Biodiversity Management

The City of Greater Shepparton is located at the meeting of three major streams (Goulburn River, Broken River and Seven Creeks). Floodplain features including relatively rich soils and mostly flat or gently undulating topography dominate the majority of the municipality’s landscape.

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.

  1. Provide leadership by our actions - protect and enhance remnant native vegetation and to maximise the biodiversity values of Council owned and managed land.
  1. Strengthen and support key partnerships - advocate and collaborate with government agencies and key stakeholders to protect and enhance the municipality’s biodiversity assets.
  1. Enable our community - partner with, support and empower our community to maximise the biodiversity values of private and public land across our municipality.
  1. 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.

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.

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.

Learn more about National Tree Day and One Tree Per Child.

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. 

Learn more about the Goulburn Broken Indigenous Seed-bank.

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

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.

PDF, 374 KB

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.

PDF, 329 KB

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.

Key Partners

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.


Weed resources

Pest animals