We tend not to think of the various categories of linear areas such as road, rail and waterway alignments as being reserves, because, naturally enough, their primary function is utilitarian.
Nevertheless, many also make valuable contributions to nature conservation, not least by providing a pathway for birds, animals, insects and even plants to migrate. When land in the Surf Coast was being selected, most stream sides were also reserved, sometimes as a a set distance each side of the stream or drawn on a map. If the stream changed its course, the reserve remained in its position, occasionally at some distance from the new stream alignment. Sometimes the latter system resulted in peculiar-shaped areas ’left over‘ after land selection.
One of these is on Thompsons Creek at Willowite Road near Freshwater Creek. The map shows the road and several Crown Land allotments around the crossing point, along with the reserve that continues up and downstream.
Thompson Creek Water Frontage Reserve at Willowite Rd
DELWP is responsible for managing the area, but small sites like this (only 1.3 ha not counting the reserve extending along the creek) get little attention, which is a pity because of the importance for water quality of natural streamside vegetation, and in this case some tiny areas of remnant volcanic plains grassy woodland above the banks.
About 180 species of all kinds have been reported, with about one third being introduced.
There is a surprisingly large list of 63 birds, and researchers have recorded four native fish species and a freshwater shrimp. Rabbits prove their presence by some warrens and droppings, sheep by the wool left on briar rose thorns, a fox by the remains of its meal and a peacock by being the meal.
Thompson Creek crossing
ANGAIR’s Mary White produced a little publication called Small is beautiful. I think that applies here.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.