The Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for Melbourne’s Growth Corridors (BCS) identified 36 conservation areas within the growth corridors which are being protected for their environmental values. These areas contain the most important habitat for endangered species and ecosystems within Melbourne’s growth corridors.

Types of conservation areas

The BCS identifies more than 4,000 hectares as conservation areas. Most of the land is being protected for either Nature Conservation or the Growling Grass Frog purposes.

The conservation areas labelled as Nature Conservation protect nationally endangered woodland and grassland ecosystems. The woodland and grassland communities within the conservation areas are home to many threatened species, including:

  • Matted Flax Lilly
  • Spiny Rice Flower
  • Button Wrinklewort
  • Striped Legless Lizard
  • Golden Sun Moth
  • Small Golden Moths Orchid

Once a common frog in south-eastern Australia, the Growling Grass Frog is now nationally endangered. The Growling Grass Frog conservation areas form corridors along many of creeks and rivers within Melbourne’s growth corridors. Specially designed wetlands are built in the corridors to boost the population of Growling Grass Frogs. These creeks and rivers are also managed to support endangered fish species including the Dwarf Galaxias and Australian Grayling.

For more information on the types of conservation areas, please refer to the BCS.

Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for Melbourne's Growth Corridors

How are CAs protected and secured

As Melbourne expands, the department works with the housing industry to protect the conservation areas during construction. The land within conservation areas are protected through the application of restrictive planning controls preventing actions that could impact important biodiversity values. As the new suburbs are built the conservation areas become permanently protected areas. They are protected and managed as either private land with a restrictive on-title agreement, or they are transferred into public ownership.

Public access to conservation areas

As part of the Department’s Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037 the Victorian Government is focusing on enhancing opportunities for Victorians to interact and engage with the state’s natural values. As the conservation areas are intertwined with Melbourne’s new suburbs, they provide a great opportunity for the public to enjoy Victoria’s unique plants and animals. Public access facilities are designed to protect the endangered plants and animals that live there. As such, visitors should follow paths where possible to avoid impacting the protected values. Visitors and residents should also be aware that snakes are also part of healthy ecosystem and are also protected. Snakes are usually very shy and avoid people, but visitors should remain alert and avoid approaching them if seen.

Managing fire and healthy ecosystems

It is important for the public to be aware that many native species rely on fire to survive. Many species also need long grass for food and shelter and habitat during summer period. As the grass can provide a fire risk, the suburbs and the conservation areas are carefully designed with fire in mind. Road interfaces are designed to be wide enough to protect houses from unplanned fires in conservation areas. Low intensity ecological burns are carefully planned and managed every few years to keep the grassland ecosystems healthy.

Additional conservation areas outside the Urban Growth Boundary

In addition to the conservation areas located within the Urban Growth Boundary, DELWP will establish conservation areas for the following threatened species:

  • Golden Sun Moth
  • Spiny Rice-flower
  • Matted Flax Lilly

These areas will be identified outside Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary, providing greater protection for the species, within their natural range and away from urban development within Melbourne’s growth corridors. The protection and management of these sites will be funded by fees collected from developers undertaking urban development within Melbourne’s growth areas.

Land secured in these areas will be protected and managed as either private land with a restrictive on-title agreement, or transferred into public ownership.

More information

If you are a land-owner in the Western Grassland Reserve and have questions regarding the land acquisition process or for more information about the MSA program, please contact msa.information@delwp.vic.gov.au.

Page last updated: 17/02/20