Land management

burn-weed-controlThe Wildlife Sanctuary was set up in 1967 as a project in the restoration and management of indigenous flora and fauna. The Gresswell Forest Nature Conservation Reserve sits just to the North East of the Sanctuary. The previous site of the Mont Park Hospital, this land came under the management of La Trobe University in 1978.

Through the efforts of Sanctuary staff and many volunteers, this area has become a beautiful forest and natural habitat reserve which the public can access (no bikes or dogs allowed). Although, from 2012, the Reserve is no longer under the management of the Wildlife Sanctuary, we continue to work with Parks Victoria to help in activities such as restricting feral animals and back burning before bushfire season

Land management issues

  • Restricting earthworks and development near biologically significant areas
  • Establishing habitat buffers between areas of development and areas of biological significance
  • Stopping disturbance and dumping of rubbish and weeds
  • Weed control
  • Improving levels of water turbidity and retarding water run off and effluent
  • The protection of indigenous vegetation from clearing, cutting and removal
  • Instigating and maintaining a revegetation program to reduce habitat fragmentation, particularly understorey species
  • The control of domestic and feral cats and roaming dogs
  • Promoting natural regeneration by leaving unmown blocks, containing slashed or grazed perimeter firebreaks

Preparation for drought and bushfire

We work closely with the Melbourne Fire Brigade (MFB) and the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) to manage the fire risk each year in the area surrounding the Sanctuary. Prior to each fire danger period, the University has completed a number of key fire protection measures, including:

  • A network of 45 truck-sized tracks and fire-breaks (covering more than 19km) are pruned, mown and otherwise maintained.
  • There are regular localised controlled burns, conducted each year, to reduce fine-fuel loads and dead weed patches, and help reduce the risk of wild fire; 20 were successfully carried out in 2008.
  • Regular inspections by the local MFB fire crews from Bundoora fire station, and yearly on site inspections with the MFB Northern Zone fire safety Commander, are undertaken to assess preparedness; detailed inspections were conducted in December and November 2008.
  • Signposting of fire emergency numbers (000 and 9479 2222) are included on all new signage.
  • Water hydrants for MFB use are located along all streets, within easy reach of the Sanctuary and Nature Conservation Reserves.