This project aims to prevent the introduction or minimise the spread of Phytophthora into uninfected areas; and to reduce the impact of Phytophthora at infected sites in the Otways applying the objectives of the National threat abatement plan as follows: ‘Threat abatement plan for disease in natural ecosystems caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi’, Commonwealth of Australia, 2014

Vegetation dieback caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi is listed in the EPBC Act as a Key Threatening Process, causing significant degradation to Australia’s biodiversity.  Infestation into a pristine site requires translocation of infected soil or plants, with people the most significant vector. This project will build on three decades of work in Western Australia and Victoria, including the Otways.

A Structured Decision-Making process will be used to identify Priority Protection Areas. This process will be informed by a combination of field-based survey results, agency data and spatial mapping. To minimise pathogen spread, Standard Operating Procedures will be developed with land managers, and aerial and hand sprayed Phosphite treatments will be applied in the Carlisle Heath and Anglesea Heath.  Hygiene training will be conducted for land managers and community groups in the region.

Protecting Plant and Animal biodiversity in the Otway Ranges, Bells Beach (Ironbark Basin) and Great Ocean Road hinterland from Phytophthora dieback

Deer & Pig Eradication

Fox & Cat Management

Small Mammal Conservation

Rewilding Species

Delivery & Supporting Partners

The lead consultant for this sub-project is Barbara Wilson Pty Ltd.

The project delivery team includes Dr Barbara Wilson, Professor David Cahill (Deakin University),  Dr Mark Garkaklis (Barbara Wilson Pty Ltd and State of the Environment Pty Ltd – Aireys Inlet ), Dr Terry Walshe (The University of Melbourne), Dr Tricia Wevill  (Deakin University), and Dr Sarah Barrett (Research Partner – WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions). Dr Linda Parker (University of Melbourne) will also collaborate through her research into the conservation of Tall Astelia.

A Deakin University Otways region Phytophthora research program will be undertaken to determine the current extent of infestation by P. cinnamomi; model the rate of spread and determine areas of high vulnerability to disease; conduct in-field pathogen testing; and use phosphite as a control measure at site and landscape scales.

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Linkages With Other Sub-Projects

Ineffective hygiene control within the Pig and Deer Eradication, Fox and Cat Management, and the Small Mammal Conservation projects would likely lead to spread of the pathogen into uninfested, at-risk vegetation communities.  To prevent this outcome, Phytophthora dieback hygiene briefings will be provided to all Wild Otways Initiative project teams.

Deakin University research will involve a quantitative assessment of the feasibility for habitat protection. This will be important in confirming habitats that can be protected in the Small Mammal Conservation project and supporting achievable outcomes in Stage 2 of the Rewilding project.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the Australian Government’s Wild Otways Initiative?

The Australian Government’s Wild Otway initiative is a three-year $6m commitment towards threatened species management and pest animal control in the greater Otway’s region. The Initiative includes the delivery of a broad and inclusive environmental community grants program and five commissioned sub-projects, which include pig and deer eradication, fox and cat management, Phytophthora (a plant pathogen) management, small mammal conservation and rewilding in the Otways.

How do I find out more?
Australian Government Wild Otways Initiative website page will be updated regularly with more information when the on-ground works begin. Our CCMA media channels will also be an outlet for project updates. If you would like to receive our regular project Communique please subscribe below to be apart of our distribution below.

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Where is the Initiative being delivered?

The project area for the initiative covers the area from Jan Juc/Bells Beach to Peterborough, and the Great Otway National Park and hinterlands (Otways Region) in South West Victoria.

How long does the Initiative go for?

The initiative will be delivered in the Greater Otways region of Victoria over the next three years to June 2023.

This project is support by the Corangamite CMA, through funding from the Australian Government’s Environment Restoration Fund. This project will run until 2023.