Re-wilding – the project

Chewton Bushlands Association's Charles Affleck, Hannah Nicholas and Scott Hall - with a floating habitat pontoon - look forward to starting the new dam re-wilding pilot project at Chewton. Photo: Eve Lamb

A new project at Chewton aims to bring the wild back to local dams.
The re-wilding project is being undertaken by Chewton Bushlands Association which has just received a $3000 grant for the innovative project through the latest round of Mount Alexander Shire Council’s community grants funding.
The initial pilot re-wilding project will be carried out on the Chewton Bushlands, Trust For Nature covenanted property of Tim Purdie and Hannah Nicholas with public workshops and practical working bees held to share the dam re-wilding knowhow.
“It’s envisaged that the re-wilding project will create a stunning example of what can be done for the environment on one property and thus be a solid basis for a larger grant application for a rollout in the Chewton Bushlands and the broader shire,” the association’s Scott Hall says.
The restoration of habitat in and around the two initial interlinked dams will use carefully selected indigenous plants, and the project will incorporate pontoons as small floating islands of habitat for insects, birds and animals – plus installation of nest boxes for birds and mammals.
“Dams can become a haven for endangered species as well as improving water quality, and a further goal is drought proofing the dam as much as possible with appropriate plants,” Scott says
“We will be conducting free workshops and forums so that you can create your own eco-friendly dam.
“One of the workshops will be presented by Damien Cook, who is a renowned expert of improving dam habitat, from Rakali Ecological Consulting.
“Another workshop will show you how to make your own inexpensive aquatic floating pontoon. Wildlife like birds, turtles and butterflies love these floating islands.
“What we’re trying to do is to re-wild and, as much as we can, get it back to pre-white conditions. More in today’s Castlemaine Mail, Friday May 29, 2020

Eve Lamb
Journalist and photographer Eve Lamb has a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) degree from Deakin University and a Master of Arts (Professional Writing) from Deakin University. She has worked for many regional newspapers including the Hamilton Spectator and the Warrnambool Standard, and has also worked for metro daily, The Hobart Mercury, and The Sunday Tasmanian. Eve has also contributed to various magazines including Australian Cyclist.