Eaglehawk Waterhole – Habitat Restoration Reserve

On the 20th of December 2013 – thanks to the generous financial support of the Native Vegetation Council and Nature Foundation SA Inc. – Eaglehawk Waterhole became Nature Glenelg Trust’s first Habitat Restoration Reserve.

This project is proudly supported by:

Background Information on the property:

Eaglehawk Waterhole is a 684 ha private property in the Upper South East of South Australia, situated approximately 2 km west of the Little Desert National Park and state border with Victoria.

Oblique image showing the strategic location of Eaglehawk Waterhole in the landscape

Although partly protected under conservation agreements, the vast majority of the property (510 hectares) has been farmed (grazed by sheep), but retains significant established tree, shrub and understorey cover, and a range of important biodiversity values that will respond favourably to protection, restoration and conservation management.

Aerial image of the property, showing remnant tree cover and the range of in-tact reference areas on the property

The property forms part of a general area (the Bangham district) with higher native vegetation remnancy that was highlighted as a priority zone for conservation activities in the Biodiversity Plan for the South East (Croft et al 1999). The property also retains important, currently unprotected habitat for species and communities listed under the EPBC Act 1999, such as the South-eastern Red-tailed Black-cockatoo and (the newly listed) Seasonal Herbaceous Wetlands of the lowland plains.

SA Blue Gum Woodland interspersed with Gilgai Seasonal Herbaceous Wetland habitat on Eaglehawk Waterhole (Photo – September 2013)

This project will:

  1. enable perpetual protection & restoration of 510 hectares of grassy woodland, heathy woodland, heathland and wetland habitat in a strategic district where increasing landscape connectivity is a priority activity,
  2. grow the National Reserve System (NRS) estate in an under-represented bioregion,
  3. contribute to the recovery of EPBC Act listed species and communities, and
  4. provide a community hub and strategic demonstration site for the public to experience, learn about, & become involved in, large-scale habitat restoration.

The property satisfied several criteria that make it a high priority for restoration, namely:

  • Size: 510 hectares of the total property size (684 ha) will directly benefit from stock removal, natural regeneration and revegetation works as a result of this project. This will  constitute one of the largest restoration projects ever undertaken in the South East region.
  • Location: it is strategically located within a district of high quality reserves in SA and Victoria, and improve landscape connectivity and ecological function between them (Bangham and Geegeela CP’s in SA and Little Desert NP in Victoria);
  • Existing condition: the current state of the property is highly conducive to full ecological recovery in a more rapid timeframe than would ordinarily be possible for a restoration project in an agricultural district, due to the level of remnant tree, shrub and understorey cover across the grazed portions (510 hectares) of the property. The remaining 174 hectares of the property are already fenced and in excellent condition, serving as reference areas, and providing a natural regeneration and revegetation seedbank.
  • Habitat complexity: the site includes a range of habitats and ecotones between each, including grassy woodland, heathy woodland, heathland and wetland habitats. It is unusual (but highly desirable) for a restoration project to cover such a diversity of soil and habitat types.
  • Biodiversity values: it retains biodiversity values (including EPBC Act listed species and communities) that will be significantly enhanced and improved through habitat restoration;
  • Heritage Agreement: the entire property will be suitable for inclusion in the National Reserve System (by being perpetually protected under Heritage Agreement).

Brown Stringybark Woodland habitat on the property – Feeding habitat for the South-eastern Red-tailed Black-cockatoo

The future:

Updates on the project will be posted on the NGT blog and linked to this project page (see below) – we hope you will take an active interest in our efforts to restore and manage this important property over the months and years ahead…!

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