Yarra River Floodplain Rehabilitation within the Yellingbo Conservation Area
Retention of and documentation of the Hoddles Creek Education Reserve
Minimisation of the impact of bushfires and forest burns to life, property and natural ecosystems
Soundscape - listening to the bush In 2019 the Friends of Hoddles Creek received generous funding from DEWLP to purchase our own Soundscape Monitoring Equipment. We now have two automated digital recording systems with which to begin recording soundscapes in Hoddles Creek. Through this monitoring we hope to discover what actually lives in our bushland and forest, in order to better understand potential impacts of fire, human disturbance and climate change. While collecting the data is a relatively simple task, it will take us some time to master the art of analysis. But we’ve started . . .
Click here for the spectrograms and here to listen to the matching short segment from a one hour sound recording near Yellowgum Road in Hoddles Creek on Sunday 28th June around 8.00am. The distant vehicles are a good example of anthrophony. Bird calls create a range of sounds in the biophony from 1-5.5 kilohertz (kHz), including crimson rosella, lyrebird, grey fantail and other unidentified calls - and a dog barking. Click here for the Winter 2020 newsletter for more information about soundscapes.
Yarra Ranges Council: C148 Environmental Significance Overlay Changes to the YRC Environmental Significance Overlay will have lasting implications for the environment and land holders. Inconsistencies in the overlay - such as cleared areas being included, neighbouring properties being treated differently from one another, exclusion of significant vegetation simply because the property is small (even when it is completely surrounded by protected areas) while other properties have multiple zones applied within their "house block" area. The 2019 New Model has introduced inexplicable wavy boundary edges right across the ESO that will give rise to anomalies in application and generate confusion for all stakeholders. Excluded quality native vegetation (that was included in the 2016 Draft for Public Comment) will likely result in the removal of substantial amounts of quality native vegetation - for example, the entire First Aid Post Reserve, a YRC Bushland Reserve, would not be protected.
The FOHC recommended to Council that the proposed ESO mapping be reviewed by a collaborative Working Group. Group members should include representatives from YRC Planning, YRC Environment and YREAC, with GIS expertise available as required. The Group should be chaired by an external independent Ecology Expert and report back to Council complete with recommendations within three months from commencement. Note:- This recommendation is consistent with the Planning Panel’s Recommendation (October 2018)which called for further Expert Review of the ESO mapping before adoption.
The future of Haining Farm Haining Farm is a 69 Hectare site currently managed by Parks Victoria and leased as a working dairy farm. Haining Farm is located in Don Valley, at the confluence of the Yarra River and the Don River in Launching Place. The community has been invited to suggest how the site should be used in the future. Click here for consultation booklet and here for FOHC submission.
September 2017: The State Government has released a Final Concept Plan for Haining Farm following the public consultation (June/July2017). Please click here for details. The Final Plan endorses significant environmental floodplain rehabilitation and revegetation for the Leadbeater possum and Helmeted Honeyeater as was originally proposed by VEAC. FOHC look forward to exploring this area as the Plan is implemented.
Review of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 A submission which encourages the existing act to be strengthened was made to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's review of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act. Click here for FOHC submission.
Yarra River Floodplain Rehabilitation within the Yellingbo Conservation Area The Friends of Hoddles Creek have coordinated a submission to the State Government Environment Minister, endorsed by over 30 Community Groups of the Dandenongs and Yarra Ranges area, requesting a review and reversal of the decision to restrict stream side revegetation along a stretch of the Yarra River.
Sent: Friday, 17 March 2017 1:54 PM Subject: Community call for review of decision to cease Yarra River Floodplain Rehabilitation within the Yellingbo Conservation Area To:- Minister for Water – Hon Lisa Neville, Cc:- Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change - Hon Liliana (Lily) D'Ambrosio
Dear Lisa Please find attached a submission endorsed by over 30 Community Groups of the Dandenongs and Yarra Ranges area. The submission details our concerns about the recent (19th Jan) Government decision to restrict stream side revegetation to a maximum width of 10 metres from the water along the Yarra River where it runs through the largely agricultural land of the north east corner of the Yellingbo Conservation Area. The submission outlines current evidence based best practice for riparian management indicating that whilst a revegetated riparian zone and buffer of this size would be barely adequate for low order headwater streams, it is completely inadequate for high order rivers such as the Yarra River and the Little Yarra River. We understand that Melbourne Water is the caretaker of river health in this region and has a duty of care to establish and maintain riparian zones along the waterways to improve waterway health. We therefore believe that the Minister for Water is the appropriate Minister to address our concerns. We advise that there was no consultation with any of the Community Groups listed about this decision. We also understand that relevant Agencies such as Melbourne Water were not consulted. Additionally the Government appointed Committee responsible for Yellingbo Conservation Area Planning was not consulted (Yellingbo Conservation Area Co-ordinating Committee). The decision appears to be a knee jerk response to the reaction of some members of the community who are legitimately upset about DELWP’s poor engagement with them regarding the government decision to not renew their agricultural grazing licences along waterways supplying Melbourne’s drinking water. However the government decision to not renew these licenses within the Yellingbo Conservation Area was made after an extensive public consultation process led by the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council. Decisions about the health of our iconic heritage listed Yarra River Waterway should not be made in the ad hoc way in which this 19th January decision was made. We request that the decision be reviewed and the restriction withdrawn. Furthermore we request a meeting with you to discuss the details within our submission as soon as possible.
Yours sincerely Laurence Gaffney, President, Friends of Hoddles Creek Inc. On behalf of the Community Groups listed
Hoddles Creek Education Reserve The Friends of Hoddles Creek was successful in the Parks Victoria Community Group Grant program, enabling the Friends and community to assess and gather data in the reserve. Dr Graeme Lorimer of Biosphere P/L was engaged and has prepared a comprehensive report, which includes ecological values, recommendations and protocols for ongoing survey and monitoring of Hoddles Creek Education Area. Graeme is a professional ecological consultant who has experience in working with Friends and community members in flora/ fauna survey and mapping. Interactive and highly successful Field Days with Graeme were held, with locals braving the cold weather to visit different parts of the reserve and learn about flora and other values and collection of data.
Despite being a reserve likely to possess high conservation values, very little prior investigation has occurred into its natural assets;
Previous mapping of vegetation types can be greatly improved;
The only known plant list for the reserve is from a single plot (‘quadrat’) of 0·1 hectares in 1979. We quickly found numerous other species on the field day;
There are substantial numbers of rare plants, including many, widely distributed plants of the nationally rare Long Pink-bells (Tetratheca stenocarpa);
The reserve’s interesting history has left it with trees that are higher in density and much smaller in average size and age than prior to European settlement.
A visit to the seldom-visited knoll in the reserve’s southwestern corner, revealing an unexpected stand of young Mountain Ash on the reserve boundary. Small holes dug on the knoll suggest the presence of bandicoots, quite likely the nationally-listed Southern Brown Bandicoot.
Click here for the 2012 final report. Click here for the 2009 report (2.5mb) Click here for 2010-2011 project brief Value of Hoddles Creek Reserve emphasised to the VEAC Yellingbo Investigation. Click here for FOHC submission.
Forest burns The Friends of Hoddles Creek have an interest in minimising the impact of major bushfires to life and property as well as maintaining and improving the resilience of natural ecosystems and their ability to deliver services such as biodiversity, water, carbon storage and forest products. We are aware that inappropriate fire regimes are regarded as a significant threat to biodiversity in Victoria and are listed as a potentially threatening process under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988). Many of our members live close to or adjacent to areas proposed for planned burning. The burn decision-making process should be based on science and should include engaging with the community at all stages, actively seeking consultation, freely providing information and data, and incorporating community input.
Click here for Kurth Kiln Botanical Assessment, August 2013 Click here for FOHC request for Ministerial Enquiry into Planned Burn GB0004 Click here for FOHC submission, Federal Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications, Dec 2012 Click here for FOHC Submission, Draft Fire Operations Plan, 30.09.12