Fireguard group wins grant for creek clean-up project

28 July 2015

A local community group has had its environmental regeneration works boosted by $49500 in national funding.

The Holly Hill Community Fireguard Group is tackling weed infestation at the headwaters of Dobson’s Creek in Ferny Creek, and has received funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme under the Dandenong Ranges Environmental and Bushfire Reduction Grants.

Members of the group have been working with Parks Victoria for the past 19 years on weed removal and regeneration works on this area of the creek.

“The northern side was totally weed infested and covered in dead blackberry plants,” said Lyn Witt, from the group. “Once cleared, the natural regeneration and our continued weeding efforts resulted in a beautiful forest environment for an increasing population of native birds and animals.”

The funding will allow the group to tackle the larger southern side of the creek, which is densely infested with holly, cestrum, sweet pittosporum, ivy, sycamore and tree tobacco. The project will remove the weeds and allow for natural regeneration of indigenous species. This will provide improved habitat and significantly reduce the bushfire fuel load,which assists in reduction of bushfire risk for the community.

The Holly Hill Community Fireguard Group has plans to host school groups and other community groups offering to assist with the revegetation work. They are seeking more volunteers to help with the project, even if they can give only a short period of time. Anyone interested in being involved can contact Lyn Witt at lynandpeterwitt@bigpond.com.

This work is part of a $3 million, three-year program announced by Jason Wood, Federal Member for LaTrobe, and is being coordinated locally by the Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority.

‘The hard work of people such as the Holly Hill Community Fireguard Group is a wonderful contribution to the overall restoration and improvement in biodiversity for the Dandenongs. These ongoing efforts make a real difference in the restoration of habitats for native birds and animals,” Mr Wood said.

Several community groups in the Dandenong Ranges have received grants under the program for undertaking environmental clean-up and biodiversity conservation work, including $94,900 for Friends of Sassafras Creek,$76,000 for the Southern Ranges Environment Alliance and $39,000 for the Monbulk Landcare Group.

For more information on the Dandenong Ranges wildlife recovery, weed management and bushfire fuel reduction projects, please contact the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA on (03) 8781 7900.