Grassland bordering an irrigation channel on the western fringe of Yarrawonga is being transformed into a native woodland environment thanks to a partnership with the community, government and Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW).
A 650 metre stretch of land along the Yarrawonga Main Channel, just north of the Murray Valley Hwy, has been revegetated with more than 3500 native plant species and also features a new community walking track.
“Next year we’ll start to see some growth and in five years the community will really be enjoying this spot, along with woodland birds and animals,” said Yarrawonga Urban Landcare Group Past President Jan Hall.
The project began when local Landcare members approached GMW with a vision to transform the grassy verge of the channel to create pockets of grey box, river red gum and Murray pine trees.
The approach coincided with a Commonwealth Government grants program to re-establish green corridors and urban forests across the country.
“Until the Yarrawonga Urban Landcare Group came to us the verge was just grassland slashed and maintained by Moira Shire Council,” said Recreation and Land Strategy Officer with GMW Jay Whittaker.
“The tree planting project was made possible through the Federal Government’s 20 Million Tree’s Program and complements a number of environmental works performed by GMW at Lake Mulwala.”
“The trees are locally sourced and endemic to the Murray River Red Gum Forests with the earlier stages of the project supported by the Yorta Yorta Nations Natural Resource Management Team, called ‘Wokka Wolla’, and the Landcare group.”
The Landcare group identified and sourced plants to represent the original local plant communities in the area such as Northern Plains and Box Grassy Woodland.
The channel project trees include Grey Box (Eucalyptus microphylla), Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora), Red Box (Eucalyptus polyanthemos) and White Box (Eucalyptus albens) with some River Red Gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) planted in the wet areas.
The 20 Million Tree Program is a national initiative running to 2020.
It aims to support community conservation efforts and contribute to reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
For the Yarrawonga Urban Landcare Group, it’s also about bringing natural beauty back to the town for the enjoyment of locals and tourists.
“We have about 15 members who have been with our Landcare group for the last 10 years,” Jan said.
“This is our ninth project and with all the wet weather we had last year, it has taken almost two years to complete,” she said.
“The mounds and hollows over the site were formed by the excavation of the original channel and later earthworks.
“Shrubs and grasses have been planted around the existing trees to give them supports.
“It’s all about bringing green space back into our community and we appreciated the assistance and support of GMW, which included sourcing the plants, helping us prepare the soil and bringing in mulch.”
GMW Managing Director Pat Lennon said the project was a great example of business and the community working together.
“We have an obligation to maintain our land and we do this with our operational funds,” he said.
“However in this case the grants program and the hard work of Landcare members helped us to bridge the gap and create something special for the people of Yarrawonga.”
Jan said the local Landcare members had enjoyed working on the site and encouraged anyone with an interest in joining the group to call herself on 0357 441 140 or Trish on 0357 432 090.
“Come and chat if you see us out there or walk the tracks to see our trees growing,” she said.