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Restoring fringing wetlands on a Gippsland dairy

Sandra Jefford and Wilco Droppert have lived and worked on their 352 ha dairy farm on the fringes of the Gippsland Lakes for eight years.

Sandra Jefford and Wilco Droppert have lived and worked on their 352 ha dairy farm on the fringes of the Gippsland Lakes for eight years. When they were approached by Trust for Nature and the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (CMA) about restoring and putting a conservation covenant on wetland habitats on their farm, they were keen to do what they could to improve the biodiversity on their land, while continuing to manage the surrounding pasture for cattle. They are now working with the Trust to secure the covenant.

Sandra said, “It’s really a no brainer for us to protect the wetland. It is unproductive land at present, so it makes sense for us to protect it for biodiversity.” The wetland doesn’t function as it naturally did, so work is underway to restore the natural water regime as much as possible. It will also be revegetated and fenced off from cattle. “We are close to the Gippsland Lakes and we hope that will mean frogs and other species will use our wetland as a pathway to get to other parts of our property including our irrigation pond,” Sandra said.

Restoration of this wetland will aim to provide additional fresh water habitats fringing the salinity-affected Gippsland Lakes and provide refugia for threatened species such as the Growling Grass Frog and Green and Golden Bell Frog. 

Sandra and Wilco have other plans for the property and are considering putting a conservation covenant on a stand of River Red Gums, which are up to 500 years old. By protecting them permanently, they hope to see new generations of red gums thrive in future. 

This work is funded by the Victorian Government through the Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee for the health of the Gippsland Lakes. 

For more information about projects in the West Gippsland region contact our Regional Manager John Hick on (03) 8631 5888 or johnh@tfn.org.au.

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Tips for restoring wetlands

• identify the plant and animal species that are there and aim to optimise their habitat needs
• control threats where possible (ie exclude or manage livestock, control pest plants and animals)
• identify if the natural hydrology has been altered such as increased drainage
• reinstate natural hydrological conditions where possible (ie reduce artificial drainage)
• monitor wetland condition through photopoint monitoring to record change over time.

Support our work

Support the work we’re doing in this region by contributing to the West Gippsland Conservation Fund which has a generous donor matching dollar for dollar up to $500k. See trustfornature.org.au for more information.


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