Draft Yea Wetlands Fire Management Plan

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DRAFT Yea Wetlands
Fire Management Sub-plan
November 2015
Prepared by: Justine Leahy
Country Fire Authority
Page 1 of 22
Contents
Yea Wetlands Fire Management Plan ............................................................. 3
1. Introduction ............................................................................................ 3
1.1
Plan development and basis............................................................ 3
1.2
Legislation ....................................................................................... 3
1.3
Fire history ....................................................................................... 4
2. Risk-based fire management planning ................................................... 4
2.2
Objectives and strategies ................................................................ 9
2.3
Options analysis .............................................................................. 9
2.4
Engagement and communication .................................................. 12
2.5
Ecological planned burning and post-fire actions .......................... 16
3. Monitoring, evaluation and reporting .................................................... 16
4. Summary .............................................................................................. 17
References..................................................................................................... 18
Appendices .................................................................................................... 19
Appendix 1. Example of an Assessment of Actions and Their Success ..... 20
Appendix 2: Map of Wetland Treatment Zones .......................................... 21
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Yea Wetlands Fire Management Plan
1.
Introduction
1.1
Plan development and basis
The purpose of this fire management plan is to deliver a strategic, long term approach to fire
and fuel load management in the Yea Wetlands. This plan outlines the strategies and actions
for fire risk management over the next 10 years for the wetlands, whilst being mindful of
applying an adaptive management approach to suit emerging research and evaluation of the
plan.
This plan has been developed as a sub-plan to the Murrindindi Shire Council and Lake
Mountain Alpine Resort Municipal Fire Management Plan and has been considered and
adopted by the Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee (MFMPC). This plan
examines fire risk, fuel reduction and mitigation both within and surrounding the wetlands
area whilst aiming to preserve the unique ecological environment.
Yea Wetlands is a reserve area of 32 hectares immediately north/north-east of the town of
Yea, Victoria. The wetlands occur both north and south of the Goulburn Valley Highway.
The wetlands are dominated by Floodplain Riparian Woodland Ecological Vegetation Class
(EVC 56) which has a status of Endangered in the Central Victorian Uplands Bioregion.
Since September 2000, the wetlands have been managed by the Yea Wetlands Committee of
Management. This Committee is a ‘Section 86 committee’ under the Local Government Act
1989. Funding has been sought and improvements have been implemented by the Yea
Wetlands Committee of Management since 2000, with the focus in recent years being on
weed management and infrastructure development1.
Other than associated fuel reduction by actively managing weeds and mowing works
undertaken by the Council of the main visitor parking areas within the wetlands, fire
management and the reduction of fire fuel loads has not yet been actively addressed by the
Committee of Management. However the Committee is eager to incorporate fire
management and fuel load management into their core objectives. The Yea Wetlands Fire
Management Plan (FMP) will be incorporated as a subset of the overall management plan
for the Yea Wetlands and its development and implementation over time will be assisted by
the MFMPC. The Committee have worked with the Country Fire Authority and the MFMPC
to develop this FMP and aim to consult with the local community, Goulburn Broken
Catchment Management Authority, Department of Environment and Land, Water and
Planning, and Murrindindi Shire Council to ensure the priorities and methods are widely
supported.
1.2
Legislation
As the land manager, Council has a legislative obligation to ‘take all practicable steps
(including burning) to prevent the occurrence of fire on, and minimise the danger of the
spread of fires on and from any land in it or under its control and management’ pursuant to
S.43 of the Country Fire Authority Act 1958. The Committee of Management is committed to
assisting Council in fulfilling this obligation in a manner that is appropriate to such
responsibilities.
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Community support and involvement is vital to the successful development and running of
council managed land and facilities. To achieve this, under Section 86 of the Victorian Local
Government Act 1989, Council may establish a Committee of Management to ‘act for and on
behalf of Council’ for a range of purposes. ‘Acting for and on Behalf of Council’ means the
committee is seen as an extension of Council and is therefore governed by the same
requirements and legislation as Council, including Council’s obligations under the Local
Government Act 1989, the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2004, and various other
legislative requirements as defined within the deed of delegation.
All fire management works undertaken require adherence to relevant State (Flora and Fauna
Guarantee Act 1988; Environment Protection Act 1970) and Commonwealth (Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) environmental legislation. Although the
primary focus of the FMP is to reduce risk from fire, where possible all environmental
impacts are assessed against a risk matrix to ensure only the most appropriate options are
considered and applied.
Cultural heritage is prominent in the Yea Wetlands and the Committee of Management is
mindful that cultural assets need to be protected through any fire management actions in
line with the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 and the Heritage Act 1995.
1.3
Fire history
The FMP focuses on Yea Wetlands and surrounds, and although areas adjoining Yea and
significant areas of Murrindindi Shire have been subject to bushfire, particularly in recent
years, the wetlands themselves have a history of being long un-burnt. It is unknown if
Taungurung traditional owners applied fire to the wetlands as a means of caring for country.
2.
Risk-based fire management planning
2.1.1 Assets and values
The Yea interface area (the settlement area immediately adjacent to the wetlands) has been
assessed in the state-wide Victorian Fire Risk Register (VFRR) as having a risk rating of
Medium (VFRR 2015). This area of risk is largely residential development on the outskirts of
Yea, excluding the Yea Caravan Park tourism development in the southern area of the
wetlands and the new ‘Y Water’ Discovery Centre on the corner of Hood and High Streets.
The Goulburn Valley Highway dissects the wetlands into north and south sections. The
highway is a major inland transport corridor. There is a strong need to consider the highway
in the wetlands fire management planning to ensure that the risk of bushfire impacting on
the operating ability of the highway be managed within a risk assessment framework.
Equally important are the proximity of the highway to the wetlands, and the risk of fire
starting in the road reserve and impacting on the wetlands and adjacent residential and
tourist development.
The biodiversity quality of the wetlands
varies across the reserve, as described in
the
Yea
Wetlands
Vegetation
Management Plan1. The Committee of
Management is progressing weed
control works in line with the
recommendations of the vegetation
Page 4 of 22
Figure 1. Goulburn Valley Highway adjacent to Yea
Wetlands
management plan. As a priority activity, the application of herbicide and manual works near
the Y Water Discovery Centre resulted in elevated dead biomass. Though the works are of
great benefit and improvement to biodiversity values, they resulted in a short term increase
in available fuel load. This area has since had mulching of the dead biomass which has
reduced the risk considerably by removing elevated fuels.
2.1.2 Threatened Species
Yea Wetlands supports several threatened fauna species of significance. Species that have a
State or Commonwealth threatened status and are known to inhabit the Yea Wetlands been
are listed in Table 1.
Table 1. Threatened fauna and conservation status
Species
Hemiphlebia Damselfly (Hemiphlebia
mirabilis)
Azure Kingfisher (Alcedo azurea)
Eastern Great Egret (Ardea modesta)
Flat-headed Galaxias (Galaxias rostratus)
EPBC
Act
**
Status in Victoria
Flora & Fauna
Guarantee Act
Endangered
Listed
Near Threatened
Vulnerable
Listed
Ineligible
** Listed as a Migratory Species (2009) under EPBC Act 1999
Of the above listed threatened species that utilise the Yea Wetlands, the Hemiphlebia
Damselfly would be considered at greatest threat by any potential management techniques.
The Damselfly is a threatened invertebrate that is highly restricted in its extent and number.
Only three long-known populations occur in Victoria at Wilsons Promontory, Goulburn River
floodplain and Yea Wetlands. A recent fourth population has been identified in Victoria’s
Western District.
Goulburn Valley populations were first recorded circa 1900. Significant population decline
resulted in a single population being recorded at the Yea Wetlands in 1992. Threatening
actions that contribute to the decrease in population size have been identified in the Action
Statement and are linked to land use changes of agriculture whereby the effects of livestock
and changes in water course drainage patterns have occurred2.
Key habitat for the Damselfly is grasses, rushes and sedges on the periphery of wetlands.
Distances of the extent of habitat used by the Damselfly are difficult to determine, are site
specific, and will vary depending on the life cycle or seral stage of the species. For instance,
juveniles use water bodies and ephemeral water bodies as well as the immediately
surrounding grasses, sedges and rushes, whereas adults are more likely to use grasses,
rushes and sedges close to water bodies. Adults are present from late November to late
February, breeding only occurs once a year with eggs inserted into aquatic vegetation. This
management plan and the suggested actions factor in the life cycle and habitat needs of the
Damselfly.
Other threatened species present in or nearby the Yea Wetlands are the Azure Kingfisher
and the migratory Eastern Great Egret. The Eastern Great Egret (EPBC List of Migratory
Species) utilise a wide range of wetland habitats. Breeding in southern Australia is generally
Spring and Summer, particularly November and December. The main threat to this species
is the loss and degradation of foraging and breeding habitat through altered water flows,
drainage or clearing of wetlands. Frequent burning of wetland vegetation nest sites has also
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been identified as a threat. Threat abatement and recovery actions are focused on retention
of wetland habitat and appropriate water allocation to maintain suitable wetland
conditions3. The fuel management actions outlined in Table 2 consider the breeding, habitat
and foraging needs of the Eastern Great Egret by temporally and spatially applying varying
management actions to achieve a reduced fire risk.
The Azure Kingfisher is classified as Near Threatened in Victoria. Breeding occurs from
Spring through to Summer, nesting in burrows in stream banks or at the edge of wetlands.
Similar to other threatened species that utilise the wetlands, altered drainage, clearing of
vegetation and agricultural land use are the greatest threats to this species. Displacement
and a decline in naturally occurring native fish species in the wetlands has also contributed
to reduced food sources for the Azure Kingfisher4.
Flat-headed Galaxias has been declined for FFG listing. However in New South Wales it is
Critically Endangered, and many other Galaxias species are listed as threatened under FFG
and EPBC. Altered drainage, flow regimes, and competition from other native and nonnative species are identified as threats to the species5.
It is important to factor in the potential for other fauna species, threatened or not, that may
utilise the Yea Wetlands in an itinerant manner, but may not have been recorded in formal
surveys. Species records often reflect the amount of survey effort that has been put into an
area, and these can often be influenced by seasonal, weather and climatic factors.
Migratory species are sometimes neglected in reserve management due to their itinerant
manner, however the requirements stated in the international agreements of Japan
Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (JAMBA) and China-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement
(CAMBA) cannot be neglected.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Biodiversity staff provided
information on species that are listed as threatened (EPBC, FFG, Victorian advisory list) that
have been recorded in the Goulburn River floodplain between Alexandra and Seymour
(Table 2). This may appear an extensive area, however birds can travel great distances for
suitable, or particular, food source or habitat preference.
The Goulburn River floodplain exhibits Floodplain Riparian Woodland Ecological Vegetation
Class between these two locations, therefore a strong estimation can be made that similar
vegetation (therefore habitat and food source) provides the ecological basis for species to
move amongst these areas. It is acknowledged that varying vegetation quality occurs within
floodplain. Figure 2 is an example of vegetation mapping in the landscape from Yea to
Kerrisdale. The extent of Floodplain Riparian Woodland (purple dots) along the Goulburn
River and tributaries gives a visual explanation from an aerial viewpoint why birds could
utilise extensive lengths of the Goulburn River floodplain.
It is acknowledged that local, regular observers of the Yea Wetlands have not observed some
of these species during the past 10 years. However, long term records recorded in the
Victorian Biodiversity Atlas still need to be considered due to the sometimes opportunistic
manner of faunal movements. These movements can be attributed, but not restricted, to
weather, drought, flooding, fire, temporary land use changes, or food source availability or
limitations.
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Figure 2. Ecological Vegetation Class mapping from Yea to Kerrisdale (Goulburn River floodplain
in purple dots).
Table 2. Threatened fauna within the extended Goulburn River floodplains from Alexandra to
Seymour.
Species
Lewins Rail
(Rallus pectoralis
pectoralis)
Latham’s Snipe
(Gallinago hardwickii)
Australian Painted Snipe
(Rostratula australis)
Little Bittern
(Ixobrychus minutus)
Australasian Bittern
(Botaurus poiciloptilus)
Habitat / Food Source / Breeding Season
 Wetland areas with dense vegetation
 Forages around water’s edge in shallow water and close to cover, for aquatic
plants and invertebrates
 Nests created amongst dense vegetation of tussock grasses and reeds; tunnels
created for quick retreat into dense vegetation
 Wetlands with low, dense vegetation for shelter of grasses, reeds & shrubs
 Forages for vegetation, seeds worms, spiders & invertebrates in areas of mud
with low dense vegetative cover
 Does not breed in Australia – breeds in Japan & Russia
 Nests on small islands in wetlands on the ground in dense grasses, sedges,
rushes or reeds
 Occasional use of trees or fallen timber adjacent to wetlands
 Feeds on vegetation, seeds & invertebrates near the water’s edge under clumps
of tall, dense shrubs
 August – February breeding, however breeding is also opportunistic based on
wetland hydrological condition
 2 – 3 week incubation period
 Habitat of dense reed beds
 Nests are flimsy platform of reed stems and sedges usually in reed beds
 Forages on wide range of wetland invertebrates and some vertebrates such as
frogs
 October – December breeding in Southern Australia
 Wetlands with tall, dense vegetation, particularly sedges, rushes, Gahnia
 Forages from vegetation at the edges of water for leaves, fruit, frogs, fish &
snakes
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Brown Toadlet
(Pseudophryne bibronii)
Growling Grass Frog
(Litoria raniformis)
 October – February breeding
 Damp areas with cover provided by logs, leaf litter, grass debris and grassy
areas next to water
 Breeds in Autumn
 Eggs laid above water level on moist soil under leaf litter, logs & partially
decomposed leaf litter
 Vegetation within or at the edge of water bodies
 Spring/Summer breeding
 2 – 12 mth larval phase
A common theme flows through habitat, feed source and nesting requirements of each of
the above species which is the requirement for dense grasses, sedges and reeds at the
water’s edge with dense shrubs in close proximity. Of all the listed species the greatest
threats to population decline have been identified as loss, modification, degradation and
fragmentation of vegetation and ground debris in aquatic and adjacent terrestrial habitats.
2.1.3 Cultural heritage
The majority of Murrindindi Shire, including Yea, lies in the traditional territory of the Daung
wurrung (also spelt Taungarung) language group, which is spread across much of the central
region of Victoria. It is suggested that areas in the south of the Shire, including areas of the
Kinglake National Park, are located in the Traditional lands of the Wurundjeri or Woi
wurrung people.
The ethnographic sources suggest that the Daung wurrung group was composed of nine
clans, occupying the Broken, Delatite, Goulburn, Coliban and Campaspe watersheds.6,7
According to Clark7 the majority of lands in the Murrindindi Shire area appear to have been
occupied by the Yowung-illam balug clan of the Daung wurrung. This clan was known to
have occupied land near the Howqua River quarry (Youang-illum stone quarry), Mount
Battery, Alexandra, the Upper Goulburn River at Mansfield, sources of the Goulburn River
and Hunter and Watson’s ‘Wappan’ Run6,7.
Interpretation signage at the Yea Wetlands provides an outline of the importance of the
area, particularly the wetlands, to the Waring Illum Balluk part of the Taungurung clan. 8
Physical or spiritually sensitive areas to be excluded from planned burning or mechanical
works and will, where appropriate and permitted, be identified in the map of the Yea
Wetlands for exclusion. Detail of individual site assets will not be included unless approved
by the Committee of Management in consultation with the Aboriginal contacts.
2.1.4 Built infrastructure
There are a number of constructed recreational assets within the fire management plan
boundaries including interpretive signage and timber boardwalks. Where planned burning is
considered appropriate and may occur, these areas should be noted in each individual burn
plan as constructed assets to be excluded from the burn area or protected through methods
of asset protection such as the use of foam. There are areas within the wetlands that have
recently been revegetated with native grasses, shrubs and trees. These areas will need to be
excluded from fire for at a minimum of 5 years for the shrubs and trees to establish, to
enable them to survive a low intensity burn of the ground layer.
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2.2
Objectives and strategies
The fire management objectives of this plan are in line with the state fire management
objectives. The Department of Sustainability and Environment7 identified five key themes,
with the strategies and actions being the measurable and deliverable components. It is
considered appropriate that these be factored into the planning and delivery of this plan.
1. Planning together: Develop fire management plans and planning with a clear
purpose and a consistent assessment of risk
2. Collaborative implementation: Develop and implement fire management programs
and activities in a collaborative manner
3. Building knowledge: Build and share knowledge in the fire management sector
across the community
4. Building capacity: Improve the capability of communities, the fire management
sector and the government to deal with fires
5. Using fire: using fire to manage fuels and support the health of environmental, social
and economic environments.
Though these objectives are broad statements, the strategies of this plan are the means to
applying the best options (options analysis) where all stakeholders are involved and
contribute to the decision making.
2.3
Options analysis
A risk-based approach has been used to develop the fuel and fire risk management options
for the Yea Wetlands which has been broken done into ten (10) zones which are highlighted
in Appendix 2. Table 3 provides an option analysis for management options within each of
the identified zones including the ‘no management ‘option. Each of the actions has risks and
responsibilities applied to settlement, economic, environmental and cultural assets. The
stakeholders involved in the preparation, development and implementation have considered
each of these, and have agreed upon and support the methods of management (or no
management) to be applied to the wetlands.
Four main methods were identified as suitable management options:
1. Mechanical / hand removal
2. Mulching
3. Grass slashing
4. Grazing
Planned burning for ecological improvement is an option that will be further investigated
and possibly implemented with the approval of all stakeholders; however it is not the
preferred fire risk treatment option at the present time due to the lack of scientific evidence
of the efficacy of burning in riparian areas2.
Ecological burning in Riparian Zones also has to be closely managed as it can lead to changes
in the structure of an EVC and potentially increase fire risk and fuel loads3. Burning in
riparian zones can increase fuel loads and subsequently fire risk by allowing canopy gaps and
drier conditions, the build-up of dead timber and the establishment of fire adapted species.
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The main four management options are explained briefly:
1. Mechanical / hand removal is an ongoing action for weed management, either as
the method of weed control (cut and paint woody weeds) and removal of weed
debris or spot spraying herbicide for targeted weed control
2. Mulching is being used as a once-off treatment to reduce elevated dead matter
being mostly herbicide-killed Honeysuckle and small fallen branches into a thick
mulch
3. Grass slashing is already undertaken by Council in grassed areas immediately
backing onto residences and in picnic areas
4. An area in the north-western extent of the wetlands adjoins freehold grazing
property. It is possible to utilise crash grazing during specific timing of year to act as
a management option to reduce Phalaris-dominated fuels by placing temporary
fencing to identified areas.
The area immediately adjacent to the Y Water Discovery Centre has been targeted for
woody weed removal through the application of herbicide (Figure 3). There has been a
successful kill rate of woody weeds resulting in elevated dead material on the ground and
attached to tree trunks. The Committee of Management engaged a contractor to mulch the
elevated fuel as a once-off treatment. The site is now free of unwanted elevated fuel and
enables ready access for spot herbicide application as weeds germinate.
The area immediately north of the Goulburn Valley Highway exhibits tall, dense native
shrubs with a River Red Gum overstorey (Figure 4). The edges of tracks have been trimmed
using the mulching machinery to enable maintain access throughout the wetlands for
management or emergencies. This area will be maintained by hand tools by the Committee
of Management into the future.
Figure 3. Dead biomass from weed control
works
Figure 4. Established vegetation adjacent to
the 'Y Water Discovery Centre'
Slashing is already undertaken by Murrindindi Shire Council where residential properties
adjoin the wetlands and creates a limited fuel break during the fire season. However, the
land immediately adjoining the wetlands is leased Crown Land and freehold land, therefore
responsibility for slashing is that of the landowner or leasee. Slashing reduces the fuel load
in the event a fire should either run from the wetlands to residences, or vice versa. It is
anticipated that variable height slashing adjacent to the currently slashed areas combined
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with current slashing regimes could be utilised as a management technique. Slashing near
residences where seed and dead grass is removed from the fuel layer by manual means,
combined with current slashing regimes, could significantly reduce the fire risk to adjacent
properties. This may have the added effect of maintaining and protecting habitat for the
Damselfly and the broad range of wetland frogs that utilise the wetlands.
Zones 8 and 9 are critically located in relation to fuel reduction treatments. In Zone 8 a
mulching trial by DELWP in August 2015 demonstrated the ease of creating a 30m wide
mulched break along the north-western boundary. This area has a Phalaris dominated
ground layer with small patches of native grasses, and mature scattered River Red Gums.
The mulcher excluded the patches of native grasses and has now made it possible for the
30m wide area to be maintained with a slasher. As an alternative, or in addition to this
method, it is possible to construct temporary fencing and allow crash grazing immediately
prior to and during the Fire Danger Period to reduce grass fuel loads.
It may be possible to utilise grazing as a grassy fuel reduction treatment in Zone 9
immediately prior to and during the Fire Danger Period. This area is also Phalaris dominated
with some patches of native grasses. Temporary fencing can be located to exclude areas of
higher quality ground layer, or areas where juvenile Eucalypts may occur. It should be noted
that this area has lower depressions which may be subject to pugging from cattle, therefore
timing in relation to rainfall and season would need to be monitored to ensure minimal
negative impact on the area.
Figure 5. Zone 8 and 9 opportunity for grazing as fuel management
The Yea caravan park and the grassland area north of the river in the southern area of the
wetlands are not under the control of the Yea Wetlands Committee of Management, and
therefore any fire prevention works are the responsibility of park management on the south,
and the lessee of the land to the north. The Murrindindi Shire Council Municipal Fire
Prevention Officer (MFPO) currently liaises with park management to ensure fire prevention
works are undertaken within land under their management. The MFPO will also liaise with
the lessee who currently grazes cattle on the grassland (Zone 6 and 7 on Map). An
arrangement has been agreed, with the leasee, that during the Fire Danger Period grazing
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will be intensive to reduce grassy fuel loads. In the event that this does not occur, Council,
through the MFPO, will ensure that Zones 2 and 3 will be slashed 30m wide immediately
prior to and maintained during the Fire Danger Period.
Council MFPO has agreed to ensure Zone 5 located between the river and residential
dwellings in the south, will be slashed immediately prior to and during the Fire Danger
Period as required.
Particular note should be given to areas which contain Chilean Needle Grass. This Weed of
National Significance can be spread in slashing operations. Machinery hygiene includes:
1.
2.
3.
4.
2.4
Machinery must be clean when arriving onsite
Clean down area onsite where Chilean Needle Grass is known to occur
No clean down near drains or waterways
Follow-up monitoring of the clean down site to spot spray germinants
Engagement and communication
The draft of this fire management plan was developed by the CFA Vegetation Management
Program in close consultation with the Yea Wetlands Committee of Management, local CFA
brigades, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Goulburn Broken
Catchment Management Authority (GBCMA), the Council’s Murrindindi Environment
Advisory Committee and adjacent landholders. Prior to finalising the draft plan it is intended
that the plan be made available for public comment to the Yea community and that the plan
be reviewed by the Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee (MFMPC) and the
Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committee (MEMPC) prior to final
endorsement of the Murrindindi Shire Council.
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Table 3. Options analysis for management
Zone
1 – 10
Action
No management
Impacts / Options
Unplanned fire
Asset Type
Settlement
Economic
Environment
Cultural
1
2
3
Management
Management
Management
Slashing
Slashing
Slashing
Settlement
Economic
Environmental
Cultural
Settlement
Economic
Environmental
Cultural
Settlement
Economic
Environmental
Cultural
Risks & Responsibilities
Potential damage to residential assets and vulnerable persons
Potential damage to Y Water Discovery Centre
Impact on caravan park assets
Damage to combustible infrastructure within wetlands
Potential road closure and interruption to traffic movement of Goulburn Valley Hwy
Negative impact on Damselfly population either from fire or suppression efforts
Removal of water’s edge grasses, rushes & shrubs for amphibians & birds reliant on vegetation
Intolerance of River Red Gums to fire
Loss of habitat structure across the wetlands
Combustible artefacts damaged or destroyed, damage to physical/spiritually sensitive areas either
from fire or suppression efforts
Nil
Cost to LGA to slash grasses
Slashed twice per year:
 Prior to commencement of Fire Danger Period
 Follow-up mid-fire season depending on growing season
**
**
Nil
Cost to LGA to slash grasses
Slashed twice per year:
 Prior to commencement of Fire Danger Period
 Follow-up mid-fire season depending on growing season
**
**
Nil
Cost to LGA to slash grasses
Slashed twice per year:
 Prior to commencement of Fire Danger Period
 Follow-up mid-fire season depending on growing season
**
**
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Zone
4
5
Action
Management
Management
Impacts / Options
Slashing
Slashing
Asset Type
Settlement
Economic
Environmental
Cultural
Settlement
Economic
Environmental
6
Management
Mechanical hand removal dead
matter
Mulching
Cultural
Settlement
Economic
Environmental
Cultural
Settlement
Economic
Environmental
Cultural
Risks & Responsibilities
Nil
Back-up slash break where grazing in Zone 8 has not occurred prior to and during-Fire Danger
Period
Cost to LGA to slash grasses
Slashed twice per year:
 Prior to commencement of Fire Danger Period
 Follow-up mid-fire season depending on growing season
**
Minimal risk to artefacts damage or physical/spiritually sensitive areas disturbed
Nil
Cost to LGA &/or CoM to slash grasses
Slashed twice per year:
 Prior to commencement of Fire Danger Period
 Follow-up mid-fire season depending on growing season
Negligible:
 Scattered mature River Red Gum with Phalaris dominance
Small patches of native grasses to be excluded from slashing
Minimal risk to artefacts damage or physical/spiritually sensitive areas disturbed
Nil
Once-off Honeysuckle removal conducted by CoM
**
**
Nil
Cost to CoM or LGA
Some mulching undertaken end 2014 after mechanical hand removal
Minimal risk – mulching focus is dead biomass from previous weed control works
No soil disturbance other than machinery tracks
Some mulching of shrubs to clear access trails
**
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Zone
7
8
9
Action
Management
Management
Management
Impacts / Options
Grazing or slashing by licensee
Grazing, slashing, mechanical
removal
Grazing
Asset Type
Settlement
Economic
Environmental
Cultural
Settlement
Economic
Environmental
Cultural
Settlement
Economic
Environmental
10
Management
Ecological Burn (small scale)
Cultural
Settlement
Economic
Environmental
Cultural
Risks & Responsibilities
Nil
Cattle grazing (or slashing in the absence of grazing) by licensee prior to and during Fire Danger
Period – MFPO to make arrangements with licensee prior to Fire Danger Period
**
Minimal risk to artefacts damage or physical/spiritually sensitive areas disturbed
Nil
Fuel management by licensee prior to and during Fire Danger Period – MFPO to make
arrangements with licensee prior to Fire Danger Period
**
Minimal risk to artefacts damage or physical/spiritually sensitive areas disturbed
Nil
Cattle grazing by Committee of Management prior to and during Fire Danger Period
Cost to LGA &/or CoM for temporary fencing/permanent fencing with gate:
 Crash grazing prior to commencement of Fire Danger Period
 Intermittent grazing mid-fire season depending on growing season
Native grasses will be grazed if not excluded
Potential pugging during wetter periods – timing and intensity of grazing in relation to rain events
will need to be monitored
Minimal risk to artefacts damage or physical/spiritually sensitive areas disturbed
Minimal risk or impact based on small scale burning
Possible site preparation (depending on burn type) and CFA contribution
Small percentage of native grasses will not be negatively impacted by planned burn
Good method for biomass reduction of Phalaris for ongoing spot weed spraying
Depending on burn method and extent, revegetation works may be killed by fire, but some may
resprout and benefit from reduced competition
Disturbance will not be beyond existing management/treatments of slashing, revegetation
** No risks identified outside of normal risks with treatment action
Page 15 of 22
2.5
Ecological planned burning and post-fire actions
The primary methods of fire risk reduction has been identified as mechanical (hand tool and
machinery), slashing and grazing. The Committee of Management has discussed options of
using planned burning for ecological purposes. Some stakeholders were not supportive of
such treatment options to be included in the plan, however further discussions will be
pursued with all stakeholders to consider small-scale planned burning.
An area of dominated by Phalaris (Zone 10) in the northern extent of the wetlands provides
a good location to trial ecological planned burning for Phalaris management, combined with
follow-up weed spraying.
In the event that all stakeholders are supportive of using small-scale planned burning for
ecological improvement where specific aims and objectives are outlined, a post-fire weed
management plan will need to be developed. This plan should outline what weeds are
present, or likely to emerge post-fire, what the weed responses are to fire (ie. rapid or
opportunistic germination or resprouting), the timing and method of weed control (ie. spot
spraying herbicide post-burn), and the costings associated with weed control.
3.
Monitoring, evaluation and reporting
The main aim of the monitoring, evaluation and reporting phase is to determine whether the
management actions are achieving their objectives for both fuel management and ecological
improvement. Evaluation and reporting will be the feedback mechanism to:
a) evaluate the outcomes from management actions;
b) develop future planned actions; and
c) modify management options where objectives have not achieved, outcomes are
undesirable, or have not been achieved for various reasons.
An adaptive management approach enables flexibility in addressing the fire risk reduction of
the wetlands, with the precursor that clear objectives are established and maintained.
When looking at management across landscape, criteria and indicators form the basis of
measuring the effectiveness of actions against desired outcomes. Though the full version
management system utilised by Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is
complex and most likely out of the scope of the works proposed for Yea Wetlands, each of
these criteria and indicators can be transferred into smaller scale measures of success
appropriate to works applied in the wetlands.
When combined with the priority of fuel management for the subject land, outcomes can be
measured and actions adapted to ensure achievement of the base level of success that has
been outlined in the objectives.
Appendix 1 provides an example methodology for writing objectives and recording whether
they have been achieved based on the criteria and indicators in Table 4. This can be used to
measure success of an action, objectively analyse what worked or identify short-falls, and
lead to determining whether the action taken was suitable for the objective or whether a
different/amended treatment or methodology should be used for future actions.
Page 16 of 22
Table 4. Criteria and Indicators for evaluation of outcome success
Criteria and Indicators (DSE 2007)
Adapted for Yea Wetlands
1
Conservation of Biological Diversity
Species monitoring pre- and post-treatment
2
Maintenance of Productive Capacity of Forest
Ecosystems
Maintenance of Ecosystem Health and Vitality
Species flowering/seeding/germinating posttreatment
Maintaining the quality of the site through
weed management
Ensuring water quality does not decline after
treatment
Retention of mature trees and course woody
debris
Inclusion
of
community
input
and
acknowledging the values of individuals
3
4
5
6
7
4.
Conservation and Maintenance of Soil and
Water Resources
Maintenance of Forest Contribution to Global
Carbon Cycles
Maintenance and Enhancement of Long Term
Multiple Socio-Economic Benefits to Meet the
Needs of Societies
Legal, Institutional and Economic Framework
for Forest Conservation and Sustainable
Management
Ensuring relevant Acts and Regulations are
complied with for any action that occurs
Summary
In summary this plan will be a guiding document that will be adaptive in its approach
throughout its implementation, based on options that are acceptable to all stakeholders. To
date, many changes have been made throughout the writing of this plan. A review of the
success of actions and treatments is a priority throughout the implementation of risk
reduction activities. As new findings or evidence arises to suggest that other more
appropriate actions be implemented, these will be discussed among the key stakeholders
involved in the development of this plan.
Page 17 of 22
References
1. Indigenous Design Land Management (2012) Report for Yea Wetlands Trust: Yea
Wetlands (5 Year) Vegetation Management Plan.
2. Department of Sustainability and Environment. 2003. Flora & Fauna Guarantee
Action Statement: Hemiphlebia Damselfly (Hemiphlebia mirabilis). Depart of
Sustainability and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria.
3. Australian Government: Department of the Environment. 2013. [online]. Canberra,
ACT. Available from:
http://www.environment.gov.au/cgibin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=82410
4. BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Alcedo azurea. Downloaded
from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/01/2014.
5. Murray-Darling Basin Commission. 2007. Fact Sheet: Flat-headed Galaxias.
[online]. Canberra, ACT. Available from:
http://www.mdba.gov.au/sites/default/files/archived/mdbc-NFSreports/2202_factsheet_native_flat-headed_galaxias.pdf
6. Barwick, D. 'Mapping the Past: An Atlas of Victorian Clans 1835-1904', Part 1,
Aboriginal History 1984, 8(2):100-31
7. Clark, I. 1990. Aboriginal Languages and Clans: An Historical Atlas of Western and
Central Victoria, Monash Publications in Geography No. 7.
8. Business and Tourism Association (n.d.) Yea Heritage Walk brochure. Downloaded
from http://www.yea.com.au on 08/02/14.
9. Southern Metropolitan Regional Strategic Fire Management Planning Committee
(2011). Southern Metropolitan Fire Management Plan September 2011. Victoria,
Australia.
Page 18 of 22
Appendices
Page 19 of 22
Appendix 1. Example of an Assessment of Actions and Success
Objective
Achieved
(Yes/No)
Comments
(Good points, lessons learnt, what contributed
to the action being successful or unsuccessful)
Achieve a slash break 30 metres wide
backing onto residences on Marshbank
Street during Fire Danger Period
Achieve a slash break 30 metres wide
backing onto caravan park
Have post-treatment weed management
techniques been successful in
maintaining or reducing weed cover after
12 months
Have post-treatment weed management
techniques been successful in
maintaining or reducing weed cover after
2 years?
Are all pre-treatment native species
present 12 months post-treatment,
compared with pre-treatment
monitoring?
Has priority Damselfly habitat (native
grass tussocks and rushes) been
maintained 12 months post-treatment?
Has priority Damselfly habitat (native
grass tussocks and rushes) increased by
5% 2 years post-treatment?
Has course woody debris been retained
during post-treatment?
Were the community suitably engaged
and informed of the fire management
plan and fire risk reduction activities?
Adaptive Management Approaches
Responsible
Agency/
Committee
Licensee
LGA
CoM
CMA
CoM
CMA
CoM
CMA
CoM
DELWP
CoM
DELWP
CoM
CoM, CFA,
LGA, CMA,
DELWP
Page 20 of 22
Appendix 2: Map of Wetland Treatment Zones
Page 21 of 22
Page 22 of 22
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