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Department of Primary Industries:
Offsets Protect Native Vegetation

Remnants of threatened vegetation communities will be protected in coming months as offsets to the works being carried out along the Princes Highway by VicRoads

By Department of Primary Industries - 26th March 2003 - Back to News

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Remnants of threatened vegetation communities will be protected in coming months as offsets to the works being carried out along the Princes Highway by VicRoads.

The $9m Statewide Blackspot Safety project between Bairnsdale and Stratford involved the loss of approximately seven hectares of vegetation. Areas of Plains Grassy Woodland, dominated by Forest Red Gums, which are listed as threatened under the Flora & Fauna Guarantee Act 1992, were affected as well as areas of Lowland Forest, another vulnerable vegetation type.

A detailed survey was carried out along the road reserve last year. The location of threatened species, such as the Slender Wire Lily, was noted and disturbance minimised in these areas.

As part of the permit approval process, VicRoads staff worked closely with Department of Primary Industries staff to ensure that there was no net loss of vegetation because of the works. Offsets recommended by DPI included permanent protection of remnant vegetation on private land and revegetation on private land beside the road reserve.

Trish Fox, Native Vegetation Officer with DPI, said that on the Red Gum Plains only about nine per cent of the native vegetation is left.

"The vegetation offsets and other works ensured that damage to the important ecological communities in this area was minimised," Ms Fox said.

"Plantings alongside the road reserve will buffer important areas such as Providence Ponds Flora and Fauna Reserve."

Also as part of the permit conditions, felled hollow logs were moved off the road reserve and into other reserves in the region, including Stratford Highway Park.

Macleods Morass and Moormurng Forest Flora & Fauna Reserve will also receive logs in the future. Hollow logs are an important nesting habitat for many animal species such as echidna, and some local reserves have lost many of their logs through illegal firewood collections. The logs will be placed well within the reserves to minimise fire risk.

To compensate for the loss of hollows for tree-dwellings animals, such as sugar gliders and birds, VicRoads are erecting 70 nestboxes within the road reserve. Nestboxes will also be given to Parks Victoria and the Gippsland Plains Conservation Management Network for use in other local reserves.

Any landholders interested in covenanting remnant vegetation on their property as part of these works can contact Bruce Strong at VicRoads, PO Box 484, Bairnsdale. Tel: 5152 0372.


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