS was held to discuss the project details. The approved Cultural Heritage Management Plan requires, amongst many ongoing obligations, to safeguard any Aboriginal cultural sensitivities and heritage as we undertake earthworks for the wetland in the designated activity area.

The Re-vegetation Management Plan has been completed and approved by DELWP. This involved several site visits to identify plants on site and those that were likely to have been before grazing and other land use.

Oats Environmental Consulting

The plants funded by Landcare, were originally grown for this site (3,000) some 18 months ago with the intention of planting them back then. Unfortunately, that could not occur and the plants have been cared for by WSBN volunteers since then. This year we have held Planting Days – Working Bees & these indigenous plants have found their forever home!

A baby Copperhead snake made an appearance across a Members boot whilst morning tea was underway! In this case no harm was done as the Member was wearing protective gators and sturdy boots. The ‘little chap’ was carefully retrieved and the group enjoyed an informative chat about snakes.

This is why it is important to wear study boots & other protective clothing on working bee sites.

The Re- vegetation Management Plan accounts for future planting and management which will be subject to new funding when available. The three EVC’s identified on the site are:

  • Damp Sands Herb-rich Woodland;
  • Damp Melaleuca Scrub;
  • Tall Marsh

Wetland & Boardwalk Design

Survey levels have been undertaken to identify the location for the wetland and boardwalk. A design has been prepared & additional permits are being sought currently for water management.

Surveying for the wetland & Boardwalk design.

Finding out more….

Working Bees are a terrific way to be involved with local community environmental activities. Check out our Facebook page to keep in touch & for more opportunities to be involved at this site as the project progresses.

More: Wetlands Enhancement | Rifle Range | Walking Wonthaggi’s Wetlands | History