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.
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, including:
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.
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.
Roadside vegetation map - This interactive map highlights key environment roadsides when it comes to native vegetation in our municipality.
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.
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.
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.
Aussie Backyard Bird Count
The Aussie Backyard Bird Count is a national citizen science project run by BirdLife Australia.
Greater Shepparton has been a partner since 2017. Our growing urbanisation means changes for our natural environment and this can most easily be seen through the type of birds that live in our backyards.
For a week in October every year, people are able to contribute vital knowledge on how our birds are responding to changes in our environment, not just the growth in sub-divisions but also the increase in revegetation in urban areas through the One Tree Per Child Project. We need to understand how these changes are impacting what birds we see and how many there are.
This is done through the Aussie Backyard Bird Count app, easily downloaded for all devices via an app store. You don't need to be a bird expert, the app provides a number of tools that can easily help to identify birds.
The information is then collated into a report that shows how many people did counts, how many counts were done and what birds were recorded in our municipality.
The importance of paddock trees
Scattered tress influences the occurrence of woodland birds: as the total area of scattered trees increases, so too does the number of bird species. More than 25 species of birds have been recorded in paddocks with scattered trees.
Scattered trees are used as steeping stones for movement through the farm, provide refuge and shelter, as a place to feed amongst foliage, on trunks and fallen logs and the ground under these trees.
Looking after scattered trees does not have to come at the cost of farm productivity. To learn more, download the fact sheet below.