Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 987
Civic Square ACT 2608
Phone: 02 62.. ....
Dr Hanna Jaireth
Secretary, Standing Committee on Planning and Environment
ACT Legislative Assembly
GPO Box 1020
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Dear Dr Jaireth
Thank you for inviting comment on the Standing Committee's 'Water Use and Management Inquiry'.
Friends of Grassland (FoG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of native temperate grassy ecosystems, such as grasslands and woodlands. FoG is based in Canberra and its members, numbering over 200, include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public. FoG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with conservation of grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on‑ground work.
FoG is keen that our scarce water is used efficiently, including to retain and use local and regional native plant species which are adapted to local climatic conditions. Despite the extreme dryness of recent years, some of the plant species that are performing well are grassy woodland species - grasses, forbs, shrubs and trees. FoG would like to encourage promotion of, and support for, the use of such species across the ACT - including by Government - in both public landscaping/gardens and greenspaces, and on private land including urban nature strips and front/backyards. Such promotion and support would relate to:
- appropriate management of existing plantings (e.g. when and how to mulch and water)
- choice of species for future plantings
- choice of appropriate timing for planting (e.g. autumn)
- guidance on how to plant for success and to care for seedlings (e.g. to promote good root growth), and
- careful water use to limit competition from weed species.
FoG notes that promotion of water efficient gardening has already occurred through local media and Government publications. FoG is a small group, but could assist Government - with relevant other groups, such as the Australian Native Plant Society (although we have not discussed this with them yet) - to support an extended 'garden with local species' approach. FoG is already discussing appropriate relandscaping with staff at Parliament House. Use of appropriate native species complements remnants conserved and managed in the ACT and across the region.
29 October 2007