Information on our network’s past and present projects that contribute to the natural environment.
Wangaratta Landcare and Sustainability Inc. regularly run working bees and educational activities on the site. If you wish to participate in any activities check the calendar or contact Ian Minns 0427686357 for further information. It is preferable for participants in working bees to join WLSI for Landcare insurance cover. *See Membership details.
The area is owned by the Catholic Church and is managed by volunteers from Wangaratta Landcare and Sustainability Inc. and other partner organisations. The management objectives are primarily for conservation and education with local schools and community groups regularly engaging in environmental education activities. Galen Catholic College and Borinya Community Partnerships Wangaratta participate on a weekly basis in citizen science activities, management tasks, bush regeneration and environmental education.
The Catholic Church purchased the land in the early 1950’s for the development of a regional Boys’ Boarding School called Champagnat College. The land was farmed extensively and provided food for the school community. In the 1970s the use of the farm land by the school was scaled back, and eventually it was leased to TAFE for a Rural Studies Campus. Years later TAFE relocated to South Wangaratta and now parcels of the original block are leased out to various organisations. Borinya Community Partnerships Wangaratta is central to this redevelopment. The flood plain area is now Mullinmur Billabong Demonstration Wetlands.
The health of the area has been improved through active weed management, bush revegetation, removal of European carp and the re-introduction of freshwater native fish including Catfish and Southern Pygmy Perch. The wetland vegetation of Mullinmur Billabong is dominated by River Red Gums, Silver Wattle, Black Wattle, Sedges, Knotweed and herbs including Joyweed, Sneezeweed, and Carpetweed. A range of wetland and woodland birds can be viewed along the waterways and during the evening you may catch a glimpse of Barking Owls, Sugar Gliders, Bats and Possums emerging from the large old trees that provide hollows and food for many species. Nesting boxes supplement the need for more nesting hollows with over 90 boxes on site.
Although there are not any significant indigenous cultural sites on the property, Bpangerang use of the area would have been just as extensive as the non-indigenous farming pursuits that followed.
Up and down the Ovens / Torryong waterway are many scarred trees. The local Bpangerang mob are now starting to use the land for cultural activities.
Wildlife Corridor Project
The aim of the Wildlife Corridor Project (WCP) was to survey and prepare a report on all viable treed wildlife corridors within Wangaratta’s urban growth corridors to provide council with an important environmental overlay to ensure these key environmental assets are protected.
Summary of Findings
NW Development Corridor
- Six treed roadside corridors and 11 remnant tree patches were identified and assessed, along with eight isolated paddock trees.
- Five types of local eucalypt were present, mostly Grey Box, White Box and River Red Gum were also common and Red Box and Blakelys Red Gum were more localised.
- The ground layer was mostly weedy with patches of native grass more or less common and Silver Watte and Drooping Sheoak were uncommon.
- Many birds were recorded
- Three threatened species including Squirrel Glider, Barking Owl and Grey-heading Flying Fox were identified on or adjoining the study area. A Squirrel Glider was detected on Lindner Road and also one nearby along Three Mile Creek. A pair of Barking Owls were calling on Three Mile Creek. Seven Grey-heading Flying Fox were observed feeding on White Box blossom on Reith Road.
- Several Aboriginal scar trees were noted (to be confirmed) in roadside vegetation.
Southern Development Corridor
- Two treed roadside corridors and seven remnant tree patches were identified and assessed, along with eight isolated paddock trees.
- The most significant wildlife corridor is the creekline that forms the eastern boundary of the study area.
- Six types of local eucalypt were present, mostly Grey Box and River Red Gum whilst and Red Box, White Box, Apple Box and Blakelys Red Gum were more localised. There are also considerable planted native trees in the study area.
- The ground layer was mostly weedy with patches of native grass more or less common and Silver Watte is present along the creekline, especially where grazing is limited.
- Many birds were recorded
- The only threatened species identified were two Squirrel Gliders, observed along the creekline foraging in the River Red Gum canopy. Barking Owls are known from further downstream on One Mile Creek and Grey-heading Flying Fox were identified on between Ryan Avenue and One Mile Creek. In the authors opinion both of these species are likely to utilize remnant habitat within the development area.
- Aboriginal scar trees need to be confirmed.
Outcome to Date
I have met with RCoW staff throughout the project, culminating in handing over 2 draft reports and the relevant marked up (with pen in the field) maps for their use.
RCoW has undertaken to have the maps digitized for use on their mapping systems and for use with the reports to review development proposals in these areas. Thereby minimizing the removal of large trees.
Note – Once the maps are digitized, they and the draft reports will be available upon request.
Bush Regeneration Activity Team
The Bush Regeneration Team of WLS, are an active group that work in the public green spaces (largely along stream frontages) of Wangaratta to assist in the management, and enhancement of natural vegetation. The main focus of the team is Kaluna Park, an award winning rehabilitation site, that needs on going maintenance to prevent it becoming the weed infested wilderness that it once was. But, from time to time the group work at North Beaches, Mullinmur, Wenhams Lane or other spaces.