MEDIA RELEASE 23 June 2021 |

Call for support funding package for parks and wildlife in Dandenong and Macedon Ranges.

Following the wild winds and storms of almost a fortnight ago, local and state conservation groups are calling for an assessment of the impact of the devastating storms on the national parks, conservation areas and wildlife of the areas impacted in the Dandenong and Macedon Ranges.

The devastating impacts of the storms on the national parks and reserves are immense, with swathes of trees succumbing to the intense easterly winds, sodden soils and the increase in disturbance.

As the clean-up in the Dandenong and Macedon Ranges continues, it is vital to allow for biodiversity recovery of the national park, by ensuring more habitat is not lost, and that the remaining trees and national parks values are not damaged.

Over 1 million visitors alone come to the Dandenong Ranges every year to visit the national parks and reserves1 and enjoy the amazing forest and wildlife that call them home.

Southern Dandenong’s Landcare President Robert Pergl said:

“Recent storm damage on Melbourne’s doorstep at the Dandenong Ranges highlights the need for more funding to manage these unique bushland areas. The recent disturbance from the storms, will lead to a flourish of invasive weed growth, amplifying a pre-existing issue that needs serious government commitment for future conservation management.”

The groups are calling for a biodiversity and park recovery package to:

  • understand and manage the impact of the storm on the parks and biodiversity;
  • the control of pest species that will flourish due to the mass disturbance;
  • assess habitat impacted within the parks and reserves;
  • fix walking tracks and park infrastructure.

Matt Ruchel, Executive Director of the Victorian National Parks Association said:

“The Dandenong and Macedon Ranges are a much loved area for Victorians, and we need to understand the impact of these devastating storms on our parks and wildlife and how we can care for them and their values.”

“It is critical we avoid or minimise further damage to the affected bushland areas and have funds available to rehabilitate natural values where possible.”

“We have a concern about increased destruction within national parks from the use of heavy machinery or salvage logging approaches. Great care needs to be taken while the clean-up begins, to avoid further impact.”

Gayle Osborne of Wombat Forestcare said:

“The scale of the damage in the National Parks and reserves of the Dandenong and Macedon Ranges is immense, but patchy in places or not uniform. This highlights the need to understand the impact of last week’s storm on our parks and important habitats and native wildlife.”

“It is important not to rush in with heavy machinery, except to clear infrastructure, as the best way forward to protect the fragile environment needs to be assessed.”