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Image of TreeGoldfields Revegetation Logo
Central & Northern
Victoria's Indigenous
Nursery & Wildflower Farm
Land Rehabilitation
& Environmental

Land Rehabilitation

A Seed is Sown

Goldfields Revegetation has been concerned with environmental issues in the goldfields region of Victoria, northwest of Melbourne for many years. This concern came about because the founding owner started to see changes in the natural environment. She grew up on a family farm on the Goulburn River and noticed changes to water quality, increasing erosion and changes to vegetation.

As a result she began acquiring information about native vegetation in the goldfields area and her knowledge of the threatened Box-Ironbark forests, the trade mark ecosystem of the region, became extensive.

The knowledge of indigenous vegetation assisted her to develop her wildflower farm near Bendigo. Nowadays the nursery's knowledge of seed collection, propagation, raising of seedlings and planting means that it is a much sought after expert in the field of revegetation, especially mine-site rehabilitation.

Goldfields Revegetation Pty Ltd, still produces cut flowers in season but the main thrust of her business is supplying plants and advice to mining companies in the area including Bendigo Mining NL, Perseverance Corporation and Reef Mining NL.

The strong relationship with local mining ventures has broadened the nursery staff's knowledge and experience so that Goldfields Revegetation Pty Ltd now offers services such as site inspections and environmental management plans.

The business is not just limited to supplying the mining industry. Goldfields Revegetation also strongly believes in educating people so nursery staff are often busy conducting tours for schools, Landcare groups and resource management students from various Universities and Colleges.

Goldfields Revegetation has also supplied plants and seeds for the army at Puckapunyal, local councils, Vicroads, Telstra, Catchment Management Authorities and Landcare groups.

The Seedling Grows and Flourishes

One of Goldfield Revegetation's current projects is the rehabilitation program at Bendigo Mining NL. The Bendigo goldfield was discovered in 1851 and ceased production 45 years ago after producing a total of 22 million ounces over its 103-year life.

Bendigo Mining NL purchased the licenses and infrastructure for the entire goldfield from WMC in 1992 and commenced an active programme of exploration throughout the field.

`Techniques used could set a new benchmark in Box-Ironbark restoration.'

Bendigo Mining NL is presently in the process of excavating a 4.3km tunnel under the urban area aimed at reaching new ore bodies located beneath the city.

The techniques being used by Goldfields Revegetation at the 20ha site surrounding the portal to the tunnel could well set a new benchmark for the restoration of Victoria's Box-Ironbark forests. The pioneering measures developed by the nursery give the program a leading edge status.

A primary aim of the revegetation program is to retain the diversity of plants and animals, which existed prior to mining and that exists in nearby undisturbed areas of Box-Ironbark forest.

To maintain the genetic resources of the existing vegetation nursery staff collect seeds from the trees and shrubs on-site.

The first step in the rehabilitation process was therefore to collect seed from the site and stockpile the existing leaf matter. This material has been used to conserve the biomass and to attract insects, frogs, lizards and small mammals back to the rehabilitated site.

Logs, stumps and rocks were tagged prior to the connnencement of site works, and were replaced to provide vital habitat needed to attract native fauna. Tree removal was kept to a minimum, with scattered stands of mature trees and shrubs being retained for habitat and to aid the revegetation process.

The Box-Ironbark forest at the site was weed infested and in poor condition, a result of disturbance from mining operations and poor rehabilitation techniques at the turn of the century. One of the challenges therefore was to successfully revegetate the site while trying to eliminate the weed problem.

The areas with weeds were cordoned off and the soil from these sites removed. The soil from the remaining areas was then stockpiled for restoration.

By eliminating the weed-infested soil, the need for weed control was reduced, thus increasing the survival opportunities for native grasses and other species. It must be notedhowever that total weed eradicationis not possible as species such as Shell Grass (Briza maxima) are found throughout the Box-Ironbark forest

`Innovative germination techniques have produced
outstanding revegetation results.'

Innovative germination techniques have produced outstanding revegetation results. Flora and fauna studies conducted prior to exploration approval identified more than seventy indigenous plant species. The nursery staff's vast knowledge of the regional flora and their years of experience developing innovative germination techniques for these species have resulted in outstanding revegetation results thus far.

Within the first 18 months more than 50 species have germinated on the site. Over 5000 tube stock have now been planted on the earthen bund, constructed as a sound reduction wall around the mining site, complementing the direct seeding which has been undertaken.

Monitoring progress at the site is an important component of the rehabilitation process.

A rare species identified at the site and now being grown by the nursery ready for reintroduction is the Slender Sun Orchid (Thelymitrapauciflora). As many orchids and other species have a symbiotic relationship with fungi, their fruiting bodies were also collected from the site. The spores of the fungi have been returned to the top soil to assist plants such as the Slender Sun Orchid to successfully re-establish.

Bendigo Mining was recently judged the winner of the Rural Pride - Keep Australia Beautiful Competition in the Commercial/Industrial Site category.

The Award was presented for Outstanding Concern and Action Towards Preserving the Environment. Mr Buerger, then Managing Director of Bendigo Mining, on accepting the Award paid special tribute to Goldfields Revegetation for its work in managing Bendigo Mining's site rehabilitation. He said, "the commitment to the management and rehabilitation of the site has meant that production objectives can be met whilst maintaining high environmental standards. The nursery has the remarkable ability to involve mine operators increasing their environmental awareness."

The revegetation efforts being refined by Goldfields Revegetation at the Bendigo Mining site not only point towards a healthier Box-Ironbark ecosystem on the 20 hectare site, but also provide a model for the revegetation of disturbed areas that can be used by other miners, landcare groups and individuals throughout the region.

`A model for the revegetation of disturbed areas in the region.'

The nursery has successfully propagated the Native Cherry (Exocarpus cupressiformis). This breakthrough means that the Native Cherry can now be included in rehabilitation works and adds to the significant advancements in plant propagation associated with the mining industry such as smoke treatment.

Smoke treatment has facilitated the propagation and reintroduction of species such as the Common Fringe Myrtle (Calytrix tetragona), a native of the Box-Ironbark forests once difficult to germinate.

Such advances in the knowledge of plant propagation, seed biology and revegetation are extremely valuable to the mining industry. The ability to successfully rehabilitate large areas of land disturbed by mining operations is vital for an industry whose performance is judged by the wider community on its environmental record.

However the benefits of Goldfield Revegetation's work with mining companies is certainly not limited to the mining industry. Natural resource managers, foresters, farmers, gardeners and the wider community all benefit from these contributions to conservation and sustainable development.


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Goldfields Revegetation
Proprietor: Ashley Elliott
ABN: 30 541 252 187

Site by: APP Pty Ltd

Further Reading
Useful information can he obtained from the following:
» Indigenous Plant Catalogue - Goldfields Revegetation P/L.
Download PDF 555Kb
» Rehabilitation at Bendigo Mining - a step by step guide to mine site rehabilitation.
Download PDF 500Kb
» Did it escape From Your Garden - City of Greater Bendigo. A guide to the environmental weeds of the City of Greater Bendigo.
» Flora of Melbourne - Australian Plants Society Maroondah Inc.
» Gardening with Local Native Plants - City of Greater Bendigo.
» A Guide to the Wildflowers in the Maiden Gully Bushiand - Goldfields
Revegetation P/L.
» Environmental Weed Identification Sheets - Goldfields Revegetation P/L.