With huge financial and other support from South Coast NRM, and bolstered by generous contributions from private donors, we've now all but completed 400 hectares - that's 1,000 acres - of restoration on the Monjebup North property we bought in 2009.
A massive on-ground planting effort last month involving our restoration contractor Marlak Environmental, the Perth-based Nest Egg Foundation, Albany-based Green Army, and a small Nyungar work crew got about 30,000 seedlings in the ground to put the icing on what is turning out to be a very nice cake.
In addition, around 10,000 seedlings boosted the direct-seeding that's been undertaken in a semi-cleared area of the original Monjebup Reserve to restore it as one of the most significant strongholds for the rare red-flowered Corackerup moort (Eucalyptus vesiculosa), with most of the seedlings being E. vesiculosa propagated from seed collected on the site.
Direct-seeding has been the backbone of the Monjebup North project, with seedling planting establishing 'nodes' of proteaceous and other species, and used as infill where direct-seeding results were variable on account of difficult soils, weed issues, or unfavourable seasonal conditions.
With planning finished in 2011, the project was undertaken over the next three years. The 2012 and 2014 seasons were excellent, and have yielded great results. 2013 was a tough year on account of very wet conditions immediately following seeding, followed by a bone-dry summer - perhaps the worst scenario for a direct-seeding project.
Our monitoring shows we have adequate establishment through the 2013 area, but the representation of mallee eucalypts was marginal in some areas, and a supplementary planting program focusing on those and proteaceous species was instigated in response.
Bill and Jane Thompson, our neighbours next door at Yarraweyah Falls, had already donated to us about 10,000 suitable seedlings, so the arrival on site of a Mack truck early in July with more than another 30,000 on board was a daunting sight – I'd set a target of having them all in the ground by month's end!
With the energy, enthusiasm and general good spirits of many supporters through July, they were essentially all in the ground at day's end on Thursday, July 30.
The very next day it poured - someone must have been saying their prayers!
So, from Bush Heritage's Gondwana Link staff, a heartfelt thanks to all who helped us complete the task. The sight of a robustly-recovering landscape at Monjebup over the next few years will be your reward!