Victorian Volcanic Plains Conservation Management Network

Raising awareness about the value and use of native grasslands, seasonal wetlands, grassy woodlands & other ecosystems on the Victorian Volcanic Plains

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Landholder forum – ecological burning of grasslands

The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority is holding the 9th PlainsTender Landholder forum. If you are quick there may be some seats left. You need to RSVP by 30 November.

 The forum provides the opportunity for landholders to get together and share experiences, learn about what others are doing, and listen to presentations on relevant topics about the Victorian Volcanic Plain.

This forum is all about ecological burning in native grasslands on the Victorian Volcanic Plains.

WHEN:    9:30am – 2:00pm Tuesday 5 December 2017

(morning tea and lunch provided, please specify any dietary requirements)

WHERE:  Inverleigh Public Hall, 71 High Street, Inverleigh

RSVP:     To Jess Lill by Thursday 30 November on 0477 719 149  or


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Rambling about cemeteries

A few grassland tourists would have visited the Rokewood Cemetery grassland lately, as it is one of the best places to see a range of native grassland flowers. This section of the tourism market seems to be overlooked but there must be lots of people traveling around to look at grasslands given the number of activities scheduled for the spring. Just another reason to keep our grasslands and grassy woodlands well managed.

If you are a regular visitor to the Rokewood Cemetery grassland, did you notice any changes? While the grassland is still fenced, the fence has recently been moved inwards, so this results in about 1000m2 extra being regularly mown, so less native flowers and less seeding, which is only okay if you are managing for weed orchid or watsonia.

There has always has been a need to balance the requirements for parking with grassland management at this cemetery. In 2013 a fence was erected with Government funding and another entrance was put into the cemetery proper to allow for overflow parking. Now it appears more parking space was required, so the fence has been moved and the usual black star stakes have also been replaced with galvanised ones. Perhaps they are less intrusive but they are an interesting choice, as the grassland is burnt every few year and fire damages galvanising.

a wide angle view of part of the changed fencing

Cemeteries on the Victorian Volcanic Plain (VVP) are a microcosms for the multiple issues we come up against every day when managing grasslands/grassy woodland remnants whether it is in a reserve or roadside. This is the third VVP cemetery I have visited this month where the native plants are being impacted by the timing, frequency, height and extent of mowing.

Is it possible to manage the seemingly conflicting requirements of cemeteries and threatened species? Neatness versus the need to go to seed, the requirement for more graves versus the need for enough space to fulfill ecological functions.

If the answer is yes then we need specific policy guidance, advice and funding to assist trustees to manage these last native remnants that in a few cases contain endangered flora, fauna and communities. Trustees (or other land managers) shouldn’t have to balance the conflicting requirements on their own, with limited resources. Perhaps similar to the CFA where vegetation management officers provided a valuable service to brigades, we need a biodiversity officer for cemeteries.

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Indigenous knowledge of ecology – update about presentations tomorrow

The SWIFFT video conference is due to commence at 9.45am as normal with our finish time of 12noon.

Our Theme is – Indigenous knowledge of ecology  – and will be hosted from the Ballarat Office – with other sites linking-in found at

Our presenters and presentation topics (though not necessarily in this order) are

  1. Denis Rose from the Gunditj Mirring presenting on  “Implementing Traditional Knowledge on Country” – looking to present from Melb – possibly Geelong
  1. Mike Gilby from the Victorian Fisheries Authority presenting on Scarred Trees – Beacons in the Landscape – Mildura
  1. Mick Bourke from DELWP – on Activity in the Murray Goldfields District of DELWP – from Bendigo
  1. And finally some updates (Ballarat)  including
    •  but yet to absolutely confirmed – an update on Fire Spirit Comes Back Project – Wiyn-murrup Yanggarramela – this was touched on in a presentation last October
    • The Biodiversity Strategy – and Traditional Owner input into the implementation

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A new VVP field guide is underway

Get ready for a new guide for the VVP, this one’s going to be about bugs and insects and it should be ready by next June.  Last week the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) hosted a community day on a property near Shelford, with the aim to collect as many insects as possible to provide photos for the new guide. If you couldn’t make the collecting day you are still able to participate.

hunting in the grass for insects and spiders

Armed with plastic containers we went for a walk along the Native Hut Creek, which is a priority Creek for the CCMA. First we hunted along the creek line which was lined with old red gums and some newer plantings, looking in the leaf litter, in the grass, under bark and on the leaves young eucalypts.

The next site was across the creek and in a grassland which was mostly poa tussocks and rocks. The aim of the day was to provide a snapshot in time of the insects that are found in just 2 locations on the VVP.  This will then be built on it over the years. There may be another collecting day in March.

Then it was back to the cottage where containers were put into categories by Dr. Paul Horne and Jessica Page from IPM Technologies Pty Ltd, who  gave us a talk about what we found. They are developing the IPM field guide for the Victorian Volcanic Plains bioregion. Some of you may have heard them talk at the VVP  conference last year.

a big collection of a range of insects at different life stages, millipedes and spiders

Now if you would like to be involved in this project you will need to begin with photos that you’ve taken of insects that you have seen on the Victorian Volcanic Plains.

Here is how to get involved

  1. Go to the BowerBird website and see what the site is all about. Everyone in a Project can add and share images, videos and sounds as well as add notes and comment on the species you find.
  2. Check out this user guide link
  3. Register to become a member. The best browsers for BowerBird are either Chrome or FireFox
  4. Join the new project – Victorian Volcanic Plains Insects.
  5. Next you need to join a few other projects. Choose ones that you have an interest in but also initially ones that have a big membership. When you add a photo if you belong to a few larger projects there is more chance that someone will be able to name the insect if you can’t.
  6. You will need photos to upload and to know where they were taken.