Another group of northeast Victorian landholders have received grants under the third and final round of the Bush for Birds project.
The grants, to 16 landholders, will support them to create and improve habitat for the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot.
Among the round three grant recipients is Gianni D'Ortenzio, Everton Upper, who has a strong interest in both the environment and landscaping, creating some award-winning cottage-style gardens.
His Bush for Birds grant focuses on thinning dense thickets of eucalypts, utilising a machine mulcher, to provide room for large hollow-bearing trees to form, and revegetating a grassy paddock with some native nectar-producing shrubs to encourage the Regent Honeyeater, Swift Parrot and other woodland birds to visit his property.
"We wanted to have a bit of space," Mr D'Ortenzio said.
"It has been a steep learning curve since attending a Trust for Nature field day where I first saw the machine mulcher.
"It took a while to get my head around cutting down trees but the whole notion is that trees need water and space to grow and you need big trees for nesting sites."
Mr D'Ortenzio and his wife moved from south-west Victoria in January 2021 after buying the Everton Upper property and returning to north east Victoria where they had lived previously.
Their property borders flora reserves at Everton and previously had been part of the Brown Bros Everton Hills Estate.
Mr D'Ortenzio said the machine mulching had recently been undertaken over one hectare utilising the Bush for Birds grant.
Twenty-five of 80 Blakely's Red Gums have also been planted in an open area and weed control to tackle lavender and blackberries will be completed as part of the program.
He said the expertise and enthusiasm offered by environmental consultant Ian Davidson, Landcare facilitator Alandi Durling, winemaker John Brown and others had given him the confidence and support to tackle the project.
The Bush for Birds Project is supported by the North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA) in partnership with Trust for Nature, through funding from the federal government.
The program aims to help land managers restore, manage, and increase critical habitat for these species on private and public land.
It also aims to protect quality habitat in perpetuity by expanding the area of conservation covenants in the region.
The Regent honeyeater and Swift Parrot depend on woodland habitat, which has been lost due to historic land clearing and ongoing land degradation issues, including invasive plants and animals.
Bush for Birds has already funded 52 sites in previous rounds, covering an area of 1832 hectares under land management agreements.
These agreements comprise 262 ha of revegetation, 1268 ha of weed control, 76 ha of ecological thinning, and the establishment of 234 ha of conservation covenants.
After thorough site assessments by project officers and evaluations by an expert panel, the third and final round of Bush for Birds grants will support 16 project sites and help landholders manage another 341 hectares of land, totalling 2173 hectares under land management agreements as part of the project.
The Bush for Birds project is now in the final implementation phase, and grant recipients should complete all activities by March 2023.
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