Conserving rural environments

To improve conservation values in its rural areas, Hume City Council has committed to a grant program for landowners and environmental community groups.

This initiative will allow them to apply for funding of up to $10,000 for on-ground works or capacity-building opportunities.

Hume is a large and diverse municipality, with almost 65 per cent of land being rural or semi-rural, and features significant environmental assets, including kilometres of creek frontage, with many properties supporting habitat patches over 20 hectares in size.

“This year, we have had a fantastic response with 56 expressions of interest being received for project activities, including weed and pest animal management, revegetation works, fauna surveys, erosion mitigation works, development of land management plans and running capacity-building workshops,” said Council’s Biodiversity Project Officer Hannah Nicholas.

Support from the community to invest in the rural environment is strong.

“It is a terrific incentive for rural landowners to receive financial assistance to help (in our case) rid the land of weeds and try to restore it to its original condition,” said one landowner during a recent survey about the program.

The grant program provides several other engagement opportunities for landowners to become involved in wildlife conservation efforts.

“We have recently received Animal Ethics Committee and Wildlife Act 1975 approval to survey for wildlife on private properties, using motion-sensor cameras that will assist in monitoring and informing land management actions for the grant program,” said Ms Nicholas.

“The first round of cameras has been deployed and we already have a waiting list of keen landowners wanting to see the wildlife inhabiting their properties.”   

Hume will also be introducing a private property nest-box monitoring program for Brush-tail Phascogales and Sugar Gliders later this year, two wildlife species with recent confirmed sightings in the area.