Coranderrk Bushland Reserve
Zoos Victoria is the custodian of the Coranderrk Bushland Reserve – 142 hectares of bushland adjacent to Healesville Sanctuary. The Coranderrk is a unique remnant of Yarra Valley floor forest, significant for its relatively intact vegetation, diverse biota and rich cultural heritage. The Coranderrk, however, is relatively small, and is isolated in a landscape dominated by agriculture and increasingly urban development.
The land is home to around 10% of Victoria’s plant species and 264 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, frogs and fish. It also a highly significant indigenous location – being the site of an indigenous mission station from 1863 to 1924 – and there are many sites of cultural heritage significance protected within the reserve, including scar trees
As custodian of the Coranderrk, Zoos Victoria has a compelling vision to restore a dynamic ecological balance to the bush land, emphasizing its significance as a prominent example of a Victorian ecosystem, an important cultural site (both pre- and post- European contact) and a potentially prominent eco-tourist destination.
The Foundation helped to fund the first stage of the restoration plan – the building of a new feral animal proof fence around the Coranderrk – providing a safe haven for maximum floristic and faunal diversity. The completion of this fence in late 2012 was a threshold achievement for the Coranderrk restoration project, and allowed effective eradication of introduced species from the site to be achieved over several years. Introduced and over-abundant vegetation has also been partially removed, and significant amounts of re-vegetation completed.
The Coranderrk floodplain has been significantly degraded over more than 60 years due to neglect, development and earthworks which have altered water flows and dramatically changed the flora populations. Rectifying this damage, and restoring the floodplain vegetation is a multi-year task. Work to remediate the Barak Creek floodplain has been undertaken with positive outcomes, and the Foundation has supported the early stages of the Boggy Creek floodplain project by funding the initial hydrology surveys of the area. These surveys set out a clear and achievable series of initial measures to commence rehabilitation and these are now underway.
The Boggy Creek restoration project is of particular significance as the area’s Mountain Swamp Gum Forest, once restored to health, will provide a suitable habitat for two highly endangered and priority species – Lowland Leadbeater’s Possums and Helmeted Honeyeaters.