Unreserved about reserves
The Toodyay Shire in Western Australia boasts a number of stunning nature reserves.
The Toodyay Shire covers an area of 1600 square kilometres and straddles two very distinct rainfall and vegetation zones.
The western part of the Shire has relatively high rainfall and typical Darling Range vegetation dominated by Marri and Jarrah woodlands.
The eastern part however is drier, predominately open farmland with patches of remnant vegetation akin to the Wheatbelt such as Salmon Gum and Jam Wattle.
Across the Shire’s varied landscape is a patchwork of reserve land, some of it degraded but other reserves boast high quality bushland.
Not surprisingly these reserves come under a plethora of different tenures.
The Department of Parks and Wildlife administer by far the largest portion of reserve land in the Shire, which include well known nature reserves such as the Avon Valley National Park, Rugged Hills and Wongamine Reserves.
The Avon River runs east to west through the Shire and is associated with large areas of crown land and reserve tenures.
Among the some 160 reserves in Toodyay many are vested in the Shire and include those that come under management order arrangements.
A significant number of these reserves demonstrate high conservation values with a suite of native flowering plants including declared rare flora species like the Zig-Zag Grevillia, which is found nowhere else.
The community also puts high value on these reserves for scenic enjoyment and passive recreation.
A walk among the majestic Powder Bark Wandoo and laterite ridges of Rugged Hills Reserve is a world-class experience.
Or take a 6-kilometre stroll along the Bilya (River) Walk Track to view waterbirds at waterholes or kayakers shooting rapids.
The 65 ha Dawn Atwell Reserve in the Julimar area is an example of how the community successfully campaigned to protect this beautiful patch of pristine bush which has now become a favourite with walkers and nature enthusiasts and a significant asset for the shire.
Most of these reserves are surrounded by sub-divisions and in the summer months can present a significant fire risk.
Hazard reduction burning and other mitigation measures are core business for reserve management. However, in addition, feral animals, environmental weeds, access, off road vehicle use and a range of other issues are also part of the challenge.
Long recognizing the need for effective management of its reserves the Shire in 2014 appointed a Reserve Management Officer, Greg Warburton, to address these issues.
“As a long-term Toodyay enthusiast and community member it is a wonderful opportunity to help protect and enhance our precious bushland while promoting our reserves as the special places that they are,” Mr Warburton said.