New  fences to protect rare species

Carbeen trees on the Oak Park TSR near Yetman.New fences and dams are being constructed on Travelling Stock Reserves (TSRs) near Yetman to protect the endangered plant Winged Peppercress and other unique local species that are under threat from over grazing, feral pests and weeds.
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The fencing and dam construction work is being funded through the National Landcare Programin recognition of the high conservation values that have been identified on the Oak Park and Milkomi North reserves.

The Oak Park TSR is one of the last remnants of Winged Peppercress (Lepidium monoplocoides) habitat. The Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy estimates there are only about 6000 Winged Peppercress plants remaining in just 13 wild populations in New South Wales and Victoria.

As well as the Winged Peppercress, Northern Tablelands Local Land Services has identified a range of high conservation value vegetation communities on Oak Park and Milkomi North, including Weeping Myall habitat, and Poplar Box and Carbeen woodlands.

Travelling Stock Reserves were established more than a century ago to allow the movement of sheep and cattle back in the days before road transport. Because they were reserved for livestock, natural vegetation on these areas was usually left uncleared, often allowing native plants and animals to survive in intact ecological communities.

“Over time the TSRs have become important areas for environmental preservation as well as reserves for walking stock,” explained Senior Land Services Officer, Andrew Davidson.

“At the completion of the fencing and dam construction works, stewardship plans will be implemented on both Oak Park and Milkomi North to guide the ongoing management of these important reserves. The stewardship plans will ensure that grazing is managed in a way that allows rare and threatened species to coexist alongside sheep and cattle.”

The plans will also tackle weeds on both reserves including Mimosa, Coolatai grass, African Lovegrass and Green Cestrum.

The 187 hectare Oak Park reserve will be fenced into three paddocks to enable better grazing management. Overgrazing by sheep, kangaroos and rabbits is considered the biggest threat to the Winged Peppercress.

Two new dams have been installed to create water supplies for stock in the newly fenced paddocks, and old car bodies have been removed from the reserve to clean up dumped waste on these important pieces of public land.

“Controlling grazing pressure from sheep and cattle is a straightforward measure, but stopping feral pests from over grazing important habitat areas requires better infrastructure. An additional 8.5 hectare exclusion area will be fenced around the Winged Peppercress habitat to keep out both livestock and feral pests. We will be implementing an eradication program to remove rabbits entirely from the exclusion area and to control this pest elsewhere on the reserve,” said Andrew.

A new dam and extra fencing has also been installed on the 31 hectare Milkomi North TSR to protect Weeping Myall habitat.

The fencing and dam construction on Oak Park and Milkomi North is being financed through National Landcare programme funding. Andrew Davidson reports the works will require very limited future investment from Local Land Services TSR budget, while achieving significant conservation outcomes

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