Protect the Best is focused on maintaining the condition of the relatively undisturbed landscape in East Gippsland. It features large tracts of continuous native vegetation communities and ecosystems of high quality, particularly rivers and streams. The majority of the area is public land, including the internationally listed UNESCO Croajingolong Biosphere Reserve, and significant areas such as the Croajingolong, Coopracambra, Errinundra, Snowy River and Alpine National Parks.
Several areas of cleared land punctuate the landscape. These areas are used mostly for agricultural production. Most are located in river valleys such as Orbost, Cann and Genoa Rivers. Isolated cleared areas in the uplands including Gelantipy and Amboyne are mostly used for grazing.
Five waterways are recognised as Victorian ‘heritage rivers’, with the Snowy and Bemm rivers being recognised in their entirety. High-value streams are a characteristic of the area, with many streams having largely unmodified catchments. A number of streams cross the Victoria–New South Wales border, with the Snowy and Genoa rivers having the majority of their catchments in New South Wales.
Although largely unmodified, the values of this area have the potential to be significantly affected by a number of new and emerging invasive plants and animals. Because of this risk, the major focus for this landscape priority area is the control of pest plants and animals. This involves working with the range of public and private land managers in the region, and in southern New South Wales.
Project Objectives: The long-term objectives of this project are to maintain the health of the forests and waterways in East Gippsland, particularly heritage and other priority rivers. Progress will be achieved by working with local communities to build their awareness and understanding of the region’s high-value forests and waterways and to engage them in monitoring for threats like invasive species. There will also be a focus on coordination and cooperation between the many land managers and organisations with an interest in the region.