Caring for land - for rural and urban residents

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Congratulations on your move to Nillumbik, we hope you have many years of enjoyment at your new property. Council’s environment team is here to help you.  We can provide advice and support, and in some instances may be able to offer grants or rate rebates to assist you in managing the natural environment on your property.

Caring for rural land

Property management can sometimes be overwhelming, especially for new rural landholders.  We can provide you with land management advice over the phone, by email or we can visit your property (for free!). We are always happy to help.

These are some of the topics we regularly assist landholders with:

  • Pest animals and weeds
  • Pasture management for horses and other livestock
  • Property layout and planning
  • Revegetation and supplementary planting
  • Erosion issues

Contact us at via email at environment@nillumbik.vic.gov.au or phone 9433 3141.

Another organisation that can assist you with land management support is Landcare.

You might like to consider joining one of the 11 Landcare groups operating in Nillumbik.

In addition, Council periodically hosts events and workshops related to sustainable land management. Find out what’s coming up here and sign up to receive our regular environment and sustainability e-newsletter.

Land Management Grants

Nillumbik Land Management Incentive Program (LMIP)

As well as receiving advice, you may also be eligible to receive a land management grant from Council to help with the costs involved in improving your property, addressing land degradation, and/or protecting and enhancing biodiversity. Click here or contact us to find out more. 

 

Liveable Communities, Liveable Waterways Program

If you own land that fronts onto a river or creek, you may be eligible for Melbourne Water funding to help you manage and maintain your waterway. This includes weed control, revegetation, stock exclusion fencing and off-waterway stock watering infrastructure. Click here to find out more.

 

Rate rebates

You may qualify for one or more of the following rebates, which will reduce your annual Council rates bill. 

Farm Rate:

The Farm Rate is aimed at helping to support farmers in the Shire, particularly in recognition of drought impacts and climate change.

Sustainable Agricultural Rebate:

The Sustainable agriculture rebate (SAR) rewards and supports sustainable agricultural land management practices.

Trust for Nature Conservation Rebate

The Trust for Nature rebate rewards and supports landowners who have a Trust for Nature Conservation Covenant on their property.

Click here or contact us to find out more.

 

Wildlife Friendly Fencing

 

Wildlife-friendly fencing

What is the problem?

Fences are important to manage a rural property to contain stock, domestic pets, safety and to delineate property boundaries. Fences can be an obstacle for wildlife movement, preventing access to habitat necessary for feeding, migration, roosting and breeding. Fences can lead to entanglement resulting in injury or death. They can also funnel wildlife along roads if there are no adequate crossings, causing issues for both wildlife and road-users.

Fauna-friendly fencing

A fauna-friendly fence allows the movement of fauna through the landscape and reduces the risk of entanglement or injury. No single fence is fauna friendly given the variation between animal size, shape and method of mobility. However, fencing design and type needs to be specific to an area and the types of animals which occur there.

Fencing materials

Constructing wildlife friendly fences has several benefits, including reduced maintenance, lower costs of installation, being more aesthetically pleasing and better for the welfare of stock.

Barbed wire is a serious risk to wildlife with Grey-headed Flying Foxes, microbats, gliding possums such as Sugar Gliders and owls particularly at risk. Most animals that become entangled on barbed wire die. It is estimated 10’s to 100’s of thousands of wildlife die every year due to entanglement on barbed wire.

Choose fencing materials suitable to the character of your area.

Wood, brick, metal and plain wire can be used in combination to create an effective fence.

Use electric fencing, wire mesh or ringlock carefully as this can limit wildlife movement.

Features of fauna friendly fencing:

  • Consider if a fence is really necessary, or if you could define your property using vegetation or posts
  • Design your fence to allow wildlife to pass easily
  • Make the fence visible to wildlife, with a plastic coated sight wire or other means to highlight the fence
  • Use plain wire for the top two strands of the fence
  • Keep fence height to no more than 1.2m in height to allow larger animals such as kangaroos to move across the top
  • Leave a gap of at least 50cm between the ground and the bottom wire
  • If mesh is preferred, then still maintain a gap between the bottom and the ground of at least 50cm. Use mesh with squares of no less than 15cm in size. A capping rail along the top allows for easy movement.
  • Plant vegetation along fencelines to assist the movement of wildlife
  • Use electric fencing with caution and keep the hotwire above 50cm to allow for small animals to move underneath
  • Replace barbed wire with plain wire, or place the barb wire inside split pipe to protect animals from the barbs
  • Consider installing gates to allow wombats and other ground species to move through or poles to allow wildlife like koalas to climb over.

Property boundaries

A constructed fence may not be necessary to define your property boundary. Consider using a planted screen of indigenous plants, or hardwood fence posts at regular intervals to delineate boundaries. If this doesn’t suit, a simple rural fence of high tension 3 plain wires,  with the bottom wire 50cm from the ground, allows wildlife movement while defining the boundary.

Privacy

Screening using suitable trees, shrubs and grasses provides the best privacy while also adding considerable amenity to your property. Where this is not enough, a solid fence with a 50cm gap at the bottom may provide adequate privacy. Or consider overlapping solid panels with vegetation planted between to provide privacy and still allowing wildlife movement.

Dogs

The presence of dogs does not deter wildlife from entering a property. Dogs should be confined to an area near the house for safety and securing. For small domestic areas, fauna proof fencing may be used to separate wildlife from dogs. The safest option is a solid, 1.8m high fence, free of vegetation and with bracing inside. Mesh fencing or chain wire can be used, but this will allow fauna movement. Owners should be aware of this and watchful of fauna while on their property.

Road crossings

Consider how wildlife move across the landscape in your area and allow for safe road crossings. This might involve fencing with gaps to allow wildlife to pass through, and prevent funnelling into dangerous locations.

Maintenance

It is important to maintain fences and check for damage. Loose wire can entangle wildlife and poorly strained fences are more likely to trap wildlife. Regular checks can also help in determining where wildlife are regularly crossing and residents can implement measures to assist wildlife passage.

There are also many disused barbed wire fences across the region, consider removing these and disposing of the wire if no longer in use.

Council is able to help in recommending materials and layout of fences to be wildlife friendly. Officers can also recommend indigenous plants for screening and which provide habitat to native animals.

A fence may require a planning permit in certain areas of Nillumbik, please contact Planning Services on 9433 3343 before you engage a contractor and begin works.

 

 

Caring for urban land

Nillumbik’s urban areas are home to many indigenous and native plants and animals.  The Nillumbik’s Native Animals(PDF, 1MB) booklet provides a great pocket guide to local wildlife.

Many of these species are in our urban bushland reserves - which are generally surrounded by residential properties.  If you are able to provide conditions and habitat in your home garden that are welcoming to native plants and animals, you will be helping to create larger areas of habitat and to create stepping stones and habitat corridors between them.

How you can help:

Plant indigenous plants in the garden

Many of Nillumbik’s local indigenous plant species make ideal garden plants as they are adapted to thrive under local conditions, they fit beautifully within the Nillumbik landscape, and they look great in any garden, providing spectacular displays of colour and texture throughout the seasons. 

Live local Plant local is a useful guide to planting in Nillumbik.

 

Say no to environmental weeds

Understanding and avoiding garden plants that become weeds which invade our bushland helps to protect our reserves, and improves your own property.  

 

Common Weeds of Nillumbik is a useful guide to identify weeds in Nillumbik.

 

Keep your cat at home

You may like to join the wonderful community of cat owners dedicated to providing a cat with a happy home whilst protecting wildlife - SafeCat.

 

Control pest animals such as rabbits

Contact Council for advice via email at environment@nillumbik.vic.gov.au or phone 9433 3141.  

Find out about the pest animals in Nillumbik

Learn how to garden for wildlife

Your garden is a wonderful place to create a special home or stepping stone for native birds, mammals, reptiles and insects. By participating in the Nillumbik Gardens for Wildlife program you will recieve free advice on how to create habitat elements within your garden, will join a network of like-minded people sharing stories and ideas on caring for nature, and will reap the joys of having wildlife visit or live in your area.

 

Join your local Friends Group

You may like to join a local Friends group and volunteer on a regular basis in a bushland reserve near you, helping to enhance the natural values.

Most groups meet once a month and are a wonderful way to connect with nature, Council’s bushland crew (our Enviroworks team), your neighbours and local wildlife.

Find your local group

 

Contact us at via email at environment@nillumbik.vic.gov.au or phone 9433 3141.