Responsible firewood collection helps protect native species

Swamp Wallaby.jpg

With winter arriving early this year, it’s understandable that the backyard firewood stockpile is on many people’s minds. If you are thinking about roadside firewood collection, Murrindindi Shire Council is urging you to act responsibly – both when it comes to the firewood you collect, and in maintaining social distancing requirements when you do so.

Council’s Environment Portfolio Councillor Bec Bowles said it was important to remember that a permit is required for all roadside firewood collection and it was not permitted to collect firewood at all from roadsides of high conservation status.

‘Roadsides that are of ‘high conservation status’ provide a place of refuge for many of our local flora and fauna. These areas are clearly signed and are also listed on your firewood collection permit, so it is really clear where you can and can’t collect firewood’, said Cr Bowles.

‘The Australian landscape has changed a lot since European settlement. Patches of remaining native vegetation are found dotted throughout the countryside and in many cases are linked only by roadside vegetation, which plays a vital role in ensuring landscape connectivity and healthy ecosystems.

‘Roadside vegetation provides critical habitat for native fauna moving around our Shire. Council often collaborates with the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network (UGLN) which undertakes fauna surveys of our roadsides. We’ve found that our roadside reserves are home to an incredible variety of species, including the lyrebird, swamp wallaby, agile antechinus, echidna, and the brush tailed phascogale. If you’d like to learn more about roadside conservation, you can visit our website and you can also check out the UGLN website where they have information about the ‘Ribbons of Remnant Roadside’ program, which aims to showcase our roadsides for their biodiversity and conservation significance. It’s a great project and it’s been fantastic to work in collaboration with UGLN.

‘In order to balance the needs of all our residents, including our little native critters, it’s important that everyone follows the rules. Residents must not cut down branches or trees on any roadside. If granted, a permit allows collection of fallen wood from locations that aren’t of high conservation value’, Cr Bowles added.

‘Forest Fire Management Victoria also designates a number of sites where firewood collection is allowed on Crown land within our Shire. Residents can find out where they can collect firewood here. There is a fantastic interactive map that shows specific locations and some handy information about what you can collect and how much you can collect.

‘Residents who are self-isolating, experiencing financial hardship or require assistance to meet their needs for firewood this winter can contact Council’s ‘DindiLink’ service on 5772 0333. We’re here to help and we understand this this is a difficult time for many people – the last thing we want you to worry about is keeping your home warm,’ added Cr Bowles.

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