Wildlife of Pinkerton Link
On Saturday 13th August 2011 Western Water & Pinkerton Landcare & Environment Group (PLEG) invited the community to join them planting between Pinkerton Forest & Bush’s Paddock, near Mount Cottrell. This was in fact an invitation to participate in the beginning of an innovative project to grow a Grassy Woodland from scratch!
Western Water, in association with Pinkerton Landcare and Environment Group (PLEG), has been undertaking biodiversity enhancement works in Pinkerton Forest for 15 years and along the Werribee River valley for the last four years. Pinkerton Forest can be found in the centre of the Melton RWP and consists of approximately 35 ha of remnant plains grassy woodland. Approximately 3.8km of river frontage exists where the Werribee River borders the western boundary of Surbiton Park and cuts a deep volcanic gorge in the landscape. The Werribee River valley contains patches of poor-medium quality remnant native vegetation. Western Water has to date been undertaking revegetation works along approximately 2km of Werribee River frontage in partnership with Melbourne Water and PLEG.
Bordering Surbiton Park is a Melton Shire Council owned remnant native vegetation patch known as Bush’s Paddock which lies approximately 370 metres north of Pinkerton Forest. Pinkerton Forest and Bush’s Paddock are separated by an area of land on Melton RWP which has previously been used for the controlled disposal of sludge from the waste water treatment process. This area, once known as the ‘sludge paddock’, is no longer used for disposal of sludge. Deposition of high nutrient wastes by Western Water ceased in 2007. Western Water has recognised that management input is required to ensure the long-term persistence and enhancement of biodiversity values of Melton RWP due to a general awareness of best practice environmental management, planning and compliance with statutory obligations. The old-Sludge Paddock Pinkerton Link (now known as Pinkerton Link) is 12ha in size and contains eight mature grey box trees.
In recognising the biodiversity values of the property, Western Water would like to further enhance the biodiversity attributes of Melton RWP by creating a habitat corridor between Pinkerton Forest and Bush’s Paddock by revegetation of the sludge paddock with indigenous flora species. The habitat corridor will link the two fragmented remnant vegetation patches and allow native fauna to traverse between the two areas, enhancing the significance and importance of the two sites. Western Water has received joint funding for the project through the Vision for Werribee Plains (V4WP) grants program run by the Department of Sustainability and Environment.
Pinkerton Forest is a remnant Plains Woodland approximately 35 hectares in size. The vegetation is mostly comprised of mature Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa) with a moderate quality understory due to a history of cattle and sheep grazing. In 1992 Pinkerton Forest was fenced off and has since been managed to improve the biodiversity of the forest. Grassy Eucalypt Woodlands of the Victorian
A wildlife Corridor connecting two remnant Grey Box Woodlands
Volcanic Plains have recently been listed as critically endangered under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999.
Mulla Mulla Woodland ( Bush’s Paddock)
Bush’s Paddock is a Melton Shire Council owned reserve located on the north east boundary of the ‘sludge paddock’ and has had a long history of stock grazing however recent plantings, weed and pest animal control is beginning to restore the site. The vegetation is remnant Plains Woodland but also contains large areas of native grassland. Natural Temperate Grasslands of the Victorian Volcanic Plains are also listed as critically endangered under the EPBC Act 1999.
Pinkerton Forest and Bush’s Paddock are vegetation relics of pre-European settlement and provide many habitat opportunities for ingenious fauna species. Within a five kilometre radius of the Melton RWP, a total of 380 hectares of grassy eucalypt woodlands exist in four fragmented patches and is a hotspot for this type of vegetation community.
Pinkerton Forest and Bush’s Paddock are examples of fragmented vegetation or habitat islands. Animals in an ‘island’ situation are vulnerable to catastrophes such as disease, bushfire and gradual changes like inbreeding and variations in climate. Significant fauna species have been recorded in these vegetation communities.
The habitat corridor will provide native fauna with a larger habitat area, increased available food supply and promote healthier and larger populations. The link will also create a greater likelihood of sustaining populations which undergo any fluctuations or catastrophes.
Kangaroos between Mulla Mulla & Pinkerton Link
Eastern Rosella between Mulla Mulla & Pinkerton Link at sunset
Eastern Rosella between Mulla Mulla & Pinkerton Link
Magpies between Mulla Mulla & Pinkerton Link
Red-rumped Parrot between Mulla Mulla & Pinkerton Link
Whgite-plumed Honeyeater between Mulla Mulla & Pinkerton Link
Zebra Finches between Mulla Mulla & Pinkerton Link