Strategic Objective 2
Create a positive change to ecosystems by building awareness of risks and encouraging participation in sustainable responses to managing those risks (e.g. adaptive management, sustainable urban development) – through education, knowledge building, advocacy, forums, communications and events.
The NRCL owns a 31 ha property at Cranbourne West. Previously operated as an advanced trees nursery until 2003, the NRCL Board has resolved to develop a blueprint for the site that includes a range of habitat restoration strategies including the incorporation of corridors or biolinks and waterway and wetland rehabilitation and establishment. Field days at the property are being planned to provide a forum to enable the latest perspectives on habitat restoration in peri-urban areas to be shared as well as planning for biolinks stretching from the Mornington Peninsula to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne.
Extensive research into the most effective strategies to create biolinks through the protection of existing habitat for a range of species commenced in 2017 at the site utilizing adaptive management techniques.
A series of annual field monitoring is conducted to determine the existing biodiversity at the site as well as to inform design and implementation of the planned works.
Work to date has included a comprehensive faunal monitoring project in 2017 on the NRCL property and surrounding area. The NRCL received a grant from the Threatened Species Initiative- Community Volunteer Action Program through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to undertake the project. The findings provide important information that will assist with site planning and design as well as supporting the need for regional biolinks as proposed in a report prepared by consultants Practical Ecology for the City of Frankston in 2010 . You can read more about the findings from the 2017 study here.
The NRCL has continued annual monitoring and research at the site since 2017 as part of its plans to develop biolinks. Local ecologist, Mal Legg has done extensive survey work including the use of motion sensing cameras at the site and established that there are significant species present including a range of migratory water birds, and the regionally significant red rumped parrots that are making use of the red gums on site. Nearly fifty species of birds have been recorded at the site which represents an island in the sea of urban development surrounding the property.
The study site is located at Cranbourne West (Casey City) and falls within the Gippsland Plains Bioregion (DNRE 1997). The NRCL owned study site is part of the biolink outlined in the Practical Ecology Report (2010) between RBGC, Langwarrin Flora & Fauna Reserve and The Pines Flora & Fauna Reserve. The most important species observed are the Buff-banded Rail, Red-kneed Dotterel, Black-fronted Dotterel and Black-winged Stilt. All three species require shallow wetlands to feed and their edges to breed.