Prior to European settlement, our landscape contained a richly diverse and complex mosaic of vegetation communities, from dry granite hills to wet riparian environments but around 80 per cent of the Greater Shepparton landscape contained a vegetation community know as plains woodland.
Early European settlers recognised the region's potential for agricultural production and since then our region has developed an international reputation for quality fruit and dairy products. Our agricultural successes have come at a cost with widespread clearing of native vegetation and changes in land management practices resulting in the degradation of our soils, waterways and seriously altered the natural landscape.
Today, our indigenous flora and fauna are largely restricted to refuge areas along roadsides and riparian bushland and less than 2.5 per cent of the pre-European settlement native vegetation remains. This vegetation is usually in a poor ecological state and under constant threat from further degradation. The native fauna dependant on this vegetation for habitat is also under significant threat. Many native species are now locally extinct from our region or are listed as endangered or vulnerable.
Our municipality’s remnant native fauna and flora have significant environmental value, from the larger expanses of native habitat along our waterways, to smaller patches on private land, and in particular, the scattered, isolated paddock trees, all of these assets are contributing to the environmental health of our municipality. Conserving and enhancing the native vegetation remaining in Greater Shepparton is vital to provide habitat links to other areas of native vegetation and for the preservation of biological and genetic diversity of our indigenous species.
Our biodiversity management objectives
The Draft – Environmental Sustainability Strategy contains the following biodiversity management objectives that can be divided into four key directions.
- Provide leadership by our actions - protect and enhance remnant native vegetation and to maximise the biodiversity values of Council owned and managed land.
- Strengthen and support key partnerships - advocate and collaborate with government agencies and key stakeholders to protect and enhance the municipality’s biodiversity assets.
- Enable our community - partner with, support and empower our community to maximise the biodiversity values of private and public land across our municipality.
- Utilising Council’s planning and regulation powers - utilise Council’s planning and regulation tools to achieve best practice land and biodiversity outcomes.
Key biodiversity management plans and projects
Greater Shepparton City Council is committed to the protection and enhancement of our native flora and fauna assets. Council is undertaking activities to achieve our objectives and demonstrate our commitment include:
Roadside Management Strategy
The Roadside Management Strategy focuses on the management of remnant vegetation located on roadsides and recognises the opportunities to protect and enhance our indigenous vegetation. It covers all rural roads within Greater Shepparton City Council that are not under direct control of VicRoads.
Our road reserves often represent one of the few remaining examples of intact ecosystems where the remnant vegetation provides many services. These include important fauna habitat corridors and connections between isolated areas of bushland. They can provide a store for important genetic flora and fauna resources and are a source of seeds. Further, they can provide protection for livestock on adjoining properties, assist in erosion control and influence water quality.
This handbook forms part of the Greater Shepparton City Council Roadside Management Strategy. It is designed for use by community members who undertake any activities on roadsides.
This handbook forms part of the Greater Shepparton City Council Roadside Management Strategy. It is designed for use by road construction and maintenance staff or contractors working directly or indirectly for Council.
This Strategic Framework seeks to provide mechanisms to assist in the protection and enhancement of remaining areas of native vegetation on Council managed land, and development of linkages between fragmented patches of remnant vegetation, particularly utilising unused road reserves where available.
Dookie Biolinks Program
The Crouching Emu Revegetation Project
The Crouching Emu Revegetation Project was a Council managed Tatura community driven project that commenced in 2006 and concluded at the end of 2012. The project was officially launched on 6 December 2006 with an ongoing commitment from Council to contribute $12,000 per year for five years.
The Project’s mission was to establish an environmental corridor containing indigenous species along Dhurringile Road, Tatura. Key components of the project were to protect and enhance the remnant native vegetation present along Dhurringile Road through extensive revegetation activities and a community engagement process to increase environmental awareness.
The Final project Report has been written to outline the Project's original objectives and explore how successful the project has been at achieving them.
National Tree Day / One Tree Per Child
In 2016, Council commenced its involvement in the “One Tree Per Child” project with the aim of planting a plant for each person aged under 18 in our municipality.
Sandhills Seed Orchard
Goulburn Broken Indigenous Seed-bank, located at the University of Melbourne’s Dookie campus, consists of local shrubs of known provenance that can be harvested in the future for seed for revegetation projects.
Native urban parks
Greater Shepparton City Council has a number of urban parks that are planted with predominantly indigenous plant species. These parks provide an opportunity to view plants that can be grown in your own garden, that require much less water and fertiliser than introduced species, and also benefit our native birds and wildlife. Various other parks are in the process of having local species planted including Victoria Park Lake and new housing developments.
Significant biodiversity assets and indigenous gardens in Greater Shepparton include:
- Brickworks Park
- Boulevard Bushland Reserve
- Cudgee Park
- Cussen Park
- Dookie Bushland Reserve
- Lake Barlett
- Victoria Park Lake
This vision for Cusson Park is the creation and maintenance of an Australian bushland-style park for people.
Cussen Park Environmental Management Plan 2016
Gardening with local native plants
Council and the Goulburn Valley Environment Group have developed a brochure ‘Gardening with Local Native Plants’ to assist residents when developing their own native gardens.
A printable brochure containing a list of local native plants for your garden.
Trust for Nature rate rebate
Council offers a rate rebate to landholders with a Trust for Nature conservation covenant.
Weeds and Pests
Weeds are a major problem in the Greater Shepparton and Council is responsible for the control of some categories of declared noxious weeds on land we manage. Weeds can be declared noxious under State and Federal Law and can be listed as noxious for the damage they cause to the environment or agriculture.
More than 360 exotic flora species have been recorded in Greater Shepparton and Council prioritises the majority of our control activities on noxious weeds that are listed as Regionally Prohibited (Serrated tussock), Regionally Controlled (blackberry, Patterson’s curse) or Weeds of National Significance (Chilean needle grass, bridal creeper). Other weeds such as olives and peppercorns are also targeted due to their locally significant impacts. Regionally Prohibited weeds such as serrated tussock are rarely sighted in our municipality.
The Victorian Government has recently amended the CaLP Act 1994 so that local government is responsible for the management of two designated categories of noxious weeds: Regionally Controlled Weeds and Regionally Prohibited Weeds on Council roadsides.
Through recent Government funding initiatives, such as Building the Capacity of Local Government to Respond to Pests and Caring for our Country, Greater Shepparton has treated approximately 700 km of roadsides for Regionally Controlled and Regionally Prohibited weeds and established pest animals. In addition, Council maintains a comprehensive weed mapping system which has data of Regionally Controlled and Regionally Prohibited weeds and established pest animals as well as a range of species the community and council together consider to have very high local significance.
Roadside Weed and Rabbit Control Plan
Roadside Weed and Rabbit Control Plan
Council has been awarded funding of $54,345 per annum for two years from the Victorian Government under the Roadside Weeds and Pests Management Program for the implementation of our Roadside Weed and Rabbit Control Plan.
The objective of the plan is to prevent the introduction of and control the spread of priority invasive plant species and rabbits across the municipality and region. The plan complements past investments made by Council enabled through State Government initiative funding.
Council’s overall roadside weed and rabbit management objective is the effective and proactive management of priority invasive species on Council managed roadsides across the municipality.
The plan will run from November 2015 to 30 June 2017.
Chilean Needle Grass
Chilean Needle Grass is a weed of great concern spreading throughout the Shepparton district. It looks very similar to our native spear grasses, but is extremely invasive and can cause serious injury to stock.
Learn more about Chilean Needle Grass on the DELWP website.
Bindii (also known as Caltrop)
Bindii, also known as Caltrop, is a declared noxious weed, and has become another major weed of concern in the City of Greater Shepparton by threatening the amenity values of recreation activities in the municipality.
Successful control of Bindii in the municipality requires a community
approach. You can learn more about how you can help to control Bindii in the brochure below.
Be aware of the problems posed by Bindii, also known as Caltrop.
Please call Council on 03 5832 9700 to report the presence of a declared noxious weed on Council managed land.
If you require advice about invasive plants or animals on your property, or want to report a State prohibited weed or high-risk invasive animal please contact the DELWP Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
Some of our key biodiversity management partners include:
- Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) supports the Victorian government's priority to boost productivity in Victoria's food and fibre sector; manage Victoria’s land and natural resources; protect the environment; and respond to fire, flood and biosecurity emergencies.
- Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (GB CMA) works to ensure that land and water resources across the Goulburn Broken Catchment are protected and enhanced as well as improving the region’s social wellbeing, environmental quality and productive capacity in a sustainable manner.
- Parks Victoria (PV) manages Victoria’s park network to protect and enhance park values to ensure parks are healthy and resilient for current and future generations.
- Goulburn Broken Local Government Biodiversity Reference Group is led by Moira Shire Council (with funding support from Caring for our Country) on behalf of all partner councils (Benalla, Campaspe, Greater Shepparton, Mansfield, Mitchell and Murrindindi), agencies (DELWP) and regional authorities (Goulburn Broken CMA, VicRoads and Goulburn Murray Water) in the Goulburn Broken Catchment.
Get involved with our active community
Contact the following environmental groups to take action to help protect your municipality’s biodiversity assets.
- Backyard Buddies is a free education program giving simple tips to make your backyard safe and inviting for native animals.
- Birdlife Murray Goulburn (Birdlife GV) is dedicated to achieving outstanding conservation results for our native birds and their habitats.
- Broken Boosey Conservation Management Network
- Broken Creek Field Naturalists Club is a trip-based club club meeting in northern Victoria every 4th Sunday of March to November.
- Cussen Park Advisory Committee is dedicated to developing and making the best use of Cussen Park’s facilities for enjoyment and education.
- Dookie Biolinks Program is a community initiative, developed by a local representative committee to protect and connect existing vegetation, creek lines and wetlands throughout the Dookie region.
- Friends of the Shepparton Botanical Gardens are a community, volunteer group who assist Council to renovate, rehabilitate and convert the old Kialla tip site into the Australian Botanic Gardens Shepparton.
- Goulburn Broken Indigenous Seedbank collects and stores native seed for use in plant propagation and direct seeding activities in the Goulburn Broken.
- Goulburn Murray Landcare Network (GMLN) is a voluntary, community run forum aiming to achieve sustainable land management within the Shepparton Irrigation Region.
- Goulburn Valley Environment Group (GVEG) is a not-for-profit community environment and conservation organisation based in the Goulburn Valley in northern Victoria.
- Lower Goulburn Conservation Management Network is a newly formed group operating in the Wyuna, Kyabram area.
- Trust for Nature works with landowners to protect nature on their private land.
- Weed Spotters assist the Victorian Government by looking out for and reporting State prohibited weeds.
- Noxious weed control classifications in the Goulbourn Broken Catchment (DELWP)
- Information on noxious and invasive plants (DELWP)
- Weeds Australia — An Australian Weeds Committee National Initiative.
- Information about pest animals (DELWP)