Burning to rejuvenate native grasslands at Wattle Range continues

All hands were on deck recently when NGT coordinated another burn along Wattle Range Road (north-east of Millicent in South East SA) this autumn, with the help of Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation and OneFortyOne. The original project brief about the importance of native grasslands and why this project started can be found here. It was fantastic to have the Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation at the burn again, using traditional First Nations techniques to care for this important native grassland.

Before European colonisation, native grasslands and grassy woodlands once sprawled across large areas of the South East of South Australia and Western Victoria, and were maintained by regular burning by First Nations people. Since then most of the native grasslands have been lost or highly degraded by livestock grazing, clearance, over-abundance of native and introduced herbivores, and weeds.

Despite widespread losses of these habitats, some high and moderate quality native grasslands remain on undeveloped roadsides or rail reserves, in conservation reserves, or unimproved paddocks. So, in 2020 the native grassland project began, supported by OneFortyOne, to identify a set of potential native grassland management sites in the South East of SA, with a focus on Kangaroo Grass Themeda triandra grasslands. Burns have been completed since 2021 and this site at Wattle Range Road received its second burn this autumn.

An extension to our original permit was sought from the Native Vegetation Council to allow us the privilege of burning another section of native grassland vegetation in the hope of rejuvenating it. This autumn’s burn could not have happened without the help of our local First Nations people getting out on country alongside additional fire-ground resources from OneFortyOne. The weather has been calm and sunny facilitating safe burning conditions and dry fuel. The following video summarises the burn day nicely – enjoy!

Supporting organisations for this project include Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation, Limestone Coast Landscape Board, Native Vegetation Council, Region 5 Country Fire Service, Ballantyne Ag, Wattle Range Council and OneFortyOne.

Bryan Haywood