Restoring the natural glory of Jacksons Creek
The Jacksons Creek corridor in Sunbury is home to local populations of Platypus, Growling Grass Frog and the migratory Swift Parrot, but it is also home to a fast growing community. Urban growth and development in Sunbury – Diggers Rest are proceeding at a very rapid pace and in recent years the population has reached 35,000. Further development in this growth corridor is expected to house 71,000 people within the next 5 to 10 years.
The Restoring the Natural Glory of Jacksons Creek project is a 3.5 year project (2017-21) working to establish a substantial corridor of native vegetation along 10.5 kilometres of Jacksons Creek (between the Emu Bottom Wetlands and Salesian College) to decrease stress on remnant native vegetation as a result of urban development.
- Removing pest plants and animals
- Establishing new native vegetation to link and strengthen existing habitat and support local species
- Improving recreational opportunities for residents and visitors
- Protecting significant Indigenous sites
- Providing community education about the natural values of the creek
- Supporting local community environmental groups to manage the sites into the future
- Port Phillip & Westernport CMA (project coordinator)
- Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)
- Melbourne Water
- Western Water
- Hume City Council
- Friends of Emu Bottom Wetland Reserve
- Jacksons Creek Eco Network
- Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation
- Villawood Properties
Project work in 2020-21 focused on the maintenance of works previously completed, with 11 hectares of weed control and 2.5 hectares of rabbit control undertaken.
Project work in 2019-20 commenced with students from Salesian College Sunbury planting close to 1,000 trees and shrubs along the banks of Jacksons Creek. Contractors planted another 6,400 plants along the creek with community groups contributing another 300. The year was bookended with additional plantings totalling 3800 plants, bringing the annual total to 10,500.
Pest animal control across 8.5 hectares was directed towards minimising risks to all these plantings. Timed across the year to suit the target weeds, pest plant control totalled 39.5 hectares in new areas as well as maintenance of areas completed in earlier project years.
Wurundjeri Narrap Rangers were engaged to extend the project’s weed control efforts into a previously unmanaged area of the creek line. A significant addition to the project was the use of a rubber tracked excavator with mulcher to obliterate some of the oldest largest boxthorn ever seen along the banks of Jacksons Creek.
In 2018-19, the project undertook 24.5 hectares of revegetation, 196 hectares of weed control, 138 hectares of rabbit management and 400 metres of fencing.
Wurundjeri’s Narrap Land Management Team were engaged to manage weeds and rabbits infestations along the creek and around the important cultural heritage site, known as the Sunbury Rings. These works are hoped to contribute to maintaining a viable habitat for Platypus, observed in this section of the creek in early June.
16 community events were held in 2018-19, focused on helping re-invigorate the local community group to ensure there is a commitment to the corridor and its health in the years to come. An area of Salesian College land has also been made available for community plantings and the school community has been engaged through Duke of Edinburgh students and a parents group.
The initial three years of the Restoring the natural glory of Jacksons Creek project was supported by the Victorian Government through the Our Catchments, Our Communities initiative.
With the support of Melbourne Water, the program has been extended and will now conclude in 2020-21 after a final year of weed control and planting.