Tuesday, 17 May 2022
    09
    Feb
    Environment

    Ecologists turn plantation into wetland

    It was 2016, Mark Bachmann was stumped, ABC News reports.

    He and his team of scientists were three years into transforming a huge tract of agricultural land into the wetland it once was, but had no idea how their small, regional, not-for-profit could negotiate the final step: to buy 1,000 acres of commercial blue gum plantation.

    That was when he spotted the platypus.

    “I drove out after a big flood to see how our two trial swamps were looking, I’d just taken a few steps off the road and saw a black thing moving up along the bank of a deep drain,” Mr Bachmann said.

    “I thought it might be a water rat, but then I got a look at the bill and I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s a platypus!'” he said.

    That platypus appeared at the right time, providing Mr Bachmann with inspiration in the face of what seemed, at that point, nearly impossible.

    It’s not easy for a small, science-based environmental organisation like Nature Glenelg Trust to buy a 1,035-acre blue-gum plantation, strip it of trees, allow it to flood, and transform it back into wetlands.

    “We’re rural people, practical people, we work with farmers a lot, science underpins what we do,” Mr Bachmann said.

    “There are no layers of bureaucracy; we are a very lean operation, but we get a lot done.”

    FULL STORY

    Ecologists buy 1,000-acre blue gum plantation and transform it into wetland it once was (ABC News)

    PHOTO

    The abrupt form of Victoria’s Mount Sturgeon looms behind the new swamps. (Supplied: Nature Glenelg Trust)