Scottsdale

Established:
2006
Area:
1,328 ha
Location:
75km South of Canberra
Traditional Owners:
Ngunawal people

Grazed, cleared, cropped and sown aren't the usual qualifications for a Bush Heritage reserve, but on Scottsdale that's been the fate of about 300 hectares of the 1,328 hectare property. Nonetheless, this unique reserve is home to some of Australia's most threatened temperate ecosystems.

The Red-breasted Robin is found on Scottsdale. Photo Jiri Lochman / Lochman Transparencies.
The Red-breasted Robin is found on Scottsdale. Photo Jiri Lochman / Lochman Transparencies.

With ongoing help from our supporters, these 300 hectares are being restored and will soon help support some of the threatened species that occur in the natural areas of the reserve.

Just 45 minutes south of Canberra, Scottsdale protects endangered grassy box woodlands and temperate grasslands. It also harbours many rare birds, animals, fish and reptiles.

Wrapped around Scottsdale's northern and western flanks is the Murrumbidgee River, which cascades over natural rock weirs and through deep tree-fringed pools. The Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach is a partnership supporting the recovery of native fish in the river.

The Bare-nosed Wombat is a common sight at Scottsdale. Photo Jiri Lochman / Lochman Transparencies.
The Bare-nosed Wombat is a common sight at Scottsdale. Photo Jiri Lochman / Lochman Transparencies.

Scottsdale is also an important part of the Kosciuszko 2 Coast project – a partnership helping landowners create connections between remnant woodlands and grasslands between Kosciuszko and Namadgi National Parks across to the escarpment forests on NSW's far south coast.

All this has been protected thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

Scottsdale's home to a remnant of Australia's last ice age, the Silver-leafed Mountain Gum. Adapted to a time when this part of the world was much drier and colder, just 10 populations of this little mallee tree are thought to exist in Australia, and it's vulnerable to extinction. The reserve also protects:

Wombat symbol
Animals:

Rosenberg's Monitor (vulnerable in NSW), Speckled Warbler (vulnerable in NSW), Peregrine Falcon, Brown Treecreeper (vulnerable in NSW).


Plants:

Currawang (spearwood), Curved Rice Flower, Button Wrinklewort, Silky Swainson-pea.


Vegetation communities:

Yellow-box grassy woodland (nationally critically endangered), Scribbly Gum-black Cypress-pine Forest, Tablelands Frost Hollow Grassy Woodlands, Southern Tablelands Natural Temperate Grassland (nationally endangered).

What we’re doing

In the summer of 2019-20 about 73% (1006ha) of the reserve burnt in the Clear Range bushfire. Around 84% of the native grasslands were affected and more than 50% of the reserve's woodlands burnt at such a high intensity the native seed bank was destroyed.

Grassland Seed Production Sites (fenced half hectare plots developed to enrich the diversity of the reserve’s grassland flora) are more important now than ever before. Following the fires staff worked tirelessly collecting native grassland seeds for restoration.

“It is so important that we do everything we can in the year following the fire. There's so much bare ground and ash beds ripe for the taking," said Scottsdale Reserve Manager Phil Palmer.
Ecologist Mat Appleby with Reserve manager Phil Palmer examining new growth in burnt grasslands. Photo Amelia Caddy.

Ecologist Mat Appleby with Reserve manager Phil Palmer examining new growth in burnt grasslands. Photo Amelia Caddy.

“We've focused on the pioneer species such as Redgrass (Bothriochloa macra) and New Holland Daisy (Vittadinia muelleri) to quickly establish a native cover.”

The Grassland Seed Production Sites funded by a Restoration and Rehabilitation grant from the NSW Environmental Trust have struggled with the low rainfall but staff and volunteers alike have rallied to ensure they're in the best possible condition.

We're incredibly thankful to US philanthropic groups Earth Alliance and Global Wildlife Conservation for a multi-million dollar donation to further our bushfire recovery efforts, as well as Volkswagen Australia who donated an incredible $1 million to support our work following the Black Summer bushfires.

Upper Murrumbidgee Demonstration Reach (UMDR)

A baby Platypus rescued from a sinkhole by UMDR volunteers controlling willows. Photo Richard Swain.

A baby Platypus rescued from a sinkhole by UMDR volunteers controlling willows. Photo Richard Swain.

The UMDR has been established to demonstrate ways of supporting the recovery of native fish. Amongst its projects are carp control research and willow reduction measures.

Carp control

Carp are one of the world's most invasive species and research we're involved in has the potential to inform targeted carp removal on a much broader scale.

Not much is known about their movements and where they aggregate in the context of this upland riverine system. The project involves tagging fish and tracking their movements with acoustic telemetry. They'll also be lured, trapped and removed from a section of the river to learn more about their population structure.

Local anglers will be engaged to support the work by reporting carp sightings and catches using the Feral Fish Scan app

Reducing the impact of willow trees

Willow infestation is a major issue for native fish habitats – it can block out native plants, alter stream flows, cause flooding and reduce water quality. The UMDR works to control young emerging willows with volunteers in kayaks cutting back and removing the plants before they can establish.

UMDR Project facilitator Antia Brademann has described how they can block waterflow as well as produce a fibrous root mass that tends to affect habitats on the bank and make burrowing difficult for Platypus.