Lakes revegetation project under way

Work is continuing in the Crater Lakes area focusing on the targeted removal of pest weeds and plants, following a $50,000 Limestone Coast Landscape Board Grassroots Grant provided to the Mount Gambier City Council.

Work has recently started on the Keegan Drive side of the crater rim in collaboration with Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation to plant seedlings as part of the revegetation of the area, following the funding which was provided late last year.

Council’s Engineering technical officer Sinaway Georgiou said the revegetation process followed the removal of pest weeds and plants around the slopes of the crater rim late last year via drone technology and involves the use of a biomat control blanket and native grasses such as wallaby, kangaroo and poa as recommended by Limestone Coast Landscape officers.

“Revegetation will help suppress the regrowth and re-occurrence of pest weeds and plants and minimise erosion,” he said.

“Given the historical and cultural significance of the area, Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation has been engaged to assist with planting of the native grasses. Local plant and seed nursery Southern Ground specialise in local indigenous plants and have propagated the native grasses used in the revegetation project.

“Acknowledging the importance of the Crater Lakes as a unique natural environment, our work in conserving and maintaining this area creates a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with our First Nations community, build relationships and further enhance the space as a place of shared cultural learning and interpretation. This is the start of a long-term commitment to working with our cultural leaders as we explore the potential of the Crater Lakes into the future.”

Mr Georgiou said the Grassroots Grant had enabled council to implement actions that will protect the heritage landscape values of the area.

“Council recognises that as part of the ongoing commitment to the Crater Lakes Conservation Management Plan pest weeds and plants require ongoing maintenance and a long-term commitment and this grant funding enables us to allocate funds to commit to the work required,” he said.

“The partnership with Limestone Coast Landscape Board on this project has set clear environmental goals and outcomes and is strengthening partnerships in the community through input from local schools and traditional landowners.”

Aboriginal Elder, Southern Ground representative and Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation director Uncle Doug Nicholls said Southern Ground established native and indigenous plants and seeds to supply to schools, councils and farms around the region and work closely with the Limestone Coast Landscape Board, Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation and local high school students with projects such as the Crater Lakes revegetation project.

“We collect local species to suit the local landscape. These have a high survival rate while being better for local birds, lizards and other wildlife,” he said.

Limestone Coast Landscape Board Engagement Coordinator, First Nations Partnerships David New said it was important to “undertake works on country to look after country”.

“The Lartara-Wirkeri cultural governance framework was developed by the Limestone Coast Landscape Board with the South East Aboriginal Focus Group as a tool towards working appropriately with all First Nations people to create change and explore opportunities within our organisation,” he said.

“This revegetation project in the Crater Lakes area enables us to showcase the labour hire opportunities coordinated with Burrandies which is in its early stages, but we are looking to grow the project and also incorporate cultural training.”

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