Landcare Groups across East Gippsland will share in $146,000 of funding for community projects as part of the latest round of Victorian Landcare Grants.

The funding, distributed through the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA), supports on-ground works and community projects including weed control, pest animal control, protection of habitat, revegetation, and community education.

Graeme Dear, CEO of EGCMA said “the grants will help contribute further to the significant efforts made by our Landcare members in East Gippsland.”

This year the program has funded 12 projects and 11 support grants.

Groups that will receive project funding include:

  • Bruthen & District Landcare Group
  • Eastwood Landcare Group
  • Friends of the Upper Nicholson Catchment Inc.
  • Snowy West Landcare Group
  • Tambo Bluff Landcare Coastcare
  • East Gippsland Landcare Network
  • Far East Victoria Landcare
  • Snowy River Interstate Landcare Committee

The Victorian Landcare Grants are helping to implement the Government’s long-term biodiversity plan – Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037.

Members of the Friends of Picnic Point Reserve (FOPPR) Landcare Group recently celebrated their achievements with a community gathering held at the Picnic Point Reserve.

The group started as a collection of locals concerned with the degradation of the local wetland and a shared vision to restore the natural surrounds. A plan was devised and the group started a concerted effort to restore the 10 acre site.

Picnic Point Reserve is particularly unique containing unusually diverse vegetation including rainforest, grassy woodlands, shrubland and wetland in a relatively small area.

What was initially a neglected public reserve lacking native plants, with slopes covered in ivy and blackberries and erosion problems, has been gradually transformed.

“We started as a group of friends concerned about the degradation of the area.” explained Mary Baldwin, President of the FOPPR. “We just wanted to get rid of the weeds and replant native species to make it a nice public amenity for everyone to use”.

With the assistance of a number of Victorian Landcare Grants over the years, the group has focussed on several key projects throughout the reserve. “The early days were spent removing exotic trees and weeds and developing the wetland area along Yeates Drive. This helps to filter the stormwater from West Bairnsdale that flows into the Mitchell River and out to the lakes.”

Upgraded paths ensure that the area is accessible and a boardwalk over the wetlands provides an alternate route for the public to enjoy. “The reserve is a popular spot for our community, used for picnics, parties and even weddings. The addition of some native flowering plant beds, picnic tables and a picnic shelter on the top of the hill have added to the appeal of the area.”

“The grants have opened up the possibilities of what can be achieved” explains Mary. “Landcare is more important than it’s ever been; it enables people to make a difference to the environment in their community. This is a beautiful patch of land at the doorstep to the Mitchell River and group members had a vision of restoring it to something like its original state.  We are all delighted and very proud of how it is developing. However, we would like to emphasise that it will always be a work in progress; there is a need for ongoing weeding and maintenance, new plantings in some areas plus further possible development in the future.  New members are always welcome!”

The Victorian Landcare Grants support the implementation of Protecting Victoriaʼs Environment – Biodiversity 2037, the state governmentʼs long-term plan to protect the environment.

Andrew Brown, Carolyn Cameron (EGCMA), Keith Primrose (Parks Victoria), Pete Johnstone and Maria Cardoso visited Alistair Mailer (3rd from left) at the Forge Creek Reserve to discuss works undertaken by Romawi Landcare Group.

Community projects were the focus of a bus tour last week as staff from the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (EGCMA) visited four Landcare groups with the Authority’s Community Programs Committee.  The day was an opportunity to review current projects and to meet Landcare volunteers who continue to roll up their sleeves to get things done.

The EGCMA administers the Victorian Landcare Grants, Regional Riparian Action Plan Grants and the National Landcare Programme Community Grants on behalf of the state and federal governments each year. The Community Programs Committee is made up of natural resource management agency representatives and community members who review and assess grant applications and recommend which projects should be funded.

The tour began on the East Gippsland Rail Trail at Nicholson. Meryl Wright and Michael Oxer, from the Nicholson River Landcare Group, spoke about their current project to build a new walking path from the rail trail to the river and the importance of the rail trail to the township.

In Bruthen, the long term vision for the Loop Walk project was explained by Geoff Williams from Bruthen & District Landcare Group. The Committee noted the challenges in revegetating an area as flood prone as the banks of the Tambo River.

A stop along the Mitchell River enabled Paul Harvey from the East Gippsland Landcare Network (EGLN) to inform the Committee of EGLN’s involvement with the grants process and also review the progress of recent planting by the Bairnsdale Urban Landcare Group.

Finally, Alistair Mailer from the Romawi Landcare Group discussed the need to stabilise erosion points along Forge Creek and the importance of regular water quality monitoring given the creek flows directly into the Gippsland Lakes.

“Our Landcare and community groups are actively involved in caring for the environment” noted Graeme Dear, CEO of the EGCMA. “And it’s great that both the federal and Victorian Governments are supporting community group partnerships such as these.”

The State Government has recently opened the Victorian Landcare Grants for 2018-19 with grants of up to $20,000 available. If you are a member of a Landcare or environmental volunteer group with a great idea for a project on your patch then you should consider applying. Applications close on Tuesday 12th June, for more information please visit the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority website.

The Victorian Landcare Grants support the implementation of Protecting Victoriaʼs Environment – Biodiversity 2037, the state governmentʼs long-term plan to protect the environment.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout East Gippsland and pay our respects to them, their culture and their Elders past and present.