East Gippsland Habitat Regeneration

Lakes Entrance, 9820, Victoria, Australia.

 Keywords: BIODIVERSITY, LAND ECOSYSTEMS, Bushfire Recovery, Trees, Habitat Biodiversity

Links: Website

On 1 January 2020 our five (5) Rotary Clubs in East Gippsland joined forces to create the East Gippsland Rotary Fire Aid (EGRFA) Committee, with representatives from the Rotary Clubs of Orbost, Mitchell River, Bairnsdale, Bairnsdale Sunrise and Lakes Entrance.

These arrangements have seen a tireless effort by Rotary to coordinate help for those in the community who have been affected by the bushfires. While the work of Rotary has covered an enormous range of needs, this paper addresses tasks associated with work to overcome the immense loss of vegetation resulting from the bushfires.

Rotary is aware of a number of other aspects of revegetation which require help and we are working to develop strategies to provide the assistance necessary, including:
• To promote the regeneration of wildlife, in all its forms.
• To assist rural farming properties.
• To aid residential-type properties in areas affected by the fires.
• To support victims who would benefit from ‘help’ in the broad sense of the word.
• Wherever possible, to acquire the necessary resources in ways which also help the local plant nursey industry.
Rotary is interested in ‘boosting’ regeneration of areas where natural regrowth is now starting to occur. In particular, we want to encourage vegetation which will:
• Significantly assist in increasing birdlife, by targeting trees and shrubs identified as havens for birds.
• Provide food for animals – koalas are especially vulnerable during times when their food source is scarce.
• Encourage the urgent regrowth of bee populations, using vegetation recommended by Landcare .

Many rural properties have suffered losses of large trees and shrubs which normally provide shelter for livestock, from winds, rain, and sun and are normally a haven for birds and bees. Work is now underway by landowners, with the help of BlazeAid, to replace fencing in a way which will promote the growth of shelterbelt trees behind fence lines. Residential properties also provide a valuable habitat for birds and bees, as well as presenting a ‘sign of recovery’ in small communities where the impact of fires has been so severe.

There are a number of energetic and skilful organisations, such as the Lakes Entrance Garden Club, which have already assisted in propagation for locations such as Sarsfield and Buchan. Many hundreds of plants have already been donated to the community. Rotary is approaching this task in several ways:
• Shelterbelt seedlings which are mature enough to transplant have been purchased and distributed.
• Commissioned local nurseries to propagate native seedlings for planting to begin in November.
• Rotary Clubs outside the district are assisting plant purchase and propagation.
• Helping Swan Reach Primary School students who planted native seeds and are caring for them in the school hothouse.
• Providing funds to the Lake Entrance Garden Club to assist in the purchase of an additional hothouse to expand their output to provide more plants to the community.
• Investigating the demand for fruit tress for purchase and delivery to landowners.
• Fund raising Subject to acquire more plants from local nurseries, for distribution to the community .
Please contact me if you would benefit from further information.
Peter Sindrey, Rotary Club of Lakes Entrance and Acting Chair, East Gippsland Rotary Fire Aid