Will AHC undertake winter burn offs in nature reserves and clearing roadside vegetation?

    The issues of weed management and fire mitigation is a significant issue facing the Adelaide Hills Council (AHC), from both a risk management and legislative perspective. 

    Council operates a range of fire management programs in Bushland Reserves to mitigate the potential impacts of bushfires by managing vegetation fuel loads in accordance with relevant legislation and have taken a measures to reduce fuels within the roadsides. Management Programs include:

    • Department of Environment & Water ‘Burning on Private Lands Program’;
    • Council’s Woody Weed Control Program; 
    • The maintenance of Asset Protection Zones around infrastructure and assets; 
    • Council Vegetation Management Plans and collaborative NRM Work Plans, 
    • Collaborations with the Bush for Life Program (Trees for Life) and other organisations such as Conservation Volunteers Australia. 

    Council also collaborate with NRM on Roadside Weed Control Work Plan (2019- 2020). This is mainly targeted at woody weed management and annual weeds such as Watsonia during the spring. 

    Council engages contractors annually to remove woody weeds in the Mylor Parklands, along the Aldgate Valley Nature Trail, several smaller reserves around Mylor (Mimi Road, Leslie Creek Road, Stock Road and Aldgate Valley Road), and has been targeting a clusters of Mylor/Scott Creek  Blue Marker Sites intensively for the past 2 years, including the following roads: 

    • Leslie Creek Road 
    • Bradbury Road 
    • West Street
    • Whitehead Road 
    • Hooper Road 
    • Gross Road 
    • Hawthorne Road
    • Crossing Road
    • Lamont Road
    • Boyle Swamp Road
    • Kanbara Road
    • Terrara Lane
    • Brown Road
    • Nichols Rad

    This management regime is expected to continue to limit the further spread of weeds which contribute to high fuel levels. 

    Council’s adoption of the DEW Burning on Private Lands Program in 2017 has led to the identification and treatment of a number of sites, some of which are in and around Mylor. 

    Some of these are on Council lands which seek to compliment the strategic approach to fuel reduction across both public and private lands. 

    These include a site adjacent the Mylor Oval, and a proposed site within the Mylor Parklands, which is yet to be determined.   The Adelaide Hills Council is also committed to the protection of biodiversity and habitat values in Bushland Reserves and Roadsides managed for conservation purposes. Council is conscious that extensive fuel reduction can also have a detrimental effect on biodiversity and important habitat values. 

    The following are some of the important considerations when managing fuel reduction in conservation areas: 

    • Removal of vegetation, fallen timber and leaf litter from woodland ecosystems may contribute to biodiversity loss through habitat damage
    •  Native trees, shrubs and grasses provide habitat and food for native animals
    • Dead standing trees, particularly those with hollows, provide nesting and den sites for a range of native animals
    • Exposure of bare ground can lead to soil erosion and removal of leaf litter layers can result in a reduction in soil nutrients on the forest floor
    • Removing native vegetation can expose bare ground and allow undesirable weeds to invade the area. 

    Adelaide Hills Council also has a Rural Roadside Annual Slashing Program (RRASP) but this has been completed for this Fire Danger Season, this will recommence in October this year, when the RRASP will re-commence prior to the on-set of the Fire Danger Season.