The Alpine Peaks local area within the East Gippsland Catchment Management Region comprises the upper catchments of the Mitchell, Nicholson and Tambo rivers. It is bounded to the north by the Great Dividing Range and to the south by the forested foothills. It contains a portion of the Alpine National Park, which covers over a third of this local area.
The area features two important and rare ecological communities, White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland (or Box-Gum Grassy Woodlands), and Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fens (or Alpine Peatlands).
There are only 4,480 hectares of Alpine Peatland, all found in high elevations of the Victorian Alps. The peatlands are permanently wet sites in high rainfall alpine, sub-alpine and montane areas of the state. The community is listed as endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act due to:
- its small geographic distribution coupled with demonstrable threats
- the continued decline of functionally important species
- the severe reduction in community integrity across its range.
Box-Gum Grassy Woodlands provide important habitat for a large number of plants and animals, including threatened species. These woodlands were formerly widespread however now less than 5% remains in good condition across its range and much of this occurs in small isolated patches.
Areas of land used for agriculture, largely devoid of trees, sit within the large areas of native forest and woodland. They are located primarily in river valleys and are mostly used for agricultural production. They include the Wonnangatta Valley in the Mitchell catchment, and Ensay and Swifts Creek in the Tambo Valley. For more information on the current condition and major threats to these areas visit the East Gippsland Regional Catchment Strategy. Alpine Peaks | East Gippsland Regional Catchment Strategy (rcs.vic.gov.au)
Cross Regional Victorian Alpine Peatland Protection Project
Alpine Peatlands, or Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fens, are a nationally threatened ecological system found high in the Alps at the head of Victoria’s catchments.
Peatlands act as a sponge, absorbing and holding moisture, and are a great water filtration system. They also provide habitat to several endemic and threatened species of flora and fauna, including the Alpine Tree Frog, Baw Baw Frog, and the Alpine Water Skink.
For over a decade, Parks Victoria has worked with partners, experts, and volunteers to protect peatlands through invasive species control, weed management, research and monitoring. This is part of a cross regional five year program, with June 2023 seeing the second tranche of the five year program.
The five-year Cross Regional Victorian Alpine Peatland Protection Project, delivered by Parks Victoria, across three CMA regions (North East, East Gippsland and West Gippsland), through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program has been a collaboration between partners, experts and volunteers to protect these peatlands through invasive species control, weed management, research and monitoring.
Outcomes within East Gippsland CMA’s region include:
- 13ha protected through the installation of natural deterrents and track maintenance
- 11,298ha treated for pest animals such as wild pigs and deer
- 540ha of weed control suppression