July 18, 2023

Project partners, project agencies, passionate conservationists, local community members, and Australian Government representatives, including a representative from the office of the Threatened Species Commissioner, gathered on Eastern Maar Country to celebrate the culmination of the incredible Wild Otways Initiative.

The key findings of the five-sub projects (Pig and Deer Program, Fox and Cat Management Program, Phytophthora Management Program, Small Mammal Conservation Project and a Rewilding Program) have been mapped and visualised on a web portal with information about the issues, what you can do and how the project has helped understand and manage the threatened species that call the Otways home.Heading

Interested community members, conservationists and eager environmental stewards can view the portal here:

Highlights of the program include mapping of small mammals occurrence using both historical data and three years of camera trapping and Elliott trapping to ascertain the current status and determine future management actions across the Otways. This work has revealed that threatened species like the swamp antechinus live in fragmented refuges in coastal areas and are threatened by erosion, feral predators and the plant pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi.Heading

All of the sub-projects produced tangible outcomes for biodiversity by equipping local land managers and Traditional Owners with the knowledge, training and tools to continue this important work into the future.

The $1M Community Environment Grants Program delivered, 11,197 meters of fencing (stock exclusion, formalising access, protecting habitat), 91,381 plants planted, 631 hectares of weed control and 215 community events with 3,344 participants.

The Australian Government's Wild Otways Initiative (WOI), managed by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, was a $6M three-year collaborative research and land management program with multiple partner organisations and agencies in the Otways region.

The project area encompassed the entire Otways landscape – Bells Beach / Ironbark Basin west to Port Campbell – incorporating some private land, but primarily the 168,000 hectares of public estate under management by Parks Victoria and DEECA (formerly known as DELWP): the Great Otway National Park and Otway Forest Park.

At the beginning of the three-year project, an agreement was made to work with the key land management agencies by embedding two dedicated Wild Otways Initiative project officers within Parks Victoria and DEECA.

This collaborative arrangement ensured effectiveness and efficiency in working towards achieving project goals. In addition, it streamlined knowledge sharing and problem-solving across the agencies and with the researchers in the field.

Corangamite CMA Chair Catherine Jenkins said, "I am grateful to the Australian Government for their investment and shared vision on delivering this important project that has supported conservation works and scientific research within the Otways region. Heading

"The impact of the Wild Otways Initiative will extend far beyond its three-year duration. It will serve as a model for responsible management and set the stage for future endeavours in this region," Mrs Jenkins continued.

Corangamite CMA's Jessica Miller, Manager of Environmental Programs said, "This Initiative was a testament to the power of collaboration. This unique Initiative worked across land tenure, with partner agencies, project partners, and key stakeholders, each playing a vital role bringing their expertise, knowledge and skills to collectively make a significant impact on some big and challenging threats to the spectacular Otways environment".


Contact Us

Colac Office

64 Dennis Street, Colac VIC 3250
PO Box 159, Colac, VIC 3250
Hours: 8:30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday

T: 1800 002 262

Geelong office

Hours: 8:30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday
All mail must be sent via our Colac office
PO Box 159, Colac, VIC 3250

T: 1800 002 262