Sutton Grange Landcare GroupSutton Grange Landcare Group
The vision of Sutton Grange Landcare Group (SGLG) is: to establish and maintain an appropriate ecological balance of the lands within the area.
SGLG is run by an Executive Committee of about 10 people elected by all members at the AGM. Apart from the roles of President, Secretary and Treasurer; Committee Members have Task Forces. These include: weeds, foxes & rabbits, trees and library. The Committee keep in touch with members through the circulation of a Newsletter distributed several times a year.
The group welcomes new members and volunteers. For further information please contact Derek Smith, Secretary, by email using the option below.
History of Sutton Grange
The Jarra people (the DjaDja Wurrung tribe) are the traditional owners of the area we call Sutton Grange.
For 200 years, sheep grazing and land clearing has ultimately produced the open park like appearnace that we see today.
Prior to this period, Sutton Grange would have been an open woodland with a delicately balanced ecology incorporating a tall tree canopy supported by an understorey of shorter trees and shrubs in turn supported by grasses, herbs and groundcovers.
Geologically, Sutton Grange is granite country with a Metamorphic aureol surrounding the northern reaches of Mt Alexander.
History of Sutton Grange Landcare
SGLG was formed on 24th October 1990. Today, SGLG comprises a practical group of dedicated members drawn from both large and small landowners, thereby representing the emerging demographics of the region.
Mt Alexander stands as a natural boundary to the west with the Coliban River an eastern boundary. Pollards Road to the south and Huddle Road to the north, complete the area of Sutton Grange Landcare Group's responsibility.
However, these borders are not set in concrete and SGLG have liased with neighbouring Landcare Groups (including Ravenswood, Axe Creek Rd North Harcourt / Sedgwick) to deal with crucial issues across all boundaries including Gorse, Pattersons Curse and Rabbits.
Rabbits and Foxes
One of the key reasons which orginally brough founding members together, was the damage rabbits were creating in Sutton Grange. In the first five years, rabbit control was a major focus, with 50% of funds spent on management strategies. 15 years on - rabbit control is now an integrated part of all Landcare management strategies for project undertaken by the Sutton Grange Landcare Group projects.
Foxes are an increasing pest problem impacting on the livelihood of farmers and small landholders in the region. If it's not lambing time - there are grapes, olives, apples or weed blackberries to eat with rabbits to fill the gaps!
Subsidies are available to Landcare members for fox and rabbilt control. Phone the Secretary for details.
Sutton Grange has a number of weed issues. Patersons Curse is seen as a major threat as it spreads east across Victoria. Other Local Priority weeds in our area include: Blackberry, Cape Broom, Gorse Patersons Curse, St Johns Wort, Horehound and Spiny Rush.
'Local Priority' means weeds classified by authorities to be invasive. Landowners are expected to control and eradicate them. To this end subsidies are available to Landcare members for weed control.
Members realised early on, the importance of maintaining and managing remnant vegetation. They also realised that substantial revegetation. They also realised that substantial revegetation had to be undertaken in an attempt to re-establish the ecological balance of the lands in the area. However, the land, in many cases is also members livelihood, and so SGLG has worked to maintain a balance between grazing and other land use; and Landcare.
Members quickly learnt that natural regeneration was a very viable option and several direct seeding projects were undertaken as a support to natural regeneration.
Direct seeding has been one of SGLG's success stories with recharge areas and creek lines being fenced and sown with indigenous seed collected locally.
SGLG provide a subsidy to members each year, for 'Free Trees'. The amount covers at least 80 tubestock which are grown to order by a local nursery using locally collected seed.
Advice is given concerning the suitability of plants for specific areas. The importance of planting a balanced variety of plants (i.e. canopy, understorey, groundcovers/grasses) is stressed.
Members are also aware of the necessity for suitable weed and rabbit control prior to revegetation of any sort.
Field Days and Education
SGLG meet regularly throughout the year. To improve members and local community awareness, regular meetings are held with interesting Guest Speakers. Field Days encourage members to participate and also to review work previously done.
SGLG has some equipment acquired over the years. This is available to members. Equipment includes a Direct Seeding machine.
SGLG has a small library of relevant Landcare material. The group has been involved in several publications and two videos have been produced. These are available to members.
Water and Catchment Management
Concern for the health of the waterways which run through Sutton Grange has been of importance to the SGLG for a long time. Gully head erosion and other erosion control have been targeted in several projects.
Salinity and acidity management and recharge control are now being addressed.