Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 987
Civic Square ACT 2608
Phone: 02 62.. ....
Ms Sharon Lane
Senior Planning Officer
Parks, Conservation and Lands
Environment and Recreation
PO Box 352
CIVIC SQUARE ACT 2608
Dear Ms Lane
Friends of Grasslands (FoG) wishes to provide comments on the Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve Draft Management Plan. FoG apologises for providing these comments slightly after the closing date for submissions and appreciates the short extension given.
FoG is a non-profit organisation incorporated in the ACT and dedicated to supporting threatened grassy ecosystems in south-east Australia including through:
- providing a range of services to members/stakeholders, including identifying appropriate management
- on-ground work – for example FoG has established, with Cooma Monaro Shire Council, the Old Cooma Common Grassland Reserve, and has improved the quality of the remnant grassland there through weeding and other work
- a varied program of activities to promote understanding of grassy ecosystems, and
- dissemination of information.
FoG has over 200 members, most from the ACT and SE NSW, including professional ecologists and others associated with natural resource management sciences, farmers, landowners and managers, members of Landcare and Parkcare groups, and dedicated conservationists.
FoG members are familiar with Jerrabomberra Wetlands, and the opportunities it already provides as habitat, and for future vegetation restoration and educational activities. FoG supports the submission on the draft Plan already provided by the Conservation Council of the South East Region and Canberra (CCSERaC), especially comments on
- the need for a long term vision for restoration with native vegetation, including use of grassy ecosystem species as appropriate to complement the wetlands, and to enhance habitat values for a range of species - we note that this will be a long term goal and that significant removal/replacement of exotic vegetation is appropriate and will be required
- the need for an advisory/reference or stewardship group to support management
- the opportunity to realise the potential for education and research at the Reserve, and the need to encourage both
- the need to focus on habitat management, to limit facility development and to locate facilities sensitively (e.g. bike paths)
- the need for strategic management of buffer areas
- preferred future use of native species for rehabilitation after site works.
Further FoG comments on the draft Plan are as follows.
- Re the 'broad management direction' relating to 'conservation of distinctive landscape', a focus on the floodplain (i.e. wetlands/habitat) rather than rural character (i.e. as modified) is recommended; there is plenty of rural landscape elsewhere but the Wetlands are special. The 'high priority actions' of 'pursuing opportunities for habitat creation and enhancement' and 'vegetation management ... (to control) environmental weeds and improve habitat' are supported.
- There is potential for Jerrabomberra Wetlands to be restored towards its original landscape and vegetation, including as rare waterbird habitat. FoG understands that Allan Fox, under an Australian Nature and Society Forum grant, is preparing a natural history of the Wetlands which could provide a basis for this and is worth investigating further.
- Any restoration should be informed by the current work by TaMS (Sarah Sharp) on ACT vegetation classification.
- Previous proposals for location of educational/interpretative facilities adjacent to the Reserve should be revisited as a 'high priority action' and followed up during Lake foreshore development. The Wetlands are conveniently located in central Canberra, and this location provides an excellent opportunity for participation of school and tertiary sectors, as well as the general community, in site based activities such as restoration, research/survey and monitoring.
Thank you for providing an opportunity for FoG to make comments on the draft Plan. FoG is able to provide further ideas for, and potentially assist with, vegetation restoration work. Ideally this would be in cooperation with a range of community groups i.e. through the advisory/reference/stewardship group recommended by CCSERaC.
4 April 2007