Park Report – Dave Roberts, Ranger in Charge

A wet July and August in the Grampians has restored good flows to our creeks, rivers and wetlands and recharging an otherwise dry system.

Up until this time, park staffs were engaged in trial winter burning operations in the Wannon River heath, an area of the park long unburnt and known to house significant small mammal populations including Long Nose Potoroos & Southern Brown Bandicoots.  The objective of this experimental burning is to introduce fire at small scales into this landscape over a long period of time to help protect the old growth river frontage vegetation from large scale intense fire impacts. The results achieved to date have been mixed which is exactly what we need, some hot, some cool. Prior to the burn we undertook both fauna and flora monitoring to ensure we could assess and interpret the outcomes. It has been interesting to note the amount of diggings and foraging activity occurring in the freshly burnt areas. A camera set up in the most recent strip captured a very healthy Bandicoot scratching around.

Fire in the Grampians is more and more being viewed and used as an ecological process that should be applied to manage, protect and conserve. This may seem counter intuitive, but applied at the right time, in the right way, in the right place we can make progress towards reducing the impacts of large scale, damaging fires and promote a different fire regime based on ecological and risk principles. This is all about challenging our historic views of land management and requires support from our partners including the Department of Environment & Primary Industries, research partners including Deakin University, The University of Melbourne and the Arthur Rylah Institute.  Adaptive Management is the key to this and continuing to learn, improve and evaluate what we are doing is a major reason why we are optimistic about fire in the Grampians Landscape.

Parks Victoria wishes to past on our condolences to the Thompson Family for their recent loss. David was a passionate and tireless advocate of the Park and its establishment, whilst playing a very significant role in the FoGG’s over numerous decades. The recent memorial at Laharum was well attended and spoke volumes of the respect people from all walks of life had for David and his achievements.