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Help save Melbourne's grasslands and give threatened species a chance

The native grasslands that once spread from Melbourne to Portland have been vastly diminished.

Scientists believe that since European settlement 90-95% of these grasslands have been destroyed, and that as little as 1% remains as high quality habitat.

Grasslands and associated ecosystems (such as Grassy Woodlands) are both listed as 'critically endangered' under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, and are home to 25 fauna species and 32 flora species listed as endangered or threatened.

The grasslands around Melbourne contain abundant native plants and animals - in many ways they are like an ecological Noah's Ark.

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These include the critically endangered Golden Sun Moth, the Plains Wanderer, Growling Grass Frog (pictured) and Striped Legless Lizard, plus numerous important native plants such as the critically endangered Plains Rice-flower and Matted Flax-lily.

Often called wildflower meadows by enthusiasts, native grasslands are a uniquely Victorian part of our natural heritage. But Melbourne's urban sprawl is now threatening what's left.


Urban growth corridors

Right now plans are being developed for new urban growth corridors in Melbourne's north, west, south-east and Sunbury regions.

These plans could result in the destruction of thousands of hectares of critical habitatto the survival of threatened species such as the Growling Grass Frog, Golden Sun Moth and Southern Brown Bandicoot.


So what's the problem?

Melbourne is currently experiencing huge pressures to expand its urban growth boundary.

This means that some of the last remaining intact native grasslands that provide habitats for numerous threatened creatures (to be precise, 25 animals and 32 plants in these areas have been listed as nationally significant) may be lost to us.

That's why the Victorian National Parks Association has identified 40 sites and key habitat corridors of high conservation value. And right now, we need your help to save these important areas from the bulldozers.

With your help we can pressure both state and federal governments to:

  • Protect high conservation habitat areas within the existing Melbourne growth area by making them part of the urban conservation parks network.
  • Protect the location of endangered species and habitat in urban growth areas.
  • Deliver on promises for new grassland reserves outside the urban growth areas.
  • Develop detailed regional conservation and biodiversity plans over the next 6-12 months to optimise preservation of native grasslands and wildflower meadows.

This is not just a campaign about protecting endangered and threatened species. It's a campaign to protect rare native grasslands and the creatures that inhabit them; frogs, insects, mammals and incredibly beautiful wildflowers that we are in severe danger of wiping out.

Scientists estimate that only 1% of the original 870,000 hectares of rich Victorian grasslands now remain intact.

Nobody wants to lose these rare habitats and the creatures and plants that live there. And the VNPA believes Melbourne can meet the desire of the city to grow and still protect these microcosms of intact habitat.


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