Photo: One of the many hundreds of Bettongs that now call this region home. Photo: Kate Grarock
The northernmost tip of the ACT hosts a woodland jewel.
This area, with its heart in the Mulligans Flat and Goorooyarroo Nature Reserves extending across the border into New South Wales, contains some of the largest, best-connected and floristically diverse Box-Gum Woodlands in Australia. It also contains the Mulligans Flat Sanctuary, a fenced area where locally extinct fauna, such as the Eastern Bettong, Bush Stone Curlew and the Eastern Quoll, are able to thrive.
For the past four years we have been working with local landholders and the ACT and Australian Governments across the 30,000 hectare Greater Goorooyarroo area.
We have built upon wonderful woodland remnants which, over time, should enable our charismatic and ecologically important animals to return home to these landscapes.
The Greater Goorooyarroo project target area primarily covers rural properties privately owned in NSW. Since commencing in 2012, over 127 landholders have signed up to be involved in the project through revegetation, remnant protection, feral animal control or targeted weed control. Without these landholders having a shared vision for the Greater Goorooyarroo area and the project, reintroduction efforts in Mulligans Flat reserve would never have a chance to return to the wild outside the fence.
Direct seeding is an efficient technique for establishing trees and shrubs in large-scale projects.
Rehabilitation and Restoration of box-gum woodlands
Over 336 hectares have been enhanced, protected or revegetated across the Greater Goorooyarroo landscape through various activities:
Our volunteers have contributed nearly 1000 hours and planted over 5000 tubestock.
Some property owners have undertaken large-scale revegetation (at least 10 ha) projects through our Whole of Paddock Rehabilitation (WOPR) approach.
Smaller properties have also been very effective in connecting the landscape and providing vital habit. The before and after photos of a property on Spring Range Road show this transformation with corridors across the property connecting up remnants over the past 15 years.
Feral animal and weed control
The project has facilitated feral animal control workshops accrediting 75 landowners, and also helped conduct three district-wide group baits covering over 8200 hectares. These feral control actions are vital for the eventual release of native fauna back into the wild.
Indigenous heritage walks
Ginninderra Catchment Group and local Aboriginal organisations are providing a series of interpretive walks focussed on the environment of the area and the values for Aboriginal people. These will include opportunities to visit scar trees, cultural artefacts and taste bush food, while hearing firsthand from Aboriginal people about their heritage and the values of this area.
How is the project supporting Mulligan’s Flat Sanctuary?
The Mulligan’s Flat Woodland Sanctuary provides a valuable opportunity to experimentally reintroduce lost species, observe effects of experimental management in the absence of feral animals and understand the effects of the reintroduction of lost ‘ecosystem engineers’ such as the Eastern Bettong.
The Greater Goorooyarroo project is working with landowners to restore and connect a resilient landscape with vegetation to provide habitat for keystone species after reintroduction. The project has also organised several twilight guided tours with the sanctuary ecologist Dr Kate Grarock. Each tour has regularly spotted Bettongs hopping about digging for truffles.
If you have a property and would like to undertake revegetation or remnant protection, please contact Greening Australia to find out about active projects in your region: Phone – 1300 886 589 and email.
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