Fencing out deer
Case Study: Yinnar, Yinnar South Landcare Group – VIC
Grant Ridge Environmental Services installing Gallagher Mega Anchor fencing at Billy’s Creek Valley site.
Established in 2007 the Yinnar, Yinnar South Landcare Group works on public and private land to achieve habitat protection, revegetation, weed control, water quality, and increased community knowledge and awareness of the environment and its sustainability.
The project aimed to fence out pest animals including deer from the newly revegetated Billy’s Creek area, in doing so increasing biodiversity and contributing to a future wildlife corridor for arboreal animals and birds, allowing them to move between the Morwell and Tarra-Bulga National Parks.
Because of the difficult terrain, the Yinnar, Yinnar South Landcare Group chose to use Gallagher Mega Anchor for its ability to be installed using only light machinery and Gallagher Westonfence for its exclusion capability and the reduced number of steel posts needed to be hauled up the side of the mountain.
- After identifying that the Billy’s Creek Valley site was site too steep and remote for volunteers to work on the fence, several volunteers from Yinnar, Yinnar South Landcare Group worked on designing the fence perimeter and establishing a useable access route.
- The group employed Grant Ridge Environmental Services to transport materials to the fence site, with a generator to run the tools needed to erect the main posts being established. A group member (a former road engineer) probed the fence-line to make sure that there were no rocks under the surface that would impede the post installation.
- Due to the advancing season, the group sprayed out the site and broadcast seed before the fence was established.
- Using materials provided by Gallagher and others purchased by the group, Yinnar, Yinnar South Landcare Group erected a 360m browser-exclusion fence on a section of their large revegetation project at the site.
- 44 people were involved in the project, including 23 volunteers working over 180 volunteer hours.
The environmental outcomes achieved by the project will be made clear in August 2022, however early results for the regeneration of native flora are encouraging.
To support the fencing work and initial seeding, the Yinnar, Yinnar South Landcare Group plan to add tubestock to speed up the establishing tree canopy and shade for arboreal mammals and birds, with the expectation that when canopy trees are large enough, birds will assist with spreading more seed.
The group are now aware that the site is home to a number of koalas likely to be the genetically unique Strzelecki or South Gippsland koala. Powerful Owls and Greater Gliders have also been seen recently in the almost adjacent Morwell National Park.
As the pace of extinction of Australian native fauna accelerates, the Yinnar, Yinnar South Landcare Group plans to continue their work in habitat enhancement to future-proof the area from threats including pest animals and environmental disasters.
Community and Social Outcomes
In order to distribute seed before fencing took place, the Yinnar, Yinnar South Landcare Group learned to recognise target species and collect seed responsibly and effectively. With the knowledge on seed collection gained from this project, they are now well placed to assist Parks Victoria in teaching new volunteers to collect seed for revegetation activities in Morwell National Park.
Given the work and funding that this project requires, the group hopes to use this project as means raise awareness in the local community of the positive impacts of removing pest deer from native habitats, and call for further action to be taken.
Finally, the Yinnar, Yinnar South Landcare Group’s experience in costing the project has also supported their outreach work with local landholders, giving them the skills to advise on work in similar locations and provide recommendations for suitable contractors.
“This project introduced our group to the technical side of erecting electric fences and taught us how it was done and how much it costs. This information will be useful to others, as the deer problem locally is getting worse, and not much seems to be being done about it. It has also bought us some time to work out how to remove feral or wandering sheep from our revegetation block.” – Jay Duncan, Billy’s Creek project leader, Yinnar, Yinnar South Landcare Group
Fencing the site was a critical first step in removing pest animals from the Billy’s Creek Valley area and providing a protected area for native flora and fauna to thrive. Recently, the group found that tubestock to the planted outside the fence during winter was quickly pulled out by browsing animals, reinforcing the need for protected revegetation areas.
As they wait for growth within the newly fenced area, the Yinnar, Yinnar South Landcare Group are collecting seed and starting plants in their greenhouse to add to the existing vegetation. When the plants inside the current enclosed area are established to withstand predation, they also hope to relocate components of the fence to nearby sites to create a new exclusion area.
Due to the success of the project, Yinnar, Yinnar South Landcare Group have secured funding to supply browser guards to continue to plant linking canopy vegetation elsewhere on the overall site to contribute to establishing a new wildlife corridor. They have also been in dialogue with VP Plantations, Parks Victoria and neighbouring landholders to encourage further action on reducing deer numbers.
Gallagher Electric fence energizer used to improve the Odonata Foundation’s ability to keep foxes out of the fenced sanctuary.