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Mildura Riverfront Shared Path - Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variety of all life forms - the different plants, animals and micro-organisms, the genes they contain, and the ecosystems of which they form a part.

Biodiversity includes both land and water plants and animals, and habitat features such as woody debris, hollow logs, large old habitat trees. Biodiversity of the riverfront reserves is supported by good water quality and stable river banks.

Over 38 rare and threatened plant species, 33 threatened bird species, 1 threatened frog species, 5 threatened reptile species, and 3 threatened fish species occur in Mildura’s riverfront reserve areas.

Riparian areas are the meeting place between the water and land environment which supports a wide range of animals and plants.

Why it’s important to look after our riverfront areas

Mildura’s riverfront reserves support native riparian vegetation forming part of the Murray River corridor. This corridor is important for the movement and transfer of biodiversity. It also allows for the gradual movement of species in response to climate change. The values of native riparian vegetation to biodiversity and river health include providing:

An area between water and land ecosystems, supporting high diversity of plants and animals.

  • Refuge for plants and animals during drought.
  • Breeding habitat for water birds and other species.
  • Linkages in habitats acting as a wildlife corridor.
  • A source of shade.
  • Stability for the river bank, minimising erosion.
  • A buffer between adjoining land and the river, filtering sediment and nutrients.

Degradation of native riparian vegetation can lead to bank erosion and increased sediment input to the river, decreased biodiversity, and decreased water quality.

Aboriginal cultural heritage sites commonly occur in riparian zones and are therefore at risk from the degradation of native riparian vegetation.

Protecting and enhancing biodiversity values of the riverfront reserves is essential in maintaining the character of these unique areas. A healthy and diverse group of native plants and animals ensures a functioning ecosystem and contributes to good water quality and healthy soils.

Social and recreational values are dependent upon the biodiversity values of the riverfront reserves.

What can be done to look after our river front areas

Degradation of native riparian vegetation has occurred since white settlement. With the first settlers and the paddle-steamer trade, river red gums were logged for fuel. The riparian zone was grazed by domestic livestock and many pumps were installed to supply irrigation. Many of these activities have now ceased, and the largest pressure on the riparian zone is now visitor use.

The impacts of visitor use are the highest form of inappropriate use such as driving off designated tracks, rubbish dumping and littering, and removal of vegetation. Well-managed visitor use areas aim to maintain healthy native riparian vegetation by providing: well defined main vehicular tracks/parking areas, good quality shared paths, signage to provide information to visitors, and encouragement of carry in and carry out of rubbish.


Case Study

Growling grass frog

Litoria raniformis

The Growling Grass Frog is an endangered species. It is one of the largest frog species in Australia, growing up to 100mm in length. They vary in colour and pattern but are generally olive to bright emerald green, with irregular gold, black or bronze spotting. Their backs are warty and usually have a pale green stripe down the middle.

Growling grass tree frogs can be found along the Murray River, its anabranches, lakes and wetlands. They eat insects and sometimes smaller frogs. During breeding season, male frogs make a call that sounds like a motorbike or a growling laugh.


Mildura Riverfront Shared Path

Published with permission of Mildura Rural City Council

 


 



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