Situated on the lower Perry River on the Gippsland Plains, David Hawkes has made a substantial contribution to conservation, having recently placed a covenant on a further 88 ha of his property. This addition brings the total number of hectares under covenant to 148 ha.
The additional 88 ha was made possible through the Protecting Our Ponds project, funded by the Victorian Government’s Our Catchments Our Communities program through the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority. Increasing the area of protected habitat in the Perry River catchment helps to look after and restore the unique Perry River chain of ponds—a system of irregularly shaped wetlands linked by shallow floodplains. Chains of ponds used to be common across south eastern Australia.
The covenanted areas are adjacent to farming land. David said he was interested in protecting the land because he knew what a difference it could make to the ponds. He said, “The area that’s under covenant had low grazing value but extremely high conservation value. I wanted to see it protected forever and the incentives for covenanting it made it possible.”
The covenants are making a significant contribution to the protection of the ponds, providing an important buffer and protection to the river and extending the existing Perry River covenant network, which is over 2,000 ha across the catchment. They also protect nationally endangered Red Gum Grassy Woodland and the state threatened Swamp Scrub, Damp Sands Herb-rich Woodland, and Coast Banksia Woodland. Important estuarine wetland and salt marsh are also now protected.
The new covenant also provides habitat for threatened fauna such as the Diamond Firetail and Lace Monitor.
The Perry River, through a series of disconnected ponds, links the forested slopes of the Great Dividing Range to the Gippsland Lakes, providing a significant corridor in a largely cleared rural landscape.
For more information about projects in the East Gippsland region contact Robyn Edwards (03) 8631 5888 or firstname.lastname@example.org