Budgerum

Victoria Riverina, Vic (Barababaraba Country)

Grasslands

11.7%

Protected 

9,394m2
Land protected
34
Bird species protected
15
Threatened species protected

In the heart of the Victorian Riverina, one of the most productive areas of agriculture in Australia and only 250 kilometres north of Melbourne, lies Budgerum, a farming district of flat, grassy plains alongside the Avoca River. Grassland communities are some of the most highly threatened ecosystems on the planet, with grassland reserves being reduced to small, fragmented patches across the landscape as land has been converted to agriculture. For this reason, protection of the remaining native grasslands across the Victorian Riverina is critical to the long-term survival of species that call this community their home. Examples of species dependent on these grassy ecosystems include the critically endangered Plains Wanderer and the nationally endangered Turnip Copperburr.

Budgerum Grasslands is a 90-hectare grassland and grassy woodland sanctuary of very high biodiversity, home to many threatened plants, including Chariot Wheels (Maireana cheelii), Bristly Love-grass (Eragrostis setifolia), Long Eryngium (Eryngium paludosum), the endangered Veined Peppercress (Lepidium phlebopetalum), Umbrella Wattle (Acacia oswaldii) and the rare Bush Minuria (Minuria cunninghamii).

Legal protection via a conservation covenant with Trust for Nature is only the first step in providing safety to the grasslands and the species that rely on them, with multiple threats needing to be addressed through careful and diligent land management. A conservation focus for this project is the recovery and security of the beautiful Carpet Python (Morelia spilota metcalfei).

Threatened Species

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The Challenges

  • Ensuring rare and threatened plants maintain their health and populations are able to expand;
  • Ensuring suitable habitat is maintained for the rare Carpet Python;
  • Enhancing ecosystem function;
  • Improving genetic health of all species;
  • Maintaining ideal biomass levels of the grassland community, thus providing opportunities for species recruitment and vigorous seasonal growth;
  • Increasing structural diversity of habitat, providing better habitat for more species across the grassland and woodland communities;
  • Controlling threats to native biodiversity; namely foxes, rabbits, African Boxthorn and Stemless Thistle;
  • Preserving fragile topsoil and mitigating soil erosion;
  • Protecting ephemeral wetland species;

What we're doing

  • Native seed collection and nursery propagation for supplementary planting of rare plants;
  • Close monitoring of threatened plants, including population health and size, intervening with specific protection measures and/or supplementary plantings where required;
  • Enhancing and connecting remnant patches to enable movement of animals, especially small mammals, birds and reptiles, thus improving genetic health of currently isolated populations, especially of grassland and grassy woodland dependent species;
  • Retaining all standing and fallen trees and logs within woodland communities, preserving habitat (shelter and nesting) for an array of animals, especially the Carpet Python;
  • In partnership with local indigenous groups, undertaking burning across the grasslands to create a suitable fire regime, including fire intensity and fire intervals that improve ecosystem function;
  • Managing ground biomass within the grasslands through burning and grazing (where appropriate), thus maintaining health of herbaceous plants by enabling greater recruitment opportunities;
  • Utilising integrated pest management in the control of foxes, rabbits, and noxious weeds that threaten environmental and adjoining farming values, especially African Boxthorn and thistles.
  • Monitoring for any new and emerging weed species across the project site, eradicating in a timely manner;
  • Coordinating with partners and neighbouring landholders in the control of foxes and rabbits.
  • Restricting vehicular traffic across the land to management and assessment purposes only, thus minimising tracks and preserving a soil crust that protects the land from erosion.
This map highlights one or more zones of the total project. We create multiple zones in each project to most effectively allocate Biological Diversity Units.
This project is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

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