Above A group of cyclists on the Great Victorian Rail Trail east of Olivers Road, Mansfield, alongside the revegetation works.
The Great Victorian Rail Trail (GVRT) extends 120 kilometres from Tallarook to Mansfield with a 13-kilometre additional leg to Alexandra. It is a popular walking, cycling and horse-riding trail and also an important linear corridor providing habitat for native flora and fauna.
In 2018 the Friends of the GVRT, primarily based in Mansfield, received a Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) grant to undertake remedial work and provide additional vegetation on a section of the trail at Olivers Road near Mansfield.
The Friends group plans its work on the trail based on accessibility to the area, previous work performed, and the opportunity to further develop the trail.
Their recent project was supported by a partnership with the local Landcare network, the Up2Us Landcare Alliance, who also successfully obtained a Victorian Landcare Grant.
According to Kim Magnay, project officer with Up2Us, the grant enabled the expansion of the planting project and the doubling of the project area.
“It was great to be able to support the Friends of the GVRT by assisting them with the grant.
The additional funds also meant that revegetation work was extended to include the historic Woodfield station precinct, west of Bonnie Doon,” Kim said.
The biggest task was managing the infestation of phalaris on the trail. The Friends worked on decreasing the biomass by mechanical slashing and then spraying in autumn to create the environment for local indigenous plants to thrive.
With the preparation complete, the Mansfield community came together at the site for a National Tree Day (NTD) planting at the end of July 2019.
“The NTD workforce varied from young to old, from experienced to inexperienced. Everyone gets in and helps each other. We also had members of Fords Creek Landcare Group supporting peer learning between the different environmental groups,” Kim said.
More than 60 people assisted with the planting of 250 seedlings. The speed of the planting and positive response from all those involved made for a very successful day. An after-planting barbecue gave people a good opportunity to socialise and connect.
The Friends group, with continuing support from Up2Us, has undertaken stage two of the project in 2020 by further extending the revegetated area. This involved the planting of another 600 seedlings by small groups of volunteers during June and July to comply with COVID-19 guidelines.
Ross Vaughan is chair of the Friends of the Great Victorian Rail Trail.
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