Macleod Morass rejuvenation project underway
Friday 10 August, 2012
Works are currently underway at the Macleod Morass State Game Reserve to reduce the extent of the pest plant, Cumbungi, within the wetland and undertake the first stage in the Overabundant Vegetation Management Program.
Macleod Morass is renowned for its waterfowl habitat and biodiversity, and is managed in accordance with the Ramsar Convention on wetlands of international significance and the JAMBA and CAMBA migratory bird agreements.
Parks Victoria works in partnership with Game Victoria who values the importance of managing State Game Reserves and works alongside peak groups to support conservation projects and habitat rehabilitation.
A vital partner in the ongoing management for the past 50 years has been the Bairnsdale Field and Game Branch who have initiated many improvements to the wetland including the installation of breeding boxes, creation of islands and planting native trees.
A report commissioned in 2010 by Bairnsdale Field and Game with funds from a Parks Victoria Healthy Parks, Healthy People grant showed the extent of dense vegetation had increased in the past decade, in particular Cumbungi, within Macleod Morass.
The report identified that the increase in vegetation cover and reduction in areas of open water was threatening the biodiversity of the habitat including threatened species such as the Green and Golden Bell Frog and Dwarf Galaxia. Additionally the report noted the threat to game fowl habitat, reducing recreational opportunities, including authorised game hunting.
This instigated a multi-agency response with Parks Victoria working in collaboration with Bairnsdale Field and Game and Game Victoria to tackle the problem as a united force, inputting $27,000 into the year 1 program.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment helped with assessing and protecting the wetland biodiversity values and contributed funding for this project through the Wetland Incentive Program, a program funded by the Victorian Government Natural Resource Investment Program for 2011-12.
Parks Victoria Ranger in Charge Mr Jeremy Tscharke said that Cumbungi (Typha) is a robust semi aquatic plant which spreads successfully by underground stem as well as seeds.
“The removal of Cumbungi follows a strict methodology and particular locations were selected so as to minimise impacts upon non-targeted species”, said Mr Tscharke. A harvesting machine like an amphibious mower has been utilised to cut the Cumbungi and wetland water levels will be managed to reduce the re-growth of the plant, he said
Ongoing observations will be conducted during spring to determine the success rate. Techniques will include the use of photo points and abundance monitoring within the treatment and adjoining control area. This work will be undertaken with assistance from conservation students at Bairnsdale’s Advance TAFE.
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Gunaikurnai people, who have supported this management initiative for Macleod Morass State Game Reserve.
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