South Australia News
WildEyre is an ambitious, landscape-scale, biodiversity conservation project on the west coast of Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.
The project commenced in late 2007 through the development of a strong partnership between non-government organisations and state agencies.
The project will create a vibrant rural community living in an ecologically-valued landscape that sustains large tracts of Sheoak Woodlands, high quality coastal ecosystems and core mallee habitat areas, all of which support the recovery of the region’s most threatened fauna and flora species.
What is WildEyre?
WildEyre features more than 300 kilometres of spectacular coastline and showcases a diverse range of natural assets: from sweeping coastlines with rugged cliffs, windswept beaches and sheltered coastal bays, to wetlands, majestic gum tree woodlands and huge expanses of mallee.
The variety of habitat in the region gives rise to a unique suite of flora and fauna species, many of which are endemic. The area is recognised as of state and national significance for biodiversity conservation being part of the State Government’s ‘NatureLinks’ Program and a priority areas for The Wilderness Society’s ‘WildCountry’ Program. It also complements existing landscape conservation programs to its east and west - namely GondwanaLink and Habitat 141. It is this landscape that the WildEyre project aims to protect for generations to come.
The project area covers over 1.2 million hectares of western Eyre Peninsula including the coastal townships of Sheringa and Elliston in the south, Streaky Bay in the north, and extending inland to the large Wilderness Protection Areas of Hincks and Hambidge. The area contains some of the largest, intact and contiguous stretches of bushland in SA’s agricultural districts. It supports numerous national, state and regionally threatened plant and animal species. The mosaic of agricultural lands combined with significant areas of native habitat make it an ideal focus for landscape-scale conservation work.
WildEyre represents a major step forward in developing and articulating a practical and carefully planned conservation vision for western Eyre Peninsula. The planning recognises that this is a landscape worth conserving – a landscape which still retains a large proportion of its unique flora and fauna species – but a landscape which could easily lose this richness if current threats are not addressed.
It is also recognised that while the WildEyre region retains a high proportion of native vegetation cover (approximately 55%), the vast majority of this is mallee vegetation on non-productive limestone or sandy soils. Native vegetation on productive soils has been extensively modified by cropping and grazing activities leaving many of the grassy ecosystems and wetland systems in poor condition and highly threatened, along with many of the associated fauna and flora species.
By adopting a landscape-scale restoration approach WildEyre maximises the chances of conserving the unique species and ecosystems of western Eyre Peninsula by holding on to the large intact tracts of native vegetation as ‘core habitat areas’, and addressing the critical threats to the vulnerable habitats within the agricultural regions.
Key features of WildEyre
Currently there is a network of 50 Bushland Condition Monitoring (BCM) sites established under the WildEyre project. Threatened flora and fauna populations will be a strong focus of the monitoring program to ensure conservation actions are effective in protecting the region’s rarest and most vulnerable plants and animals.
- Science and monitoring program – accessing and using the best scientific knowledge available through engaging experts and supporting strategic research
- Sheoak grassy woodland targeted protection and restoration program
- Private lands and conservation program - target of greater than 30% of the area of each conservation asset actively managed and protected in national parks, conservation reserves or on private lands
- Coastal weed control program - for coastal dunes/cliffs and Sheoak Woodlands
- Coastal development planning program
- Strategic revegetation, buffer and linkages program - for Sheoak Grassy Woodlands, sub-coastal wetlands, sand mallee dune tops and granite outcrops
- Sustainable stock grazing program - for grassy ecosystems (Sheoak Woodlands, Red Gum Woodlands, Native Grasslands and Mallee Box & Native Pine Woodlands)
Previous WildEyre Activity
Progress of the WildEyre project will be closely tracked to ensure activities remain focused on achieving the conservation objectives of the project. A cycle of continuous improvement and adaptive management will be applied with milestones and outcomes monitored and measured to determine whether the project accomplished what it set out to do, what did or didn’t work and what could be improved on or done differently next time.
To date, the following milestones have been reached:
- Engagement with Native Title Groups;
- 10 CAP workshops and completion of a 1st iteration Conservation Action Plan;
- 4 Community workshops;
- Organisational MOU/Partnership Agreement;
- Establishment of Baseline Site Data and Monitoring Framework;
- Large-scale Restoration Plans (Sheoak Grassy Woodlands, Dakalanta Sanctuary, Lake Newland Conservation Park); and
- Establishment of WildEyre Seedbank (200kgs).
Who is involved?
The WildEyre project is championed by a consortium of key conservation groups in the region including Greening Australia, The Wilderness Society, Department of Environment & Natural Resources, Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management Board and The Nature Conservation Society of South Australia. Representatives from these organisations form the WildEyre project team.
The diverse organisational partnerships of the WildEyre project bring together a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the project. The long term commitment to the project through existing state government and Non Government Organisations' programs ensures that even if staff come and go, the WildEyre project will remain a focus for years to come. The team is supported by a range of other individuals and organisations and has undertaken extensive engagement with local landholders and indigenous representatives (Native Title claimants).
For further information on the program or to find out how you can be involved, contact Todd Berkinshaw - State Conservation Planner on 08 8372 0100 or email [email protected]