Almost two-and-a half years since two large wildfires burnt 14,000 hectares of bushland near Kimba, a $100,000 vegetation protection project managed by the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board is coming to a close with the affected land well on its way to recovery.
The project has been supported by the Australian Government's Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat and the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board, in conjunction with the landholders of the affected area, located 40 kilometres east of Kimba.
Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board planning and assessment officer Andrew Freeman said since the bushfire recovery program began on the site early in 2020, they have been coordinating activities to assist recovery of the bushland and the wildlife it supports.
"These activities have included erosion control works as well as pest and weed control actions," he said.
"Local data from exclosures showed that overabundant kangaroos in the area would have made plant recovery tough, but our control program has made a real difference, giving surviving plants an opportunity to re-shoot while new seedlings have been able to survive.
"During the initial stages of recovery, the area received below average rainfall and experienced a number of significant wind events which made it difficult for the bushland to recover.
"This all changed in mid-2021 when consistent rain began to fall before flooding in January 2022. While this flooding caused lots of damage to nearby infrastructure such as roads, it has really sped up bushland recovery."
One of the highlights has been the successful recruitment of threatened species such as the chalky wattle (Acacia cretacea) and the Yellow Swainson-pea (Swainsona pyrophila) and even regeneration of old burnt sandalwood trees (Santalum spicatum).
A number of landowners were affected by these fires but John Read and Katherine Moseby lease most of the land that was burnt and are excited to see how the bush is recovering.
"We're really pleased to see trees and shrubs re-sprouting and new seedlings and dense grasses take hold in this area," she said.
"The funding has meant kangaroo and goat numbers could be reduced which has given seedlings a much better chance of survival.
"We are thankful for this funding and the support from the landscape board - keeping the herbivores under control has led to widespread recruitment of grasses and shrubs since the rain.
"It was really difficult seeing our land so badly affected by fire but the plant diversity we now have is incredible."
With the Australian Government funding now spent, landowners such as John and Katherine will continue to undertake actions to maximise the recovery of the bushland into the future.
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