Trust For Nature, Victoria’s dedicated private land conservation body, have finalised the ‘Westernport Priority Zone Plan.’ This plan, the second in a series of three, is an important part of the Trust for Nature’s strategic planning and on-ground conservation work on the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas and Westernport Bay.
This ‘Bays and Islands’ landscape contains approximately 25 000 hectares of inadequately protected native vegetation, most of which is considered threatened and provides important habitat for vulnerable species.
The plan was drafted with the help of Conservation Action Planning (CAP) workshops, based on the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation, and facilitated by Conservation Management.
Conservation Management was acknowledged for ‘imparting invaluable knowledge and support throughout the CAP process.’ These workshops helped to identify ecological targets to protect, and find solutions to help reduce the impact of threats.
Key threats were found to be climate change, genetic decline, vegetation clearance, weeds, disease and pest animals.
Some of the solutions for managing these threats included collaboration with Natural Resource Management bodies and local Government, working with the Bunurong people (local Indigenous representatives), improving the resilience of species, and promoting the benefits of conservation activities within the community, using the revolving fund and covenants to protect priority areas.
The ‘Bays and Islands’ project, of which this plan is a component, was funded by the Limb Family Foundation, as well as by a bequest from the late Grace Ella Fraser. The planning process demonstrates how using ‘Open Standards’ can develop a meaningful plan which can then be used for people to work together to reduce threats and increase the health of a key landscape.