After the devastation of Black Summer, landcarers in Wangarabell Valley battling to save a plant native only to the Genoa River region are inspiring take up of new $50,000 Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants.
With funding from Landcare last year, Cann Valley Landcare Group/Far East Gippsland Landcare Network planned significant restorative work after fire ripped through on Jan 2020. Amongst the huge loss of flora and fauna, the Genoa River Correa, which was brought back from the brink in 2012, had been wiped out – save for one last batch of plants.
“There of course may have been others, but last year, we only know of one small batch which thankfully could be a source for cuttings, propagation and replanting,” explained Virginia Fitzclarence of Cann Valley Landcare. “There was significant regeneration in 2012 with propagation along the river banks and riparian zones but the fire burned it all up. So our hope was to regenerate Genoa River Correa and other local species with native plant restoration experts to propagate 300 correas and 700 other local species such as callistemon, kanuka and grey box.”
Virginia explained the regeneration of the Correa has proven more complex and will take longer than anticipated. “There is no evidence of regeneration of the Correa by natural means but our supporters has taken 300 cuttings of Genoa River Correa from local sources of the original batch of plants that were planted to regenerate the area a few years ago. This first batch of cuttings was not highly successful due to unexpected heat but we will have 150 plants ready to plant in spring 2021.”
Along with the regeneration of the plant, the group completed over 5 kilometres of fencing protecting the covenanted area, riparian strip and State Forest while more than 50 bird nesting boxes were constructed and installed to house animals at risk including the turquoise parrot and powerful owl.
With applications now open for the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants, offering up to $50,000 for Black Summer habitat restoration work, Virginia encourages others environment organisations to apply. “This was a massive undertaking and as non-government organisations we have been able to achieve a large amount of on-ground management outcomes with that funding. Eighteen months after the fires, there is still so much more to do out here on the fire grounds, so the funds from Landcare can go a long way to preserving our unique species and biodiversity.”
The Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants program funding is now available with up to $50,000 grants accessible for groups and organisations in regions, including East Gippsland, impacted by the Black Summer bushfires, along with $300,000 for partnership projects.
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