Private Land Conservation | Bushfire Recovery

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Wingecarribee Land for Wildlife and Habitat for Wildlife programs are expanding this Spring to help regenerate our bushland and native gardens for local wildlife. Sign up to either program by the 31 December 2020 to get extra help for bushfire recovery.


Now that the ash has settled and we are seeing signs of regeneration, Wingecarribee Shire Council is ramping up its private land conservation program to assist residents with their recovery effort. There are two different programs that residents can apply for help through:

Habitat for Wildlife

Residents in towns and villages who have lost their gardens to the fires can join the Habitat for Wildlife program to receive:

  • $50 native plant voucher
  • Backyard planting guide
  • Sign for front fence
  • Wingecarribee Web e-newsletter
  • Invitations to local workshops

Land for Wildlife

Residents who have bushland that was burnt by last summer's fires can join Land for Wildlife to get help from an expert ecologist to advise on the recovery process and assistance applying for $2,000 per year grants. Land for Wildlife members receive:

  • Free property visit and report from an expert ecologist
  • Plant species lists for the property
  • A suite of mapping products
  • Eligibility for $2,000/year Conservation Partners Grant (funding available for bush regeneration, weeding, fencing, pest animal control, erosion control)
  • $50 native plant voucher
  • Recovery project scoping and help with grant application
  • Sign for front fence
  • Wingecarribee Web e-newsletter
  • Invitations to local workshops

Which program is right for me?

Questions
Habitat for WildlifeLand for Wildlife
How did last summer's fires affect your property?Your garden was damaged by the bushfires.The bushfires burnt native bushland on your property.
Which program is best for you?Habitat for Wildlife is for any resident who lives in a village or town and wants to encourage wildlife in their backyard.Land for Wildlife is for residents that have larger rural properties with native bushland and a passion for the environment.
Entry requirementsA commitment to providing safe habitat for native wildlife in your backyard.At least 0.5 hectares (1.25 acres) of native bushland and a commitment to conserving habitat on your property
Link to application form:


Why wait until spring?

The regeneration process after a fire is slow and is largely dependent on the intensity of the fire and follow up rainfall. During the first 6 months after a fire the remaining plants and soil are incredibly fragile and starting the recovery process too early can sometime cause more damage than good because we have not had a chance to see the regeneration potential of the environment.

Spring is the ideal time to commence any recovery project for plants and animals, especially after a major bushfire. The regenerative process usually kickstarts in Spring when regular frosts end and we expect to see a major sprouting of the seedbank.


Wingecarribee Land for Wildlife and Habitat for Wildlife programs are expanding this Spring to help regenerate our bushland and native gardens for local wildlife. Sign up to either program by the 31 December 2020 to get extra help for bushfire recovery.


Now that the ash has settled and we are seeing signs of regeneration, Wingecarribee Shire Council is ramping up its private land conservation program to assist residents with their recovery effort. There are two different programs that residents can apply for help through:

Habitat for Wildlife

Residents in towns and villages who have lost their gardens to the fires can join the Habitat for Wildlife program to receive:

  • $50 native plant voucher
  • Backyard planting guide
  • Sign for front fence
  • Wingecarribee Web e-newsletter
  • Invitations to local workshops

Land for Wildlife

Residents who have bushland that was burnt by last summer's fires can join Land for Wildlife to get help from an expert ecologist to advise on the recovery process and assistance applying for $2,000 per year grants. Land for Wildlife members receive:

  • Free property visit and report from an expert ecologist
  • Plant species lists for the property
  • A suite of mapping products
  • Eligibility for $2,000/year Conservation Partners Grant (funding available for bush regeneration, weeding, fencing, pest animal control, erosion control)
  • $50 native plant voucher
  • Recovery project scoping and help with grant application
  • Sign for front fence
  • Wingecarribee Web e-newsletter
  • Invitations to local workshops

Which program is right for me?

Questions
Habitat for WildlifeLand for Wildlife
How did last summer's fires affect your property?Your garden was damaged by the bushfires.The bushfires burnt native bushland on your property.
Which program is best for you?Habitat for Wildlife is for any resident who lives in a village or town and wants to encourage wildlife in their backyard.Land for Wildlife is for residents that have larger rural properties with native bushland and a passion for the environment.
Entry requirementsA commitment to providing safe habitat for native wildlife in your backyard.At least 0.5 hectares (1.25 acres) of native bushland and a commitment to conserving habitat on your property
Link to application form:


Why wait until spring?

The regeneration process after a fire is slow and is largely dependent on the intensity of the fire and follow up rainfall. During the first 6 months after a fire the remaining plants and soil are incredibly fragile and starting the recovery process too early can sometime cause more damage than good because we have not had a chance to see the regeneration potential of the environment.

Spring is the ideal time to commence any recovery project for plants and animals, especially after a major bushfire. The regenerative process usually kickstarts in Spring when regular frosts end and we expect to see a major sprouting of the seedbank.


  • Watch where you step

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    06 May 2020
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    The recent fire and follow up rain have triggered a mass germination of the seed bank. These seedlings and the soil is incredibly fragile and where possible you should avoid trampling the seedlings and compacting the soil.

    Designate pathways through burnt areas

    If you are walking or driving through burnt areas regularly, you should mark out a path with flagging tape. This will reduce the amount of seedlings that get squashed and will stop you getting disorientated.

    What species is it?

    It is difficult to tell what species seedlings are; especially as juvenile features can be completely different to adult features. It's best to let these seedlings grow until we know what they are - even if you think they might be weeds.

    Fire offers a chance for us to break the seed cycle of weeds - you just have to make sure that you control them before they start to flower. Until they flower, the weeds are making a valuable contribution to soil stabilisation.

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  • Replanting is a last resort in bushland

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    06 May 2020

    You should only start a revegetation project if the ecosystem is too damaged to respond naturally. Remember, the bush is adapted to recover from fires, but it just may take a bit longer than you would have hoped.

    Bushfires usually trigger a mass germination of the soil seedbank, including seeds that have been dormant for many years. The potential for "lost" species to return in this mass germination is very exciting. These naturally regenerating plants are more suited to local environmental conditions and have a higher likelihood of survival in the long term than replanted seedlings.

    If you are not seeing any evidence of natural regeneration, then we would suggest replanting as a last resort. This may be the case if the fire that burnt your property was so intense that it destroyed the seed bank or if the bushland was in a poor condition before the fire.

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  • Regeneration Takes Time

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    06 May 2020
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    Most of the Australian bush is adapted to fire and has the capacity to regenerate, but this recovery process takes time and is largely dependent on bushfire intensity and rainfall. Although seeing a burnt landscape can be distressing, it is important to be patient and observant. You should wait for the bush to show a sign of recovery (e.g. re-sprouting leaves or germination) before initiating any recovery programs so you know what you are dealing with.

    This 'watch and wait' period allows native seedlings to establish without disturbance and start to stabilise the soil from erosion (AABR newsletter 143). This initial regeneration period can take up to several months.

    Weeds may also regenerate during this 'watch and wait' time, but they will also be contributing to protecting the soil structure with their roots. In general, as long as the weeds are not seeding, they can be doing more good than harm so leave them be for the short term. Recording what weeds are germinating and where in the burnt areas of your property, can help assist you with planning and weed control once it is appropriate to do so. To help with this, the next edition of Hot Topics will be covering weeds after fire to assist you with weed management planning and considerations.

    You can set up your own photo monitoring sites to see how the bush changes over time.

    While you wait, familiarise yourself with support for bushland recovery and consider addressing new threats to your bushland that may have happened during the fires, e.g.:

    • replacing fences around conservation areas to exclude stock access
    • closing bulldozed containment lines to restrict unwanted access (e.g. 4WD, dirtbike, walkers)
    • erosion control to stop loose soil getting into waterways
    • managing weeds in adjacent unburnt areas

    If you need some regeneration inspiration - check out UNSW's Environment Recovery Project, started by our local Wingello Land for Wildlife member Casey.

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