Establishing new reserves

New reserve management planning

Over recent decades there has been a considerable expansion of the reserve network especially targeted at state and nationally significant ecosystems and species – principally on the back of the strategic acquisition of freehold land. The reservation status of Northern Plains Grasslands is an example of a nationally significant ecosystem that has been boosted by a spate of recent purchases. Commencing in the late 1990’s with the acquisition of the grassland section of what is now Terrick Terrick National Park (a project Paul was heavily involved with), the network has expanded to over 10,000 hectares largely on the Patho Plains between Mitiamo and Echuca and on the Wanderers Plain on the lower Avoca River flood plain, west of the Kerang Lakes. This project involved the production of the management guidelines for one of the largest new reserves – Bael Bael Nature Conservation Reserve. Designed to navigate the transition from farmland into a long term conservation reserve, the guidelines aim to protect significant species like Plains-wanderers, Hooded Scaly-foot and Murray Swainson-pea. The work involved field survey to assess and describe natural values, identify immediate threats and threatening processes, identify management issues and immediate management actions including budgeting and ecological monitoring recommendations.