Deepening Connections

Deepening Connections is a 3.5 year project (2018 to December 2021) working to protect remnant biodiversity along Deep Creek and Konagaderra Creek, by undertaking weed and rabbit control across 6,700 hectares of private land south of Darraweit Guim.

These waterways provide habitat for several significant species, including Platypus, Growling Grass Frog, Southern Brown Toadlet and Swift Parrot, and the deeply incised gorges and the grassy woodlands that surround them are iconic Victorian landscapes.

The biodiversity within this landscape is impacted by weed invasion, vegetation clearing, urban expansion and pest animals, such as rabbits and foxes. Weeds and rabbits significantly reduce the capacity for native plants and animals to flourish and regenerate. Control of these threats offers the best ‘bang for buck’ in the protection of habitat for native species.

Project priorities

  • Working with local landholders undertake weed and rabbit control works
  • Strengthening landholder stewardship through regular field days and other education programs

Project partners

  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)
  • Melbourne Water
  • Macedon Ranges Shire
  • Hume City Council
  • Mitchell Shire
  • Clarkefield Landcare Group
  • Upper Maribyrnong Catchment Group
  • Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation
  • Private landholders

Landholder expressions of interest

Landholders within the project area (see map below) are invited to submit an expression of interest. The provision of funding will be prioritised based on the degree to which works undertaken will benefit biodiversity.

Landholders will receive a tailored plan for their property, targeted pest plant and animal control to protect and enhance remaining biodiversity assets, and general and specific land management advice including field days and workshops.

Project updates

2019-20

In 2019-20, connections with the target community have been significantly deepened during this second year of the project with key target outputs for weed control (1,038 hectares) and rabbit control (1,007 hectares) achieved.

The target area was varied to better align the focus to remnant biodiversity facilitated
engagement with the community. 53 new landholders were invited to participate in the project, with 19 of these expressing interest to date.

Combined with a project promotional video, landholder education events entailing one weed management field day, two training courses (chemical user and 1080 rabbit baiting) and a rabbit
management webinar, the project is well placed for progressive delivery in the next financial year.

2018-19

2018-19 was the first year for Deepening Connections and the focus was on the establishment of a project reference group and engaging an initial round of landholders.

Project activities

Webinar: Removing rabbits from your property for the long term

This ‘how-to’ interactive discussion, the PPWCMA’s Robert Hall and pest management expert Tim Bloomfield looked at:

  • Best practice rabbit management
  • How not to waste time and money
  • What to do yourself, when and how
  • When to engage a contractor and how to select one
  • What success looks like
  • How to minimise effort and maximise outcomes for the long term