Upper Merri Landcare news
24th January 2023
By Chris Cobern
Upper Plenty Primary School Junior Landcare
Upper Plenty Primary School Junior Landcare Group
Upper Plenty Primary School is now officially registered as a Junior Landcare Group. For their first activity, the students recently built and installed ten nesting boxes in bushland along the nearby Dry Creek. The boxes will provide important artificial homes for native animals, including sugar gliders, ringtail possums, parrots and owlet nightjars.
Upper Plenty-Merri Catchments Landcare Group
The Upper Plenty, Beveridge, Wallan and Heathcote Junction area now has a new Landcare group: the Upper Plenty Merri Catchments Landcare Group. The new Landcare group covers the upper Merri Creek and Upper Plenty areas within Mitchell Shire.
The groups first event was a very informative Weed Management Information session on Saturday, 3rd December, about controlling gorse & blackberry on your property.
Speakers from Mitchell Shire Council, ABZECO Land Management and Upper Merri Landcare covered topics that included: identifying gorse and blackberry and the different control techniques; funding and incentives for weed control; and your responsibilities, as a landholder, to manage declared noxious weeds.
Follow the UP-MC Landcare Group Facebook page here.
Friends of Hidden Valley Bushlands
The FoHVB group provides an opportunity for residents to learn more about the significant bushland areas in Hidden Valley and the fauna and flora that these areas support. It provides an opportunity for the community to work with the Mitchell Shire Council and other agencies to protect and enhance these areas, and to advocate for their permanent protection.
The idea for the group came from discussions between the Wallan Environment Group and Hidden Valley residents who have an interest in the natural environment and the bushland of Hidden Valley.
The residents had expressed concern regarding the preservation of Hidden Valley’s bushland areas, particularly along Dolomite Rise and at the top of Lucca Way. These special areas are under threat from weeds, illegal firewood collecting and urban development. Residents were also concerned about future public access to the adjacent rail reserve.
The group’s two recent walks through the bushland areas near Lucia Way and Dolomite Rise were a good opportunity for locals to discuss the issues collectively and to enjoy and learn about these natural areas on their doorstep.
Wallan Environment Group
In 2010, the Friends of Wallan Creek changed its name to the Wallan Environment Group (WEG).
The change in the group’s name was made to reflect the group’s shift to a broader geographical focus and its growing role as an advocate for the improvement, protection, extension and linking of the local parks, reserves and public open space areas in Wallan.
The group’s overall aim is to create a more liveable Wallan, by engaging the community in restoring, enhancing and preserving the natural environment. This will result in abundant and significant networks of native flora, fauna & passive recreation areas that the community appreciates and values.
One area that has been the focus of the WEG is a 1.2km section of the former Heathcote Junction to Bendigo railway line, near Hidden Valley in Wallan. The site has been unmanaged and unused by trains for more than 50 years, but the significant natural values of the site have persisted. The area has remnants of the native vegetation that once covered much of the surrounding area but which today is limited to these small, fragmented patches.
The native vegetation however is under pressure from weed invasion especially large patches of gorse and blackberry, as well as briar rose and other woody weeds and the emerging and highly invasive South African Weed Orchid (Disa bracteata). WEG have been holding working bees to remove these weeds, and the group recently received a $19,785 Victorian Landcare Grant to engage specialist contractors to spray and remove gorse and blackberry throughout this significant reserve.
Follow the Wallan Environment Group Facebook page here.
WEG working bee, Friends of the Hidden Valley Bushlands in the field
Images: Chris Cobern