Acquisition of Rockleigh Property
In late 1999 the company acquired 121.4 ha of former farming land near Rockleigh in the Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges. This was made possible by the generous financial assistance of the Commonwealth Government through the National Reserves System Program, The financial help was in the form of a loan for $65,300, non-repayable unless in the case of the sale of the property. As part of this acquisition partnership with the Australian Government, Bushland Conservation Pty Ltd was required to submit, and have approved, a property management Plan for the land to the Commonwealth Department of the Environment. It included a statement of management objectives and the planning process used.
The original proposal for the acquisition of the land was made by former director of Bushland COnservation Pty Ltd, K Brewer, who had extensive knowledge of the district and who recognised the significance of the remnant vegetation, which is very poorly conserved in the area. The Eden Valley Environmental Association is only 0.08% conserved and this project will expand the conserved area (Department of environment and Heritage)
At the time of purchase, in 1999, at least 210 plant species had been recorded (now about 378). Several species are of state significance; others were new records for the Murray region and were yet to be rated. Significant vegetation associations include the Banksia marginata and Melaleuca brevifolia woodlands. There are also significant stands of Eucalyptus porosa, E. leucoxylon, E.fasciculosa and Callitris gracilis
The management objectives for this land at the time of purchase were:
- Protection and enhancement of the unique vegetation, habitats and species of the area
- Eradication or control of pest plant and animals.
- prevention and rehabilitation of land degradation including wind and water erosion and dryland salinity
- Encouraging natural regeneration wherever possible.
- Provision for controlled public access to the land subject to a director’s approval.
The land will be managed in accordance with the International Union for Conservation of Nature ( IUCN) Category 111, National Monument Protected Area, managed for conservation of specific natural features. this is specified as an area containing one or more natural or natural/cultural features which is of outstanding value because of its inherent rarity, representative or aesthetic qualities or cultural significance.
The area will be managed for biodiversity conservation and is protected in perpetuity by a Heritage Agreement with the SA Government.
The planning process comprised the following:
- Mapping and describing the important landscape features and vegetation associations.
- Listing the plants and animals recorded on the property, and where relevant, their conservation status.
- Detailing appropriate management practices.
- consulting with neighbours and interested groups such as local Landcare group,local action planning, State Aboriginal Heritage Committee, Soil Conservation Board,local catchment group and local government in developing the draft management plan.