Conservation reserves are our 'living museums'
Conservation reserves play a crucial role in Bayside's open space network providing 'living museums' of our remnant indigenous vegetation communities and a snapshot of Bayside prior to urbanisation.
In our now highly-urbanised environment, these reserves offer an opportunity to enjoy the wonders of nature firsthand on a guided and self-guided heritage walk.
We work with the passionate volunteer Friends groups and the Open Space contractor Citywide to protect, manage and restore these precious areas.
Threats to the bushlands
Although protected from further development, Bayside's Conservation reserves still face a myriad of external factors that are threatening their quality and biodiversity.
Each of the seven inland bushland reserves are surrounded by housing and development, which is known as the 'edge effect'. This is where the perimeter to area ratio is high, allowing external factors to influence the internal environment.
Exotic Weed invasion
Weeds are constantly creeping into our bushlands and outcompeting our indigenous species for light, water and nutrients. These exotic species can quickly dominate if not actively controlled.
Disruption to the natural fire regime
Bayside's bushlands and heathlands have evolved over thousands of years to depend on fire to stimulate regeneration of certain heath species, and to control certain overstorey species from dominating (e.g. Coast Tea-tree). Council carries our periodical Ecological burning to mimic the natural processes.
Dominance of Coast Tea-tree and Coast Wattle
While indigenous to the Sandringham area, Tea-tree and Coast Wattle are not considered original members of the heath vegetation. They are regarded as a very serious weed species both locally and elsewhere in Victoria. Very few plant species are able to grow beneath the Coast Tea-tree.
Dog faeces is high in nutrients, causing eutrophication of the soils, and exacerbating weed invasion; not to mention disturbing wildlife seeking refuge.
Bayside Native Vegetation Works Program
We engaged Ecology Australia to prepare stage one of a Native Vegetation Works Program (NVWP) for 14 reserves that are managed on behalf of the Council by contractors and volunteers. This stage of the NVWP involves identifying the ecological vegetation classes (EVCs), habitat zones and key management issues in each of the reserves. The second phase involves preparing a management plan and monitoring program for each reserve.