Vaughn’s Dam Reserve is a Travelling Stock Route (TSR) located within the township of Grenfell. Historically, the land was owned by Robert Vaughn, a significant pioneer in Grenfell’s early days, and was bequeathed to the people of Grenfell in Robert’s Will when he died in 1908. Central West Local Land Services now manages the Reserve and has allowed Weddin Landcare to undertake works to restore the ecological values of the site.
Like many other TSRs in the local district, Vaughn’s Dam Reserve contains an example of a relatively intact remnant of a Box Gum Grassy Woodland vegetation community. Box Gum Grassy Woodland is an Endangered Ecological Community, at risk of disappearing. These woodlands are reminiscent of the iconic native Australian bush that has cultural and heritage value to our Indigenous people and early settlers. Unfortunately, they have been greatly reduced in range due to agricultural development. In some areas, woodlands represent less than one per cent of their former range.
Grassy woodlands are unique ecosystems dominated by widely spaced eucalypts with a sparse understorey of shrubs including wattles, and a diverse ground layer of grasses, orchids, lilies and forbs but also logs, fallen branches, leaf litter and piles of rocks. They provide habitat for many species of insects, frogs, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Better management of these remnant woodland patches is important so that woodland species of plants and animals can persist but also for agricultural productivity and ecosystem services such as clean water and air, pollination and control of insect pests.
Weddin Landcare has recently received funding through the WIRES-Landcare Wildlife Relief and Recovery Grants to restore some of the habitat features at Vaughn’s Dam Reserve. Works will include rubbish removal, revegetation along the creekline and several cluster plantings of understorey shrubs within the woodland area. Twenty nest boxes for a variety of local birds and mammals will also be installed and monitored at the site.
Alongside these works, Weddin Landcare is hoping to work undertake a cool burn of the site to reduce fuel load and improve the biodiversity of the ground layer. Further works are also planned for the reserve including woody weed removal, further revegetation and direct seeding and a nature walk with signage.