The Molonglo Valley is located about 7.5-15km west of the Canberra Centre, and was originally identified for future urban development area to accommodate approximately 55,000 new residents over the next 30 years in 2004 Canberra Spatial Plan.
However, Molonglo Valley provides habitat for a variety of flora, fauna and vegetation communities, such as Yellow Box-Red Gum Grassy Woodland, Brown Treecreeper, Pink-tailed Worm-lizard, Stone Gecko, Marbled Gecko, Eastern Copper-tailed Striped Skink, Boulenger’s Skink, the Nobbi Dragon, Eastern Long Necked Turtle, Black Headed Snake, the Platypus and the Eastern Wallaroo.
Therefore, to avoid and mitigate impacts, the “Molonglo River Park” has been established and managed as an offset site along the East Molonglo River Corridor by the ACT Government. I have worked in this area for two times as a volunteer with Conservation Volunteers Australia.
Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) is an independent organization which aims to protect, maintain and restore the Australian environment, e.g. landscapes, habitats, species and heritage. CVA always cooperate with their project partners that include regional councils, national parks, museums, landcare groups, conservation departments and other national conservation agencies, and provide various projects to the volunteers from different countries.
Barrer Hill Restoration
For the first time (27th July), we went to the Barrer Hill Restoration Site in “Molonglo River Park” offset area. Our work was to remove approximately 10,000 small tree guards and stakes along grassland habitat and hill top areas. The corflute guards and stakes were transported to the park depot on site for recycling while the paper guards and bamboo stakes were disposed of. This project was requested by ACT Environment for helping the restoration treatments of the Barrer restoration area.
My volunteering in Barrer hill is just a small part of the long-term restoration project. After we completed the project, we will have lots of different types of grass, forbs and small shrubs, which will provide different structures, different habitats for various species such as lizards, ants, birds or small mammals, and long-term outcomes for Box-Gum Woodland and the Pink-tailed Worm Lizard in Molonglo Valley. Therefore, the restoration treatment on Barrer restoration area is very important, and our activities will make those species more strong there and everything works better.
For the second time (12th October), we focused on the water quality in Molonglo River. The lower Molonglo river corridor and its riparian zone once had high aquatic ecological values and provided habitat for a number of threatened fish species, including the EPBC listed Macquarie Perch and Murray Cod. However, the values have diminished over the years due to the increasing urbanisation, discharges from Lake Burley Griffin, residues from mining in the upper Molonglo Valley, and the other impacts from adjacent land uses. Therefore, improving water quality and removing the waste from the river are very important for regeneration of Molonglo River. Thus, we worked together with the staffs from ACT Park and Conservation Servers to remove the waste from the riparian zone in Molonglo Valley offset area.
Volunteering with Conservation Volunteers Australia in Molonglo Valley is simple and basic. However, it is really useful for protection and restoration in this area, which will help the ACT government to develop Molonglo Valley offset area and protect the unique flora, fauna and vegetation communities of Canberra.
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ACT Planning and Land Authority, September 2011. The Molonglo Valley Plan for the Protection of Matters of National Environmental Significance (NES Plan)
ACT Planning and Land Authority, March 2010. Draft Strategic Assessment Report of the Molonglo Valley Plan for the Protection of Matters of National Environmental Significance
ACT Planning and Land Authority, 13 July 2011. MOLONGLO AND NORTH WESTON EPBC ACT STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT, the Supplementary Assessment Report.
Conservation Volunteers. What we do. Available at: http://conservationvolunteers.com.au/what-we-do/ (Accessed: 14 October 2016).