The Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for Melbourne's Growth Corridors identified measures for protecting, enhancing and connecting important populations of Growling Grass Frogs within conservation areas and mitigating the losses of habitat that will occur as a result of urban development in Melbourne's growth areas.
The Growling Grass Frog Masterplan for Melbourne's Growth Corridors provides guidance on implementing those protection measures and investing in creating and enhancing habitat within Growling Grass Frog conservation areas.
The Masterplan consists of a package of the following components:
- Investment priorities for habitat creation
- Areas of Strategic Importance mapping
- Growling Grass Frog Habitat Design Standards
- Growling Grass Frog Crossing Design Standards
Priorities for investment in Growling Grass Frog wetlands
A strategic investment prioritisation process identified ten high-priority reaches across Melbourne's growth areas where clusters of breeding wetlands will be created to support metapopulations of Growling Grass Frogs.
Most investment will occur in the two waterways with the lowest risk of extinction and the greatest capacity to support multiple metapopulations of Growling Grass Frogs: Merri Creek and Kororoit Creek.
Wetlands will also be established in the conservation areas along the Werribee River, Jacksons Creek and Cardinia Creek. The prioritisation ensures funds are invested to mitigate habitat loss caused by urban development in the most effective way.
Areas of Strategic Importance
The primary purpose of Areas of Strategic Importance mapping is to protect existing and potential breeding habitat within Growling Grass Frog conservagtion areas from incompatible uses. The Areas of Strategic Importance maps will help partners and those developing land to avoid and minimise impacts on the most critical parts of the Growling Grass Frog conservation areas.
Spatial files of the Areas of Strategic Importance are available for download here.
Areas of Strategic Importance mapping can also be viewed online in DELWP's Native Vegetation Information System (NVIM) here.
Habitat Design Standards
The Growling Grass Frog Habitat Design Standards provide guidance on protecting and creating the various types of habitat for metapopulations (multiple interacting populations) of Growling Grass Frogs over the long-term. The emphasis is on creating effective breeding wetlands and reducing the impact of chytrid fungus. The standards also cover adjacent terrestrial habitat which is important for foraging, sheltering and migrating between populations.
Crossing Design Standards
All roads and crossings within the conservation areas must meet the Growling Grass Frog Crossing Design Standards. The standards ensure new and widened roads, railway lines and other infrastructure crossing through conservation areas are designed to provide easy passage for Growling Grass Frogs moving along waterways and between off-stream wetlands. Connectivity between populations is critical to the long-term viability of the Growling Grass Frog as it supports sustainable populations and genetic diversity.
Implementation of the Masterplan package
DELWP will apply the design standards and Areas of Strategic Importance requirements to:
- the preparation of Conservation Area Concept Plans and Precinct Structure Plans
- the design, construction and management of Growling Grass Frog wetlands funded under the Melbourne Strategic Assessment Program
- the assessment of infrastructure proposals within conservation areas
- the design and construction of roads, rail or other infrastructure permitted in Growling Grass Frog conservation areas.
The creation of Growling Grass Frog wetlands will occur in partnership with the organisations managing the relevant land within conservation areas - primarily Melbourne Water.