Freshwater Creek in sight for restoration

December 1, 2022 BY

Mary Rose Coleman (blue shirt) surrounded by volunteers at a recent tree planting along Freshwater Creek. Photos: SUPPLIED

LOCAL farmer Mary Rose Coleman and a band of Surf Coast volunteers are on a mission to expand and replenish Freshwater Creek’s depleted habitat.

The Re-Wilding Freshwater Creek group planted an additional 150 indigenous trees and shrubs along the banks of Freshwater Creek, as part of a long-term strategy to strengthen the area’s habitat.

“The day’s work builds on an earlier planting in September where members of our local community reinstated around 900 indigenous plants along a bare streamside in Merrijig Creek,” Ms Coleman said.

Freshwater Creek’s lone koala is a direct result of efforts made by Re-Wilding Freshwater Creek volunteers.

“Bit by bit we’re putting back lost local habitat.”

Re-Wilding Freshwater Creek remains an active partner with the Spring Creek Biolink project, which is working to reinforce habitat links between the Otway Plain and Otway Range bioregions.

“It’s important for people to understand that the koala still exists in the catchment area of Spring Creek and Merrijig Creek,” Surf Coast Energy Group representative Graeme Stockton said.

Volunteers of all ages are encouraged to join the plantings of a total of 800 indigenous trees along Merrijig Creek in Freshwater Creek.

“However, they are in very low numbers and will likely disappear altogether if we don’t intervene.

“It’s worth knowing also that restoring habitat for koala brings direct benefits for a whole raft of species including woodland birds, which are also in decline nationally.

“Really, it’s up to us. We can either lament the losses or we can resolve to put it back. The choice is ours.”

SCEG has a large focus on Spring Creek valley, while Torquay District Landcare Group is working with the local farming network and Re-Wilding Freshwater Creek is re-building those ecological bridges back toward the Otway Ranges.

All three local groups have a focus on rebuilding grassy woodland and associated habitats, working strategically together to achieve those aims.

A total of 800 indigenous trees are being planted along Merrijig Creek in Freshwater Creek.

Volunteers are always welcome and can join either one of the three organisations to assist in project completion.

SCEG’s Mr Stockton can be reached on 0425 752 648, Torquay District Landcare Group’s contact is Lesley Evans at [email protected] and Re-Wilding Freshwater Creek’s organisers can be contacted via its Facebook page.

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