Improving sustainable management practices of urban bushland reserves by understanding the water cycle - Maree Keenan

22 August 2016 00:35

M. Keenan (1), B. Salmi (2), A. Moodie (1)
1 Infrastructure Services, City of Greater Dandenong, Dandenong
2 Senior Engineer, Water Technology, Notting Hill

The health of native vegetation reserves across urban areas is declining, and the City of Greater Dandenong is no exception. Water stress is believed to be a key contributing factor in the decline in the ecological health of vegetation. The Millennium Drought may have contributed to the loss of native vegetation; additionally, major infrastructure works, urbanisation and other land use changes can disrupt the water cycle. Altered catchment hydrology may result in the drying out of soils and, consequently reduce ecosystem resilience to other negative impacts, such as climate change associated reduced mean annual rainfall and greater mean annual temperature. The City of Greater Dandenong, with the assistance of GHD, has developed a framework to consider the environmental values of native vegetation reserves and to identify threats relating to the water cycle. A key element of the framework is to gain an understanding of the water requirements of the species or ecological communities of a site and their dependence on the current water regime. This framework was applied to three reserves within Greater Dandenong and the results for Fotheringham Reserve are discussed in this paper. Council plans to use the framework to better understand environmental water requirements of its bushland reserves and subsequently inform management plans. It is hoped that this holistic management approach will render Council’s reserves more resilient to future changes.

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