Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby Update

Ryan Duffy
Team Leader, Cultural And Natural Values

Since November 2012, the Grampians rock-wallaby reintroduction has experienced its share of highs and lows. November  saw the largest single release of wallabies to date, with 17 animals being released at Moora Creek. This was part of a new strategy to introduce greater genetic diversity into the population which was anticipated to alleviate depressed breeding. This was certainly a high for the diverse partners involved in the Victorian Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby recovery team.

Soon after the release the program experienced a steady succession of mortalities. Wallabies are radio-tracked on a regular basis, mortalities are retrieved as quickly as possible in order to aid post mortem investigation. Few post mortems delivered conclusive results, however it appears fox predation is still one process threatening the reintroduced colony. This is despite Parks Victoria’s Grampians Ark fox baiting program delivering a Rolls Royce fox control program in … Read the rest

Posted in 2013 Spring Newsletter, Articles, From Parks Victoria

Celebrating 100 years of Zumsteins – 22 September

The 100 Year celebration of Zumsteins will be held on Sunday 22 September 2013 at Zumsteins Picnic Ground in the Grampians National Park. The day will be also a celebration for the restoration works that have happened since the 2011 flood and storm event.

A small group have come together from the local community, the Horsham Historical Society, Wartook Tourism Association and Parks Victoria to plan for this special day. They would like to invite anybody who has enjoyed or has a strong association to the area, to come and celebrate this much-loved place created over one hundred years ago by Walter Zumstein. The celebrations begin at 10.30am with a number of speakers and displays bringing to life the many memories of the area, and of Walter Zumstein and his family. There will also be many activities such as a community bike ride from Rosebrook, a community picnic and children’s … Read the rest

Posted in 2013 Spring Newsletter, Activity Report, Articles

Sharing The Dilemmas: How And When And What Should We Burn?

Glenn Rudolph DEPI

Glenn started by showing photos of the experimental burn they did in the Wannon heathland mid July this year, which Dave R has alluded to in his piece. This area has not been burnt since the 60’s and is a very valuable small mammal habitat. It would be disastrous to have a large fire go through it so they wanted to see how a winter burn would help break it up. They used only 3 matches to light it, no accelerants. They waited till a day when the temperature was below 15, and the fuel moisture level was 16% and lit it in the afternoon. There was much dead grass. Flame heights reached 2 to 3 m. By 5.45 the edges were starting to self extinguish, by 6pm only small pockets were still alight, by 10 pm it was completely out. It reached 8 ha and were … Read the rest

Posted in 2013 Spring Newsletter, Articles, From Parks Victoria

Cultural Heritage Post 2013 Fire

Suzi Coates (DEPI Ballarat, cultural issues)
Suzi is herself indigenous and has worked on several interesting projects.

There are 99 known Aboriginal cultural sites in the Grampians of which 69 are rock art. All are very vulnerable to fire, as are scar trees and quarries. Damage is caused by ash, smoke, heat. And not just the fire, also the clean up and subsequent erosion. Damage to the art work (heat flaking etc), the surrounding infrastructure, and the subsurface archaeological deposits. The damage may not be apparent to casual inspection, as the micro climate has effects.

The post fire team had 3 requirements: assess and conserve, repair and replace infrastructure, assess control lines prior to remediation works.

Teams have so far gone to 23 known sites and have found 3 new ones. More are likely to be found. The teams have consisted of people from four traditional owner groups and 3 … Read the rest

Posted in 2013 Spring Newsletter, Articles, From Parks Victoria

The Impact Of Fire On The Ecology – Both Short Term And Long Term

Prof John White of Deakin University. ( He was Mike Stevens supervisor in 2007,8 as Mike started his honours thesis on small mammals after the 2006 fire. He currently has quite a few different honours students following up the research.)

Climate change will most likely cause more frequent and more intense wildfires, bringing significant alterations to fire regimes and the potential for more loss of flora and fauns species. Also predicted is an increased chance of drought, punctuated by extreme rainfall events.

There are big knowledge gaps. Most research is on prescribed burning and small fires. The critical gap is large fires, which are going to come more often.  Who survives a fire, and why? Where do the recolonising animals come from? What is the role of the climate conditions post fire on the recovery?

What they are doing: Monitoring 36 sites set up post the 2006 fire, but … Read the rest

Posted in 2013 Spring Newsletter, Activity Report, Articles