Five thousand carefully selected native plants are growing in a local nursery to help in the restoration effort at Eagle Point Reserve.
Tom Crook, Gippsland Plains Conservation Management Network (GPCMN) Facilitator, said the 40-hectare site adjoining the silt jetties faces several threats, but the most serious are linked to human behaviour.
“Unfortunately, there has been some pretty poor behaviour for instance dumping rubbish, including really large items like fridges, which obviously shouldn’t be there,” said Tom.
“It’s not widely known, but the Reserve includes both the land inside and outside the fence and this lack of understanding has led to quite a few informal four-wheel drive tracks being created that are causing erosion in the Reserve.
“There is significant erosion on the western side of the bluff which will need to be fixed with earthworks,” Tom said.
The GPCMN is leading the project, funded by the Victorian State Government through the second round of the Gippsland Lakes Community Grants.
The project will include 500 metres of fencing, improving drainage, planting more than 5,000 native and local plants and restricting vehicle access to sensitive sites.
“We’ll also be installing interpretive signage to help educate people about the environmental and cultural significance of the site,” continued Tom.
Daniel Miller, On Country Manager for GLaWAC said GLaWAC’s NRM team is proud to be making positive changes to the landscape.
“Our actions will ensure the cultural and environmental integrity of this area is maintained,” said Daniel.
Tom explained that environmentally, Eagle Point Reserve is extremely important.
“It has a lot of big, old hollow bearing trees which provide important habitat for a range of animals such as sugar gliders.
“We know that Powerful Owls come here to feed. There aren’t many sites like this around the Gippsland Lakes, making it quite unique and important to protect.
“There are also a pair of Peregrine Falcons that call it home and breed in the Bluff itself.
“We’ve gone through the reserve and mapped the weeds. There are several high threat species including Bridle Creeper and Boxthorn.
“Rabbits are also a big problem. Part of this project is providing training to the community to use the ‘Pest Smart App’ to help us map the extent of the rabbit problem so that this can be addressed too.”
This project is being completed in partnership with the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, East Gippsland Shire Council, GPCMN, Eagle Point Landcare Group and the East Gippsland Landcare Network.
This project is funded by the Victorian State Government for the health of the Gippsland Lakes.