The Victorian Volcanic Plain Linear Reserves Project continues to roll along and during the spring you may have seen contractors out again on the roadsides, spraying weeds. Burning every few years by brigades, has kept the native vegetation on many roadsides in good condition but in some cases when burning has not been carried out for a while the weeds have taken off. One of this project’s aims is to improve the quality of our remnant grasslands through careful targeting of high threat weeds on priority road and rail reserves. It builds on the ongoing strategic work done by the CFA burning program, by reducing weeds such as phalaris.
How do we know if this weed control works? Over the last 2 years Arthur Rylah Institute has closely monitored several of the grassland sites and reports in the latest ARI enews, that ‘the extent of weeds has been successfully reduced, without adversely affecting native species’. See this link for a brief report
Another aim of the project is to ensure more contractors and landholders understand the legal requirements when working on areas with native grassland and to make sure to any works planned on a linear reserve are discussed with the land manager (usually Council, VicRoads or rail authority) before starting. If you see someone out spraying a roadside check if they have the relevant approvals. You may save them a hefty fine if they don’t have the relevant approvals in place.
This is an Australian Government funded initiative, through the National Landcare Program, runs over several years and brings together Corangamite and Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authorities, the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) and a range of other stakeholders who work on linear reserves.
Some of the achievements so far are:
Federation University (CeRDI) have developed a database that will enable prioritisation of all linear reserves of the VPP and captures additional actions and information at the site scale.
Existing information on the conservation significance of linear grassland reserves in the region has been collated allowing identification of high priority grassland sites that require weed control and/or burning.
The first stage of a social survey was conducted to measure the change in attitude of land managers, landholders and community members over the period of the Linear Reserves Project.
A series of workshops were held in mid-2015 for the managers and users of linear reserves see link for the presentations
Weed control has begun using qualified contractors.
Soon some workshops will be held specifically to encourage the use of best practice methods with the aim to increase the number of contractors skilled in working in grasslands.